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What is an esophagostomy tube?

 An esophagostomy tube is a small rubber tube that enters the esophagus through the skin of the neck. The esophagus is the muscular tube that transports food from the mouth to the stomach. The esophagostomy tube does not go into the stomach because of complications that can develop. It enters the esophagus so that food can be delivered to the stomach by-passing the mouth and pharynx.


What food is used with an esophagostomy tube, and how do you feed a pet with it?


A special food mixture (listed below) is syringed through the tube three to five times per day. This food is formulated to meet the dog's nutritional needs; it should not cause vomiting or diarrhea. To feed your dog, follow these steps:


1.       Place 1 can of Prescription Diet p/d + 10 oz (300 ml) of water in a blender and run it at the fastest speed (liquefy) until the food is uniformly mixed. After mixing, pour the food through a kitchen strainer.


2.       Remove the cap from the feeding tube.


3.       Using the syringe provided, inject ________ ml of the food into your dog's feeding tube ________ times per day for a total of ________ ml per 24 hours. It is helpful to inject the food slowly, about 1 cc per second, and to elevate your dog's front feet so the food goes easily into the stomach.


4.       When the food has been injected, rinse 10 cc of tap water through the tube to flush any remaining food from the tube. Replace the cap on the feeding tube.


5.       Any remaining blenderized food should be stored in the refrigerator. Before the next feeding, it should be warmed to body temperature under hot tap water or in a microwave oven. If you heat it in a microwave oven, be sure to thoroughly mix the contents prior to feeding because of uneven heating. Also, always check the temperature prior to feeding to be sure that it is not too hot. If the food is too warm, you may inadvertently injure your petís esophagus or stomach.


6.       Contact the hospital if you experience any difficulty when feeding your pet through its esophagostomy tube.


When is the tube removed?


This decision is based on the condition being treated. You will be instructed when to return, but removal of the tube is simple and does not require anesthesia. However, you should not attempt to remove it yourself.


Note:  Some measuring devices are measured in milliliters (ml) and others in cubic centimeters (cc). For our purposes, 1 ml equals 1 cc.


This client information sheet is based on material written by Ernest E. Ward Jr., DVM

 © Copyright 2002 Lifelearn Inc. Used with permission under license. June 30, 2004.