A case-control study to identify risk factors for adult-onset idiopathic megaoesophagus in Australian dogs, 2017–2018.

Renwick, M., Stevenson, M.A., Wiethoelter, A. and Mansfield, C.

Epidemiological investigations were carried out following detection of an outbreak of megaoesophagus in Victorian Police working dogs in early 2018 and an increase in the number of canine megaoesophagus cases reported by companion animal veterinarians in Eastern Australia starting in late 2017. VetCompass Australia data were used to quantify the incidence of canine megaoesophagus for the period January 2012 to February 2018 and a matched case-control study carried out to identify individual animal risk factors for canine megaoesophagus in 2017–2018.

Results: The study found a 7-fold increase in the incidence rate of canine megaoesophagus from 2014 (0.11 [95% CI 0.02 to 0.58] cases per 100,000 dogs per day) to 2018 (0.82 [95% CI 0.19 to 4.2] cases per 100,000 dogs per day). Since 2013, the incidence of megaoesophagus in Australia has shown a seasonal pattern, with greater numbers of cases diagnosed during the warmer months of the year. In the case-control study, use of Mars Petcare Advance Dermocare as a source of food was 325 (95% CI 64 to 1644) times greater for cases, compared with controls.

Conclusions: Our analyses provide evidence that the feeding of Advance Dermocare was responsible for the majority of cases in the outbreak of megaoesophagus in Eastern Australia in 2017–2018. The increase in the incidence rate of megaoesophagus in Australia since 2014–2015 warrants further investigation.


Read the full article to find out more:

Renwick, M., Stevenson, M.A., Wiethoelter, A. and Mansfield, C. (2020). A case-control study to identify risk factors for adult-onset idiopathic megaoesophagus in Australian dogs, 2017–2018. BMC Veterinary Research 16:157.

See also:

Michelle Renwick, M. S., Anke Wiethoelter, Caroline Mansfield (2021). "Outbreak investigation of canine acquired idiopathic megaoesophagus in Australia, 2017-2018." International Journal of Epidemiology 50.

Mansfield, C., Renwick, M., Stevenson, M., Wiethoelter, A. (2018). Study confirms rise in megaesophagus cases in dogs was linked to pet food.

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