A challenging case: Acute-on-chronic vomiting in a German shepherd - Veterinary Medicine
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A challenging case: Acute-on-chronic vomiting in a German shepherd
These clinicians discover that this dog's history of chronic vomiting was disguising a serious underlying problem.


Another challenging aspect of this case was the postoperative management. We think that the dog's recovery from an already severe condition was hindered by its respiratory disease (aspiration pneumonia), leading to a state of hypoxemia. Thoracic radiographs taken five days after surgery showed patterns consistent with bronchopneumonia. There was no obvious gross evidence of pneumonia on necropsy, but it was not ruled out by a histologic examination. We think that aspiration pneumonia was present based on clinical and radiographic signs. If a transtracheal wash or bronchoalveolar lavage had been performed, the results of the cytology and culture would have helped rule pneumonia in or out. A pulmonary thromboembolism could have caused the radiographic changes as well.10

Another differential diagnosis for the dog's postoperative clinical signs could have been esophageal leakage. If leakage through the esophageal incision had been suspected, another surgery could have been performed to repair the esophagus. Although leakage of the thoracic esophagus was considered, the expected pleural effusion was not seen radiographically. The fluid may have been difficult to see if it was contained in the caudal mediastinal space, as noted at necropsy. If negative culture results had been attained after a transtracheal wash or bronchoalveolar lavage, esophageal leakage would have been more strongly considered.


Gastroesophageal intussusception is a relatively rare condition, but this case demonstrates the importance of considering esophageal disease when confronted with a history of chronic vomiting. The outcome depends on being able to recognize possible esophageal disease promptly so that appropriate diagnostic steps are taken to arrive at an early and correct diagnosis. ?

Ralph P. Millard, DVM*
Brenda Jo Salinardi, DVM, MS, DACVS**
Department of Clinical Sciences
College of Veterinary Medicine
Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS 66506

Current addresses:
*Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences
College of Veterinary Medicine
University of Minnesota
St. Paul, MN 55108

**Department of Clinical Sciences
College of Veterinary Medicine
Oregon State University
Corvallis, OR 97331


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