The esophagus is a muscular tube connecting the throat (pharynx) with the stomach. The esophagus is about 8 inches long, and is lined by moist pink tissue called mucosa. The esophagus runs behind the windpipe (trachea) and heart, and in front of the spine. Just before entering the stomach, the esophagus passes through the diaphragm.
The upper esophageal sphincter (UES) is a bundle of muscles at the top of the esophagus. The muscles of the UES are under conscious control, used when breathing, eating, belching, and vomiting. They keep food and secretions from going down the windpipe.
Reasons for treatment of bladder stones include recurring symptoms and risk of urinary tract obstruction. Some stones can be dissolved using dietary modifications and/or medications. Small stones in female dogs may possibly be removed by urohydropropulsion , a nonsurgical procedure. Urohydropropulsion is performed under sedation by filling the bladder with saline through a catheter, holding the dog vertically, and squeezing the bladder to expel the stones through the urethra. Bladder stones can be removed surgically by a cystotomy , opening of the bladder. Stones lodged in the urethra can often be flushed into the bladder and removed, but sometimes a urethrotomy is necessary. In male dogs with recurrent urinary tract obstruction a scrotal urethrostomy creates a permanent opening in the urethra proximal to the area where most stones lodge, behind the os penis . In male cats, stones lodge where the urethra narrows in the penis. Recurrent cases can be treated surgically with a perineal urethrostomy , which removes the penis and creates a new opening for the urethra.