Fifty dogs were investigated in order to correlate the length and position of the lower oesophageal sphincter (LOS) with external measurements. Various external measurements were taken while the dogs were anaesthetised and positioned in lateral recumbency. An oesophageal tube was then introduced into the oesophagus and thoracic radiographs were taken. The 'real internal length of the oesophagus' was calculated as the length from the lower jaw incisor tooth to the position of the oesophageal tube at the costal border of the diaphragm. A highly significant linear correlation was found between this internal length and the external length from lower jaw incisor tooth to the anterior border of the head of the 10th rib. Using oesophageal manometry, the length and position of the LOS was also studied in 25 clinically normal bitches. The mean length of the LOS was found to be 4.6 +/- 0.92 cm. The position of the LOS was a mean of 4.4 +/- 1.69 cm cranial to the costal border of the diaphragm. The findings of this study indicate that the external measurements can be used to position catheters for accurate oesophageal manometry in the dog.
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