• Esophagitis is inflammation of the esophagus, which is the tube that carries food and liquid from the mouth to the stomach.

  • In dogs and cats, gastroesophageal reflux is the most common cause of esophagitis.

  • Symptoms of the condition include regurgitation, difficulty swallowing, and coughing.

  • The focus of treatment of esophagitis is protecting the lining of the esophagus and decreasing gastric acid production.

COMPLICATIONS: One potential complication of esophagitis is aspiration pneumonia, which occurs when a dog or cat is unable to swallow food or liquid properly. Also called inhalation pneumonia, this is a very serious condition in which substances such as vomit, food, foreign bodies, or regurgitated gastric acid are aspirated (inhaled) into the lungs, causing them to become inflamed and infected. As well as a formation of a stricture, meaning the esophagus has formed scar tissue to protect itself from the inflammation and creates a narrow closure in the esophagus making it very difficult or impossible for an animal to swallow food.


Esophagitis and Esophageal Strictures

Alan Glazier and Patricia Walters, May 2008

Esophagitis and Esophageal Stricture (Proceedings)

Robert G. Sherding, DVM, DACVIM, October 2001

Consultant on Call, NAVC Clinician's Brief

Sally Bisset, June 2012

Handbook of Small Animal Gastroenterology

Todd R. Tams, 2003


This site is based on our personal experience and research we have done to try to inform the general public. It should not be used as professional veterinary advice. Please consult with your veterinarian if you suspect your pet is experiencing any of these issues so that they can address it as soon as possible. 

What is esophagitis?


Prilosec, Sucralfate, Balloon Dilation, etc.


Endoscopy or barium swallow study.


Gagging, vomiting, foaming, regurgitating, retching, etc.