What is Veterinary Endoscopy?
Sometimes, we may hear people talk about getting “a scope”. This is the layman’s term for endoscopy. Endoscopy is the process of using a very long, flexible camera to get into places that we might not otherwise be able to see, such as the back of the throat, esophagus, stomach, small bowel and the nose. Endoscopy has been used for decades for human medicine but is still relatively new in veterinary medicine. While radiographs (“x-rays”) can show us the size and shape of organs, and ultrasound can show us a bit of the interior, only endoscopy can show us a real-time image of the inside of these organs. All three imaging types are beneficial for certain conditions, and your veterinarian can choose the best option for your pet’s health needs.
Endoscopy has a wide variety of uses in small animal medicine. These include imaging the inside of the esophagus, stomach and bowel, to look for cancer, inflammation, ulcers and other abnormalities as well as take tissue samples in cases of weight loss, vomiting, regurgitation and sometimes diarrhea. In other cases, we can use instruments passed through the scope to retrieve foreign bodies from the esophagus and stomach – things like coins, batteries, socks and other items that might have gotten eaten (but shouldn’t have!). This allows us to remove the problem with much less recovery time than surgical removal, as there are no incisions. A dog could be completely normal the next day if the object was removed via endoscopy, versus 14 days for traditional stomach surgery. Small scopes can also be passed into the nose to look for tumours or items caught in the nose that need removal.
Endoscopy is still a fairly recent addition to the field of veterinary medicine but holds lots of promise to help our patients get back to feeling great.
To learn more about the endoscopy performance and if it is the right option for your pet, please give us a call at 902.443.9385