Care of an Esophagostomy (E) Feeding Tube

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Temperature of formula: Always feed the formula through the E-tube at room temperature, or slightly warmer, to avoid vomiting. Prior to feeding, draw up the required volume of formula into the syringe(s), and let it stand for a while at room temperature, or in warm water. Do not microwave. Test the temperature by placing a drop of the warmed feeding formula on the inside of your wrist. It should feel lukewarm.

Rate of administration: Always feed the formula through the E-tube very slowly (over 15-20 minutes) to decrease the incidence of vomiting. If your pet is showing signs of nausea during feeding (licking lips, drooling, or vomits) then feeding may need to be even slower over 30 minutes. The minimum amount of time between feedings is 2 ½ to 3 hours.

Caring for the tube: We have placed a cloth collar around your pet’s neck to protect the tube insertion site in the skin. At the area where the tube inserts into the skin we have also placed a small pad to help with any discharge. Please keep this area dry. Check the tube site every day and keep the tube and skin clean. It is normal for a small amount of serum to accumulate and form crusts at the base of the tube. You may clean gently around the site with mild soap and water using a cotton ball or q-tip, and dry thoroughly before replacing the bandage/collar. In addition to daily care at home, we recommend weekly recheck at a veterinary facility to evaluate and clean the tube site. If you see swelling, bloody discharge or pus, or have any other concerns then please contact us.

Download the full feeding instructions PDF.