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Use of an Esophagostomy Tube as a Method of Nutritional Management in Raptors: A Case Series

Huynh, Minh, Sabater, Mikel, Brandão, João, Forbes, Neil A.
Journal of avian medicine and surgery 2014 v.28 no.1 pp. 24-30
birds of prey, body weight, mortality, nutritional support, patients
We determined if esophagostomy tube placement is feasible for nutritional support in raptors. The clinical data were reviewed from 18 raptors admitted between 2006 and 2012, and in which esophagostomy tubes were placed. Indications for tube placement, complications associated with its placement and management, duration of treatment, and changes in patient body weight were evaluated. The most common indication was nutritional and medical support in stressed hospitalized animals, and intensive care cases. Complications were regurgitation, unexpected removal, and misplacement of the tube. The esophagostomy tube was well tolerated in all but 2 cases. A tube was replaced once in 2 patients. Five birds died during the treatment course. Mortality was not associated with the placement of the tube. Average duration of tube placement was 6.1 ± 3.7 days. Most birds did not gain any weight with use of the feeding tubes. Esophagostomy tubes are well tolerated in raptors, but further studies are needed to demonstrate their efficiency.