Pouch-like Sacs on the Esophageal Wall in Dogs

A diverticulum is a sac or pouch arising from a tubular organ, such as the esophagus. Esophageal diverticula are large pouch like sacs or dilatations on the esophageal wall which may be congenital or acquired. Acquired diverticula are of 2 types: pulsion and traction. 

Pulsion diverticula is a pushing outward of the wall. This occurs as a consequence of increased pressure from within the esophagus, as seen with obstruction or failure of the esophageal muscles to move food through.

Traction diverticula result from inflammation in the chest cavity in close proximity to the esophagus. Fibrous tissue is produced, which then contracts, pulling the esophageal wall outward. This diverticulum consists of all layers of the esophagus.

Diverticula most commonly occurs at the inlet to the esophagus or near the diaphragm, with food being taken into the mouth and getting caught in a pouch as it travels down the esophagus towards the stomach. Organ systems affected include the gastrointestinal, musculoskeletal, and respiratory.

This condition can occur in any dog of any age, sex and breed. Small diverticula may be subclinical. Large diverticula allow food to become trapped in the pouch leading the following symptoms 

Postprandial dyspnea



Eating difficulty

Difficulty swallowing


Weight loss

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