Laryngeal Saccules. What is all the fuss about?

Laryngeal saccules are air sacs located between the vocal folds and laryngeal wall. Why these sacs exist may be poorly understood but the presence of these pesky little pieces of tissue in English Bulldogs and other Brachycephalic breeds such as French Bulldogs, Pugs and Boston Terriers can be life changing.

As a part of the Brachycephalic Obstructive Airway Syndrome (BOAS) which includes stenotic nares, elongated soft palate, everted or hyperplastic tonsils, everted laryngeal saccules and hypoplastic trachea. When these sacs become irritated, affected dogs can have severe consequences.

Everted laryngeal saccules can be caused by increased respiratory effort and pressure caused by components of BOAS such as elongated soft palate and stenotic nares. Imagine breathing trough a straw. The saccules are then sucked into an already small airway further obstructing the ability to breathe.

Mildly affected dogs may snore or breathe loudly and “wet sounding” when excited or exercising. Severely affected dogs may overheat, cough, gag, vomit or regurgitate. Long term effects could lead to pulmonary tracheal collapse, hypertension, heart and lung disease, fainting or collapse leading to death.

Surgical correction of everted saccules is the treatment of choice when they are affecting a dog’s ability to breathe properly. This surgery can be done alone or as a part of a correction of other anatomical abnormalities such as stenotic nares and elongated soft palate allowing these dogs to breathe better.