Esophageal Diverticula in Cats
Pulsion diverticula is a pushing outward of the wall of an internal, hollow organ, in this case, the esophagus. It is caused by increased pressure from within the esophageal cavity (intraluminal). This is directly related to esophageal diverticula, which is characterized by large, pouch-like sacs on the esophageal wall. Traction diverticula occurs secondary to inflammation, where fibrosis and contraction pull the wall of the esophagus out into a pouch, resulting in obstruction or failure of the esophageal muscles to move food through to the stomach.
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 toward the stomach. Organ systems affected include the gastrointestinal, musculoskeletal, and respiratory. Although no genetic basis has been proven, it may be congenital (present at birth), or acquired. There is no specific breed or gender predisposition for this disease.
Symptoms and Types
- Regurgitation following eating, difficult swallowing, lack of appetite, coughing
- Weight loss, respiratory distress (aspiration pneumonia)
- Pulsion Diverticulum
- Embryonic developmental disorders of the esophageal wall
- Esophageal foreign body or failure of the muscles to move food through
- Traction Diverticulum
- Inflammatory process associated with the trachea, lungs, lymph nodes, or lining of the stomach; causes fibrous tissue formation around the esophagus
Your veterinarian will conduct an esophagram, or an esophagoscopy to examine the diverticula in order to determine whether there is a related mass. An X-ray of the chest area, and a fluoroscopal examination to evaluate the movement of food through the esophagus will give your doctor a better idea of where the diverticula is placed in the esophageal wall. An injection of a radiocontrasting agent into the esophageal passage may be used to improve visibility on an X-ray so that an exact determination can be made, as the substance flows down the esophagus, filling the pouches as is does.