Endoscopy: Gastrointestinal Exams For Dogs and Cats

At Hallett Veterinary Hospital, we utilize the most up to date equipment which allows us to offer a very high level of care to all of our patients. Endoscopy uses a tiny video camera at the end of a very narrow scope, called an endoscope that is inserted either into the stomach through the mouth or the colon via the rectum. This allows a veterinarian to view a pet's gastrointestinal tract or other areas of concern throughout his or her body. Because a gastrointestinal examination for dogs and cats is minimally invasive, it requires relatively little recovery time.

A dog or cat endoscopy allows us to view many different parts of the body. For example:

  • If a dog or cat is experiencing respiratory issues, we may perform an endoscopy to look inside of their nose and sinuses to determine if an infection is present, check for the possibility of a tumor, or see if the dog or cat has inhaled a foreign body
  • If a dog or cat is experiencing digestive issues, we may perform an endoscopy to look inside the stomach and intestinal tract to check for any foreign objects, blockages or even detect ulcers and other stomach illnesses

When and Why Your Dog or Cat Should Receive Endoscopy

An endoscopy should be performed if your dog or cat is suffering from possible gastrointestinal, respiratory or reproductive problems. Endoscopy is not a surgical procedure, but it does require the use of general anesthesia. Because of this, we will ensure the dog or cat is healthy enough to withstand anesthesia for a short period of time. In order to determine the pet's level of fitness, your veterinarian will require a thorough physical exam and possibly blood tests and x-rays.

What Problems Can Be Diagnosed With An Endoscopy?

Endoscopy for dogs and cats can be used to diagnose various illnesses, diseases, and conditions. An endoscopy can detect many ailments including:

  • Certain Forms of Cancer and Cancerous Tumors
  • Ulcers
  • Abscesses
  • Foreign Objects
  • Internal Trauma
  • Blockages

What If Abnormalities Are Found During the Endoscopy?

During an endoscopy, a veterinarian is able to view into the gastrointestinal tract for any abnormalities that might be present. If the veterinarian sees an abnormal lesion or suspicious-looking area, they can then biopsy the area in order to reach a diagnosis.

The endoscope has a tiny channel through which a biopsy instrument can be passed. Precise biopsy samples can be taken of any abnormal areas. The biopsy instrument can cut a small sample piece of tissue from the organ's lining. These tissue samples, called "pinch biopsies" are then submitted to the veterinary pathologist for microscopic evaluation. Once the pathologist completes a biological evaluation of the biopsied tissue, the full results of the gastrointestinal exam will aid our veterinarian in reaching a diagnosis.

How To Prepare Your Dog or Cat For An Endoscopy

The accuracy of an endoscopy relies on thorough preparation. It is vital that the stomach and intestinal tract are empty of all food and fecal matter prior to a gastrointestinal exam for dogs and cats. A complete twelve-hour fast is usually sufficient if the stomach is being examined. If a veterinarian is examining the colon, oral medication should be given twelve to eighteen hours before the procedure, in order to clear the intestinal tract. Fasting for twelve to eighteen hours is also necessary so that the gastrointestinal tract remains clear. On the morning of the procedure, one or more enemas may also be given if necessary. If endoscopy is necessary for your cat or dog, our veterinarian will discuss a preparation routine with you.

Will General Anesthesia Be Necessary During The Endoscopy?

General anesthesia is required to perform a gastrointestinal examination for dogs and cats. It is impossible to safely pass an endoscope into a conscious animal's stomach or colon. Most dogs and cats require only a short-acting anesthesia and are able to go home shortly after completion of the dog gastrointestinal exam.

Schedule An Appointment For Your Dog or Cat Today

If you are concerned that your dog or cat might be suffering from gastrointestinal or respiratory issues, please contact us to schedule an appointment with one of our veterinary team members today!