Feline Esophagus ( This is a actual cat's esophagus)

PFrank's picture
By PFrank on
Paul Frank, DVM, DACVR
Staff Radiologist
Triangle Veterinary Emergency Clinic

Figure Legends : 

The images in Figure 1 are obtained shortly after oral administration of barium suspension. Barium in the esophagus represents reflux or residual barium from the administration procedure. Note the 'herringbone' appearance of the esophagus from the level of the heart base to the stomach.

Case Description

Clinical History: 

Comment: I thought your readers may be interested in images of an actual cat's esophagus to go along with the recent post entitled "Feline Esophagus." As a new user of this site, this is the only way I could figure out to add these images. I tried to find a "Comment" button. Feel free to edit this post, transform this into a comment on the previous post, etc.

Four month old, male, domestic shorthair breed cat. Vomiting.


Normal esophagus in a feline patient (patient died in surgery due to mesenteric volvulus).


The cranial 2/3 of the feline esophagus contains striated muscle, similar to dogs. The caudal 1/3 of the feline esophagus contains smooth muscle, unlike the dog. This smooth muscle is the cause for the characteristic finding of oblique striations in this portion of the esophagus, often referred to as a 'herringbone' appearance in the veterinary literature. Thus, this appearance in the cat is anatomic, not pathologic.

References / Suggested Reading: 

"Esophagus" Watrous BJ, in Thrall, DE, ed. "Textbook of Veterinary Diagnostic Radiology" 5th edition, pp. 495-497. Sauders Elsevier, St. Louis, MO.


Feline Esophagus ( This is a actual cat's esophagus), Paul Frank, DVM, DACVR, Imaging Science Today, 2010, 616.


jdogra's picture
Joined: 05/23/2007


Thank you for this submission. Its a wonderful correlation between human Feline esophagus and actual feline esophagus.

Dr. Vikram Singh Dogra

Professor of Radiology, Urology & BME
Associate Chair for Education and Research.
Department of Imaging Sciences
University of Rochester School of Medicine

nollik's picture
Joined: 05/18/2009

Excellent, now I can show students the "real thing".

marlena21's picture
Joined: 06/20/2010

I'm too Norman. Waiting for more interesting articles.