What is Endoscopy?
Endoscopy is a safe, minimally invasive procedure used to evaluate the interior surfaces of an organ. Through the scope, we are able to see lesions, take small biopsies and retrieve some foreign objects.
If we feel your pet may have an intestinal problem, we may recommend a procedure called endoscopy. During this procedure your pet is placed under anesthesia and a small fiberoptic camera is passed down the esophagus, into the stomach and into a portion of the small intestine (gastroduodenoscopy).
With this camera we are able to visualize the surface of these organs and look for abnormalities. We are also able to obtain biopsies of these areas. These biopsies are sent to a pathologist for evaluation to determine if there is an underlying intestinal problem.
If your doctor feels that your pet is showing symptoms of a problem in the large intestine, they may recommend colonoscopy. This procedure is similar to the gastroduodenoscopy but the endoscope is used to examine the colon.
Endoscopic procedures are painless and are usually only associated with mild discomfort. Depending on how your pet does during anesthesia or how late in the day the procedure occurs, your pet may need to stay in the hospital overnight.
Typically, we receive biopsy results within 2-4 days. At that time, we will discuss the diagnosis and treatment options.
Complications are rare but may include perforation of the stomach or intestine with the endoscope or biopsy instrument. If this occurs, surgery is required to repair the defect.
Endoscopic equipment can also be used to visualize and collect specimens from the lower respiratory tract (bronchoscopy), the nose (rhinoscopy) or the urinary tract (cystoscopy).
Although these procedures are easier on the patient than surgery, the trade-off is that the biopsy samples are smaller. In some instances, your doctor may feel there is more going on than the biopsies revealed and suggest further diagnostics. Rest assured that your specialist will assist you in the selection of diagnostics that will maximize the chances of obtaining a correct diagnosis with minimum risk to your pet.
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