This paper describes clinical findings of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a disorder thought to be rare in cats. Radiologic, endoscopic, and histopathologic abnormalities of three young, purebred male cats with esophagitis were found. Contrast radiography revealed esophageal dilatation and increased motility; endoscopy showed hyperemia, increased vascularity, ulcers, erosion, and an abnormal lower esophageal sphincter; and histopathologic lesions included squamous hyperplasia and dysplasia, erosions, ulcers, and an inflammatory infiltrate of lymphocytes, plasma cells, and neutrophils. Long-term follow-up showed disease progression in two of the cats. The authors believe that infrequent diagnosis may be due to lack of understanding and included a review and discussion of the medical literature to better characterize the syndrome. Esophagitis should be considered in any cat that presents for vomiting, regurgitation, and dysphagia. Treatment is extrapolated from humans and consists of acid blockers, prokinetic agents, and cytoprotective agents.
COMMENTARY: Increased use of endoscopy has made us aware of the importance of gastric reflux and associated reflux esophagitis in the dog. The findings in these cats were dramatic and may represent just the tip of the iceberg: Reflux is probably widespread in cats, just harder to diagnose.
Feline esophagitis secondary to gastroesophageal reflux disease: clinical signs and radiographic, endoscopic, and histopathological findings. Han E, Broussard J, Baer KE. JAAHA 39:161-167, 2003.