Inflammation of the Esophagus (Esophagitis) in Cats How To Treat and Prevent Feline Esophagitis

Inflammation of the Esophagus (Esophagitis) in Cats

Cats are prone to the ailment known as esophagitis, which is an esophageal inflammation. Here, we discuss the entirety of this condition.

Cats are prone to esophagitis, an esophageal disorder marked by inflammation. Numerous things, including gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), foreign objects, certain drugs, or infections, might contribute to it. Esophagitis in cats can cause a wide range of symptoms, including as regurgitation, vomiting, weight loss, and trouble swallowing. If esophagitis is not treated, it may result in strictures or esophageal ulcers. 

The causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and possible treatments of feline esophagitis will all be covered in this article.


Esophagitis in cats can have several different causes. Here are some of the most common:

  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): This is a condition when the cat's stomach contents, including acid, flow back up into the esophagus. The acid can irritate and inflame the lining of the esophagus, leading to esophagitis.

  • Foreign objects: Cats may unintentionally consume items like toys or bones that can lodge in the esophagus and inflame it.

  • Medications: Certain medications, such as doxycycline or aspirin, can irritate the lining of the esophagus and cause esophagitis.

  • Infections: Bacterial, fungal, or viral infections, such as the herpes virus or Candida, can result in esophagitis.

  • Eosinophilic esophagitis: This uncommon disorder causes inflammation and scarring by having the immune system assault the lining of the esophagus.

  • Trauma: Esophagitis can result from trauma to the esophagus, for as from a catfight or a tumble.

  • Anesthesia: The tube that is placed into a cat's esophagus to assist with breathing under anesthesia can occasionally cause esophagitis.


Esophagitis in cats may lead to the following:

  • Cat having trouble swallowing: Cats may appear to be in pain when swallowing, and may take longer to eat or drink.

  • Regurgitation: Food or water may be expelled from the mouth shortly after eating or drinking.

  • Vomiting: Cats may vomit frequently, and the vomit may contain undigested food.

  • Weight loss: Due to difficulty eating, cats with esophagitis may lose weight.

  • Lack of appetite: Cats with esophagitis may refuse to eat or drink.

  • Drooling: Excessive drooling may occur as a result of difficulty swallowing.

  • Lethargy: Cats may appear to be tired or have a lack of energy.

Esophagitis can cause consequences including strictures or esophageal ulcers if it is not managed. Therefore, it is important for cat owners to seek veterinary care if they notice any of these symptoms in their feline friends.

How Do You Treat Esophagitis in Cats?

The root cause and the degree of the inflammation will determine the course of treatment and management for cats with esophagitis. Here are some typical medical options:

  • Medications: Cats with esophagitis may be prescribed medications to help reduce inflammation and alleviate pain. These may include antacids, antibiotics, or anti-inflammatory drugs.

  • Dietary changes: Cats with esophagitis may benefit from changes to their diet, such as feeding smaller, more frequent meals, or feeding a soft, moist diet to make swallowing easier.

  • Fluid treatment: Cats that have been dehydrated from vomiting or regurgitation may need fluid therapy to help them become hydrated again.

  • Surgery: Surgery might be necessary in some cases to get rid of foreign items or heal esophageal injuries.

  • Lifestyle modifications: To assist manage the condition of their cat, cat owners may need to adopt some lifestyle modifications. This may entail refraining from feeding cats right before bed or raising their food dishes to lower the possibility of regurgitation.

  • Management of underlying conditions: If an underlying disease, such as GERD or an infection, contributed to the esophagitis, treating that condition will be a key component of managing the esophagitis.

Preventive Tips

While it may not always be possible to prevent cat esophagus problems, there are some measures that cat owners can take to reduce the risk of cat esophagitis:

  • Avoid giving cats meals like spicy or acidic foods that are known to irritate or inflame the esophagus.

  • To lower the chance of overeating and vomiting in cats, feed them smaller, more frequent meals rather than one huge one.

  • To assist prevent dehydration, make sure cats have access to fresh water at all times.

  • To avoid inadvertent ingestion, keep small objects, such as toys or bones, out of the cats' reach.

  • Seek veterinary care promptly if a cat exhibits signs of an underlying condition, such as GERD or infections, that could lead to esophagitis.

  • Consider using elevated feeding bowls to help reduce the risk of regurgitation.

  • Monitor cats during and after anesthesia to ensure that the tube used to assist with breathing does not cause damage to the esophagus.

By following these prevention tips, cat owners can help reduce the risk of their pets developing esophagitis, and provide them with a safe and healthy environment.

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