Internal Medicine

Supplemental Feeding Tube Placement & Management

Feeding tubes are utilized to administer nutrients into the anorexic patient and combat the negative side effects of malnutrition. Feeding tubes can be placed as a temporary or long term aid in the feeding of pets that cannot or will not eat due to a variety of diseases or conditions. These tubes can be placed into either the esophagus or the stomach and can be utilized for short or long term use. Management of the tubes and a feeding plan are formulated by our veterinarians specifically for your pet.

Nasoesophageal & Nasogastric Tubes

Nasoesophageal tubes (NE Tubes) and Nasogastric tubes (NG Tubes) are placed in patients that are hospitalized and require short term nutritional supplementation. A sterile feeding tube is placed through a nostril and down into either the esophagus or stomach and is then sutured into place. These tubes are minimally expensive and require little to no sedation to place depending on the patient. Liquid diets are administered through the tube via a constant rate infusion in hospital for nutritional support. Nasogastric tubes can also be utilized in patients with motility disorders to aspirate gastric fluid accumulation as well. NE and NG tubes are not intended for long term management and patients are not able to leave the hospital with them in place. These tubes have minimal risk of complications and are easy to remove.

Esophagostomy Tubes

Esophagostomy tubes (E tubes) are utilized for long term nutritional support in the anorexic patient and allow owner's to feed their pet a blended canned diet through the tube at home. Esophagostomy tubes are placed under general anesthesia through a surgical incision in the side of the neck. The tube in placed into the esophagus and is held in place by skin sutures and a fabric collar that secures around the neck. Esophagostomy tubes are placed fairly quickly can be placed in conjunction with other surgical procedures that may be needed. It is typically recommended for a patient to stay in the hospital overnight to ensure they tolerate their first few feedings through the tube before going home. A blended canned diet is formulated for owner's to feed at home depending on the pet's medical history. Most liquid medications can also be administered easily through the tube as well. Complications include displacement due to vomiting or removal by the patient and skin infection around the incision site. Most patients can live a normal life at home and start eating on their own while the tube is in place. Daily cleaning of the incision site is recommended to avoid infection and maintain the incision site sutures. These tubes are easily removed and incision sites heal very quickly on their own.

Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy Tubes (PEG Tubes)

Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy Tubes (PEG tubes) are utilized for long term nutritional supplementation in patients with esophageal disease (megaesophagus, esophagitis, or esophageal strictures). With a PEG tube we are able to completely bypass the esophagus in patients with these diseases and provide nutritional support directly to the stomach. PEG tubes are typically made of silicone and are placed while under general anesthesia with endoscopic guidance (larger breed dogs do require surgical placement). It is recommended that patients stay hospitalized overnight to ensure that a stoma forms and they tolerate their first few tube feedings. These tubes can be utilized for the rest of a patient's life if needed unlike other feeding tubes. Placement and management of these feeding tubes can have more risks associated with them. A blended canned diet can be fed at home via the PEG tube which will be formulated by a veterinary to meet your pet's caloric needs. Patients can begin eating on their own while the tube is in place as well. Depending on the time length the tube is in place for they sometimes require general anesthesia and endoscopic guidance for removal.