Endoscopies for Dogs & Cats
An endoscope is a flexible tube with a viewing port and/or a video camera attachment. It is inserted through the mouth into the stomach, or inserted in the rectum into the colon. The endoscope allows veterinarians to examine the insides of these hollow organs.
An endoscopy for dogs and cats is a diagnostic test that will aid in the diagnosis of strictures, abnormal cells, or tumors, as well as the removal of any foreign objects that may be present.
The Endoscopy Process
Before a gastrointestinal endoscopy, your pet will need to be free of all foods and feces. Depending on the internal location of the endoscope inspection, your pet will need to fast for 12 to 18 hours to clear its system. Before the procedure, at least one enema may be required.
Because an endoscopy allows for quite a thorough examination of the esophagus, stomach, intestinal tract, and colon, your dog or cat will need to be sedated. A veterinarian will insert the endoscope through the mouth or the rectum into your pet's stomach or intestinal tract and advance it to see the required area.
If a biopsy or foreign body removal is required, an additional device can be passed through the endoscope to perform other procedures as needed.
Diseases That Endoscopies Can Diagnose
An endoscopy lets your veterinarian view your pet's esophagus, stomach, and upper portion of the small intestine or colon. The veterinarian can spot abnormalities like inflammation, abnormal swelling, scarring, and strictures (abnormal narrowing). 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 attached to the endoscope.
Diagnosing Cancer With an Endoscopy
Your veterinarian can likely diagnose cancer of the gastrointestinal tract using an endoscopy. Some tumors, it should be noted, 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 fast after their endoscopy once sedation wears off. Your veterinarian should release them 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 your veterinarian took a biopsy during the procedure, it can take up to a week to receive the results. When the results are in, your veterinarian will contact you and discuss treatment options if the test cam back positive.
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 once your pet awakens from general anesthesia.
Note: This post is for informational purposes only. Des Moines Veterinary Hospital does not offer endoscopies at this time.