Cricopharyngeal achalasia

Romy M. Heilmann, Stanley L. Marks

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter presents information on etiology/pathophysiology, signalment/history, clinical features, differential diagnosis, diagnostics and therapeutics of cricopharyngeal achalasia in cats and dogs. Cricopharyngeal achalasia is a disorder of the cricopharyngeus muscle that causes a relative inability of the proximal esophageal sphincter to relax and compromises the passage of a food or liquid bolus into the esophagus during the pharyngeal phase of swallowing. A complete neurologic examination is important, with particular emphasis on evaluation of the cranial nerves. The neurologic examination is usually unremarkable in patients with cricopharyngeal dysphagia. Differential diagnoses of cricopharyngeal dysphagia include pharyngeal weakness secondary to neuropathies or myopathies, pharyngeal tumors, penetrating foreign bodies, or trauma. Plain cervical and thoracic radiographs are usually unremarkable, but are important to rule out other causes of dysphagia or complications of cricopharyngeal dysphagia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBlackwell’s Five-Minute Veterinary Consult Clinical Companion
Subtitle of host publicationSmall Animal Gastrointestinal Diseases
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781119376293
ISBN (Print)9781119376347
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Clinical features
  • Cranial nerves
  • Cricopharyngeal dysphagia
  • Differential diagnosis
  • Pathophysiology
  • Plain cervical radiographs
  • Thoracic radiographs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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