Placement of an enteral feeding tube is a recognized method of supportive care, and the esophagostomy tube is an accepted route that is generally well tolerated by avian patients and relatively easy to place. In clinical patients, esophagostomy tube placement has been described in psittacine birds, raptors, and ostriches.
Esophagostomy tube placement is indicated in cases of severe beak trauma or disease, as well as diseases of the oral cavity or proximal esophagus, such as abscesses and neoplasia. Esophagostomy tubes may also be used to…
The use of esophagostomy tubes (E-tubes) allows administration of oral medications and critical care nutrition to turtles and tortoises while minimizing stress and the risk of esophageal trauma associated with repeated rigid gavage tube feeding. Esophagostomy tubes are very well tolerated in chelonians and the patient can even eat normally with the tube in place. Patients can be medicated and fed on an outpatient basis, and once fully recovered, the E-tube is easily removed in the veterinary clinic.
When Kara Burns, veterinary technician specialist in nutrition, visited Tuskegee University School of Veterinary Medicine during the fall of 2014, her lecture on critical care nutrition made a big impression on the veterinary medical students. This 48-minute presentation explores the basics of nutritional supportive care appropriate for all species before concluding with information on nutritional support of special species like birds, reptiles and exotic companion mammals.
Esophagostomy tube placement is an excellent choice for nutritional support of the debilitated small mammal patient requiring long-term feeding or for individuals that have suffered major orofacial trauma. Use this video clip or text with still images to review this important technique in the ferret.
Nasogastric tube placement in the rabbit is an excellent choice for the weak, dehydrated patient that requires enteral nutritional support. Use of a nasogastric tube can be less stressful and more successful than syringe feeding. Nasogastric intubation is also indicated in rabbits that will undergo surgery involving the oral cavity, esophagus, stomach, or biliary tract. Use this video clip or text with still images to review contraindications and potential complications, equipment needed as well as the technique involved.
Tube feeding, also known as gavage feeding, is an essential part of avian supportive care. Sick birds are often presented with a history of anorexia and glycogen stores may be depleted within hours in small species with relatively high metabolic rates. Another important indication for gavage feeding is a documented drop in body weight of 5% to 10%.