Here at Atlantic Veterinary Internal Medicine & Oncology, we are pleased to offer pet endoscopy services for our patients. Endoscopy, which means “looking inside,” allows us 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 inside 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. Furthermore, our endoscopes are mostly medical level and equipped with advanced video cameras which allow for superior images. We use anesthesia 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. When we use a flexible endoscope, the area explored receives the most ample view. In contrast, a rigid endoscope is one that cannot bend. Currently, we use Olympus (human level) flexible videoendoscopy to all three of our locations, which helps balance results less invasively. With this technology, we’re able to further evaluate patients with images taken.
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
During 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 endoscope cannot remove the foreign body, the surgeon views endoscopic images for additional information. 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.