Dysphagia and regurgitation

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Dysphagia and regurgitation are the two main clinical signs associated with swallowing disorders in dogs and cats. Dysphagia is defined as difficulty swallowing; regurgitation is defined as the passive evacuation of undigested food from the oesophagus. Differentiation between dysphagia and regurgitation may help to localize the anatomical site of the disease, as dysphagia is the most important clinical sign associated with diseases of the oral cavity and pharynx whilst regurgitation is the most important clinical sign associated with diseases of the oesophagus. In most swallowing disorders one of these clinical signs (dysphagia or regurgitation) tends to predominate, thereby providing a clue to the site of the lesion. In some animals, however, regurgitation and dysphagia may coexist, in which case other clinical signs may be useful in differentiating the site of the lesion. This chapter considers the clinical features, diagnosis and treatment of dysphagia and regurgitation.

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6.2 An approach to the diagnosis of dysphagia associated with oropharyngeal disease. ACTH = adrenocorticotropic hormone; CSF = cerebrospinal fluid; MRI = magnetic resonance imaging; PEG = percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy.
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6.3 An approach to the diagnosis of regurgitation associated with oesophageal disease.

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