Here at Atlantic Veterinary Internal Medicine & Oncology, we are pleased to offer pet endoscopy services for our patients. Endoscopy, which means “looking inside,” allows our internists to visually examine and biopsy the gastrointestinal tract with a device called an endoscope. An endoscope is a long tubular fiber-optic camera that can be inserted in different cavities in the body (mouth, nose, etc.). We use a combination of flexible and rigid endoscopes that allow us to visualize the internal aspects of various organs of the body (nose, throat, esophagus, stomach, duodenum, colon, rectum, urethra, urinary bladder, trachea, bronchi, larynx) with the hope of avoiding exploratory surgery when possible. These are mostly medical level, advanced video-style or video-equipped endoscopes which allow for superior images. Anesthesia is involved in most of our endoscopic protocols.
Flexible vs. Rigid Endoscopes
Just as the word implies, a flexible endoscope is one that can bend at the tip once it enters a body cavity. This allows for an ample view of the area being explored. In contrast, a rigid endoscope is one that cannot bend. We recently added Olympus (human level) flexible videoendoscopy to all three of our locations, which helps balance results with a less invasive approach. With this technology, images are taken to further evaluate the pet.
When Is an Endoscopy Needed?
There are several conditions that may call for an endoscopic exam, such as:
- Chronic cough
- Chronic diarrhea
- Chronic vomiting
- Epistaxis (nose bleeds)
- Persistent sneezing
- Unexplained weight loss
- Sampling of secretions from the lungs
- Rectal or colonic bleeding
- Inconclusive results from another diagnostic test (blood work, physical exam, etc.)*
*Gastrointestinal disease is an example of a medical condition that cannot always be detected with X-rays or an ultrasound exam. Therefore, veterinarians often recommend a GI biopsy with an endoscope to confirm a diagnosis.
Pet Endoscopic Procedures
With our flexible and rigid endoscopic services, we can examine the inside of the:
- Ear canals
- Stomach/gastrointestinal tract
- Respiratory system
- First portion of small intestine
- Vaginal tract
- Urinary bladder
We also use endoscopes for foreign body retrieval/removal from the esophagus, stomach, and upper airways in many situations. If the foreign body cannot be removed, endoscopy provides additional information for the surgeon. We can also perform radial balloon bougienage, particularly for esophageal strictures. Please feel free to contact us if you’d like to learn more about our pet endoscopy services.