The Link Between Lung and GI Disease


CHF Grant 02699: The Pathologic Link between Lung and Gut: Diagnosis of Aerodigestive Disorders in Dogs

Howard J, Grobman M, Lever T, Reinero CR. Videofluoroscopic swallow study abnormalities identify aerodigestive disorders in dogs with respiratory disease versus healthy controls. J Vet Intern Med. 2023;1‐13. doi:10.1111/jvim.16685

What can we learn?
Impaired airway protection, dysphagia, gastroesophageal reflux, regurgitation, vomiting, or combinations of these can cause or exacerbate respiratory disease in dogs. However, since we don’t regularly test dogs with respiratory disease for such aerodigestive disorders, the opportunity to help treat respiratory disease by targeting the digestive tract may be missed.

To evaluate this, CHF-funded investigators completed a fluoroscopic swallow study in 45 dogs with respiratory disease and 15 healthy dogs of varied ages and breeds. Results showed that 75% of dogs with respiratory disease had one or more abnormalities on their swallow study, even though their owners reported no clinical signs of gastrointestinal (GI) disease. Dogs with respiratory disease were also more likely have objective evidence of aspiration.

Clinicians should always be suspicious of gastrointestinal disease in dogs with respiratory disease, even without overt GI clinical signs. A fluoroscopic swallow study is a valuable tool for evaluating aerodigestive problems in dogs and should be included in a thorough diagnostic work-up for dogs with respiratory disease.

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