PHOTOS 1,2: It is vital to ensure that sick or injured animals receive adequate nutritional support. A nasoesophageal (NE) tube can be used to provide nutrition to patients that are unwilling or unable to eat. A soft feeding tube is directed from the external nares into the nostril of the animal and is advanced into the oropharynx and the oesophagus. The major advantages of a NE tube is that it is simple, effective, easy to place and can be placed in an awake animal. Disadvantages of the NE tube include the small size of tubes, allowing only liquid diets to be administered to the patient. Also tracheal placement of a NE tube can be life-threatening and a lateral thoracic radiograph should be taken to ensure that the tube is placed correctly. An Elizabethan collar can be fitted around the neck of a patient after placing the NE tube to avoid dislodgement by the animal.
REFERENCES: PHOTOS 1,2: 1. Han, E 2004, ‘Esophageal and gastric feeding tubes in ICU patients’, Clinical Techniques in Small Animal Practice, no. 19, vol. 1, pp. 22-31. 2. Fossum, TW, Johnson, AL, Schulz, KS, Seim, HB, Willard, MD, Bahr, A & Carroll, GL 2002, ‘Small animal surgery’, 3rd ed, Mosby, St. Louis, pp. 96-97.
Metadata assigned by Dr. M. van Schoor, Senior Lecturer, Dept. of Companion Animal Clinical Studies