Contrast videofluoroscopic assessment of dysphagic cats

Jonathan S. Levine, Rachel E Pollard, Stanley L Marks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The diagnostic utility of contrast-enhanced videofluoroscopic esophagography in dysphagic cats has been rarely studied relative to dogs. Current literature regarding feline dysphagia typically consists of individual case reports or small case series. This retrospective study analyzed the imaging findings in 11 cats undergoing 15 videofluoroscopic swallow studies. Hiatal hernia (n = 5), esophageal stricture (n = 3), and esophageal dysmotility (n = 7) were the most common diagnoses (some cats having more than 1 diagnosis) in dysphagic cats that underwent videofluoroscopic swallow studies. Esophageal dysmotility appeared to be associated with a higher percentage of swallows from which no peristaltic waves were generated. Oropharyngeal and cricopharyngeal causes of dysphagia were not identified in any cat and quantitative assessment of the swallowing reflex (pharyngeal constriction ratio = 0.17 ± 0.09; time to maximum pharyngeal contraction = 0.13 ± 0.02 s; time to proximal esophageal sphincter opening = 0.07 ± 0.02 s; time to proximal esophageal sphincter closed = 0.23 ± 0.05 s; time to opening of the epiglottis = 0.27 ± 0.04 s) was similar to quantitative swallowing parameters previously reported in healthy dogs. In conclusion, videofluoroscopy is a diagnostic tool that can identify esophageal abnormalities that are not readily apparent on survey radiographs. Limitations include the potential need for multiple studies, and the possibility of poor compliance in the feline patient. Results of this study are intended to help veterinarians define a prioritized differential diagnosis list for dysphagic cats.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)465-471
Number of pages7
JournalVeterinary Radiology and Ultrasound
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Contrast
  • Dysphagia
  • Esophagus
  • Feline
  • Videofluoroscopic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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