Has your pet been scheduled to have an endoscopy? The goal of this procedure is to diagnose potential conditions or diseases in your pet's digestive tract. In this post, our Perry vets explain the endoscopy procedure and how it can help detect issues in your cat or dog's digestive tract.
Endoscopies for Pets
An endoscope is a thin, flexible tube with a video camera attachment and/or viewing port that's inserted through an animal's mouth into the stomach or the rectum, and into the colon. This piece of equipment allows your veterinarian to examine the insides of these hollow organs and find abnormal cells or tumors.
An endoscopy is a safe diagnostic procedure that's usually performed when your pet is having gastrointestinal issues. It allows your veterinarian to visualize the internal organs and, if required, take samples of tissue for biopsies without the need for surgery.
It can also be used to identify scarring, abnormal swelling, strictures (abnormal narrowing), and inflammation. An endoscope can also remove any foreign objects that may be present.
Health issues that may prompt our vets to recommend an endoscopy include:
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
The Endoscopy Procedure Process
Prior to a gastrointestinal endoscopy, your pet's internal system will need to be empty of all food and feces. Depending on which area the endoscope will inspect, your pet will need to fast for 12 to 18 hours to clear its system. At least one enema may be required before the procedure.
Since an endoscopy allows for a thorough examination of the colon, intestinal tract, esophagus, and/or stomach, your pet will be sedated for this procedure. The endoscope will be inserted through the mouth or rectum into your pet's stomach or intestinal tract, then advanced to visualize the required area.
If a biopsy or foreign body removal is needed, an additional device can be passed through the endoscopy to perform other procedures as required.
Diseases That Can Be Diagnosed With an Endoscopy
An endoscopy allows your vet to view your pet's esophagus, stomach, and upper portion of the small intestine or colon. Any abnormal areas can also have precise biopsy samples taken. These samples are made up of tiny pieces of tissue cut from the organ's lining by the biopsy instrument.
Diagnosing Cancer With an Endoscopy
In many cases, your veterinarian can diagnose cancer of the gastrointestinal tract with the help of an endoscopy. Some tumors, however, do not affect the stomach or colon's mucosa or inner lining. In these cases, the biopsy results are normal yet the pet continues to experience clinical signs.
Biopsies obtained through exploratory surgery (exploratory laparotomy) or non-invasive tests such as an MRI may be required.
Your Pet's Recovery
Most pets will recover quickly after their endoscopy once sedation wears off. They should be able to be released to you shortly following the procedure to go home and rest once they are awake and responsive.
Depending on what the endoscopy was for, your pet may be able to resume play and eating very quickly.
Following Your Cat or Dog's Endoscopy
If a biopsy was taken during the procedure, it can take up to a week to receive those results. At this time your vet will contact you and discuss treatment options. If the endoscopy is for discovery, your veterinarian will go over the next steps and options with you. If the procedure was to find and remove a foreign object, you and your pet should be able to resume normal activities immediately after the endoscopy and waking from anesthesia.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.