Lateral feline chest radiograph before contrast.

QUICK TIP: Need to know if there is an oesophageal foreign body but can’t be certain on radiographs?

We have all been in the scenario where we are unsure whether there is an oesophageal foreign body on the radiographs we have just taken.

You might think of using a contrast medium to help, and the first that always comes to mind is barium. However, my personal first choice is a iodinated contrast medium – urografin, for example.


Why? Their use is typically limited to myelograms or intravenous contrast studies but they can be given orally as well, for the assessment of oesophageal foreign bodies.

Lateral feline chest radiograph after contrast.

The advantage of using this over barium is that if this dye is accidentally aspirated it does not cause pneumonia like barium can.

How to

Using iodinated contrast medium is simple:

  • Given orally non-diluted, Dogs: 5-10ml, Cats: 5ml – you can give more if necessary
  • Immediately repeat the radiographs
  • If there is anything in the oesophagus, it will be highlighted

Tip of the Week author Gerardo Poli is the author of The MiniVet Guide to Companion Animal Medicine – now available in the UK.

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