Endoscopy is a minimally invasive procedure that uses a pre-existing bodily cavity to access the gastrointestinal (GI) tract for procedural or diagnostic purposes. It can help veterinarians diagnose conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), certain cancers, gastrointestinal lymphoma, foreign body ingestion, and more.
The procedure is performed with an endoscope, which is a long, skinny, tube-like device with a small light and camera attached on the end, which can be inserted either through the oral cavity or the colon. The veterinarian will observe live-footage taken by the camera to see the condition of the esophagus, stomach, and/or lower intestines. The endoscope is also capable of collecting a biopsy, which can further assist the diagnoses of many GI tract issues in addition to the visual observation.
Endoscopies are a great alternative to diagnostic surgeries because of the following attributes:
Although endoscopy is nonsurgical, it does require the patient to be anesthetized during the procedure. Therefore, to mitigate the risks associated with anesthesia, our veterinary staff will closely monitor the animal both during and after the procedure.
Before an endoscopy, the patient should be fasted for 12-36 hours, based on their specific case. This is very important because if food is in the GI tract during the procedure, it can block the endoscope. Your veterinarian will help you to understand how far in advance the pet must be fasted based on factors such as their size, and the region the endoscope will reach.
After the procedure, the pet will have no painful incisions, but due to the anesthesia and the procedure itself, they might be uncomfortable. We recommend keeping them in a comfortable, familiar space, and allowing them to rest for the next few days.