An esophagostomy tube is a small rubber tube that enters a surgical incision on the side of the neck. Placement of the tube through this incision allows food to enter the esophagus and then flow down into the stomach. The tube is not placed directly into the stomach.
1. Fill one syringe with 10cc water and the other with the prescribed amount of food.
2. Use a pillow or towel to prop your cat up so that the front end is higher than the rear. This facilitates food flow down into the stomach.
3. Remove the cap from feeding tube.
4. Inject 10 cc of water into the tube to flush it.
5. Any medications that are to be given with the feeding should be given at this time.
6. Inject the prescribed amount of food SLOWLY, about 1cc per minute. Quick feeding may result in vomiting.
7. After feeding, again flush the tube with an additional 10 cc of water. This is very important as the tube may clog if it is not flushed clean at the end of the feeding.
8. Replace tube cap.
9. Keep your cat propped up for 5 minutes after the feeding ends. This helps decrease the chances of vomiting after the feeding.
* A/D slurry: mix one can of A/D with 50 ml of water. One ml equals 1 kilocalorie.
1. If at any time you experience resistance when injecting food or water, stop immediately – do not force.
2. If at the beginning of the feeding (during flush) the tube may be clogged. Suck back gently on the syringe and try to inject again. If you are not successful, call the clinic.
3. If resistance is felt at the end of the feeding, your cat’s stomach may be full. If not able to give the full amount, make a note of it. Do NOT force the remaining food in. You may need to pull some back out so that you can still flush the tube properly with water.
4. If your cat vomits, call the clinic. If you are not able to call or we are closed, skip the next feeding until you talk to a doctor. Do not skip more than one feeding unless instructed by a doctor – nutrition is critical to your cat at this time.
The wrap should be changed at minimum weekly (and the incision site examined), or when it becomes soiled or wet. This can be done as a technician appointment if no other checkup is needed.
Patience and persistence are required. Some cats take several weeks of tube feeding before their appetite or ability to eat returns. Your cat should still be offered food and water on a daily basis. They will be able to eat with the tube present if they choose. The tube will not hinder chewing or swallowing. After your cat has been eating well for a consistent period of time, it should return to the clinic for a recheck and tube removal. Removal of the tube is simple and does not require anesthesia, however you should not attempt to remove the tube yourself.
Please call if you have any problems or questions!