OBJECTIVE: To determine the usefulness of pneumoesophagography, compared with that
of survey radiography, for characterization of esophageal pathological changes in dogs with
endoscopically confirmed intraluminal Spirocerca lupi nodules in the caudal portion of the
DESIGN: Diagnostic test evaluation.
ANIMALS: 30 dogs with endoscopically confirmed spirocercosis.
PROCEDURES: Dorsoventral (DV) and right lateral recumbent (RLR) thoracic survey radiographs
were obtained for each dog. Endoscopy was subsequently performed, the esophagus
was inflated with air, and left lateral recumbent, RLR, DV, and ventrodorsal thoracic
radiographs were obtained. The amount of esophageal and gastric distention was recorded.
Visibility, location, and surface characteristics of lesions and total length of esophageal involvement
were recorded independently for each radiograph and modality and compared
with each other.
RESULTS: Survey DV radiographs were more reliable than survey RLR radiographs for detecting
caudal esophageal pathological changes. Lateral pneumoesophagograms showed
more esophageal air and had more visible nodules than did their orthogonal counterparts.
Right lateral recumbent pneumoesophagograms allowed for evaluation of the air-filled stomach,
particularly the cardiac portion, for additional pathological changes. Pneumoesophagography
allowed the mural position (47% located dorsally) and surface characteristics of
Spirocerca nodules to be determined. Six of 9 dogs with confirmed malignant disease had
an irregular nodule surface suggestive of neoplastic transformation.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Pneumoesophagography was easily performed in
dogs with spirocercosis and showed promise as a cost-effective and safe initial diagnostic
procedure for further evaluation and characterization of suspected caudal esophageal lesions.