College of Veterinary Medicine

Small Animal DX & Therapeutic Techniques

Nasogastric Tube Placement


Supplies needed include:

  • Soft rubber feeding tubes*
  • Topical anesthetic **
  • Aqueous lubricant

*A 3.5 or 5 Fr tube can be placed in most cats. An 8 Fr tube is difficult to place in all but large cats.

**The same topical anesthetic that is used in performance of ophthalmic exams can be placed in the nose.

nasal_anes.jpg (17309 bytes)

Instill several drops of local anesthetic into one nostril. The cat's head is slightly tilted back to allow the topical anesthetic to run into the nasal cavity. Only a few drops of anesthetic agent are needed. Large amounts of anesthetic agent may run back into the pharynx and anesthetize the arytenoid cartilages, possibly resulting in tracheal intubation rather than gastric intubation.


nasla_measure.jpg (115716 bytes)

nasal_lube.jpg (17684 bytes) The tube should be liberally lubricated with aqueous lubricant. The nasal turbinates are very friable and traumatic passage of the nasal tube will result in hemorrhage.

nasal_turbinates.jpg (71006 bytes)

The nasal cavity is divided by the turbinates into several spaces called meatuses. The nasogastric tube is passed into the ventral meatus which communicates with the nasopharynx. The tube is inserted into the nostril as close to the midline and as ventral as possible. If the tube initially passes and then meets resistance, it is hitting against the ethmoid turbinates; draw back the tube and gently advance until it passes into the nasopharynx and subsequently into the esophagus.

Last Edited: Feb 02, 2009 1:49 PM   

College of Veterinary Medicine, PO Box 647010 , Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-7010, 509-335-9515, Contact Us  Safety Links