Congenital esophageal diverticula are formed by defects in the muscularis layer, allowing mucosa to herniate into the weakened area.
Causes of acquired forms of esophageal diverticula include:
- Pulsion diverticula - e.g. foreign body obstruction
- Traction diverticula - e.g. ingestion of toxic chemicals, regional esophagitis, bronchoesophageal fistula, spirocerca granuloma or strictures.
Traction diverticula may involve fibrotic adhesion to regional structures such as lung, bronchus or lymph nodes, or may occur as congenital bronchoesophageal fistula.
Clinically affected dogs often present with chronic vomiting, regurgitation, retching and weight loss, often caused by impaction of food at the diverticulum. Sever cases may result in necrosis of the diverticulum with spillage of esophageal contents into the pleural space, leading to mediastinitis.
Diagnosis is based on clinical history, presenting clinical symptoms and radiographic evidence of an air-filled or tissue-density mass adjacent to or involving the esophagus.
Contrast radiography using barium-meal swallows or CT scans are often needed to assist a diagnosis.
Medical treatment involves small quantity feeding at regular intervals to minimize food impaction but many small diverticula eventually enlarge over time.
For large esophageal diverticula defects, surgical excision and reconstruction is required.
A guarded prognosis should be considered for most cases due to possible complications such as recurrence, stricture formation and segmental hypomotility. However, many cases recovery uneventfully providing good surgical techniques are employed.
- Pearson H et al (1978) Oesophageal diverticulum formation in the dog. J Small Anim Pract 19(6):341-355
- Iwasaki M et al (1977) Esophageal diverticula in a dog. Mod Vet Pract 58(7):606
- Pence DB & Stone JE (1978) Visceral lesions in wild carnivores naturally infected with Spirocerca lupi. Vet Pathol 15(3):322-331
- Nawrocki MA et al (2003) Fluoroscopic and endoscopic localization of an esophagobronchial fistula in a dog. J Am Anim Hosp Assoc 39(3):257-261
- Gianella P et al (2009) Oesophageal and gastric endoscopic foreign body removal: complications and follow-up of 102 dogs. J Small Anim Pract 50(12):649-654
- Brain, PH (2013) Wretched congenital anomalies. The Veterinarian March:29-33
- Park HA et al (2012) Characteristics of esophageal diverticula using computed tomography and three-dimensional reconstruction in a Maltese dog. J Vet Med Sci 74(9):1233-1236
- McGill SE et al (2009) Nonsurgical treatment of gastroesophageal intussusception in a puppy. J Am Anim Hosp Assoc 45(4):185-190
- Pavletic MM (1994) Stapling in esophageal surgery. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract 24(2):395-412
- Hill FW et al (1979) An oesophageal diverticulum in a dog. Aust Vet J 55(4):184-187