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Endoscopy for Diagnosing & Treating Digestive Issues in Pets

If your pet is being scheduled for an endoscopy, the goal is to diagnose potential diseases or conditions inside your pet's digestive tract. Here, our Bellevue vets discuss the endoscopy procedure and how it can help detect issues in your pet's digestive tract.

Endoscopies for Pets

An endoscope is a flexible tube with a viewing port and/or a video camera attachment that is inserted through the mouth into the stomach or the rectum into the colon. The endoscope allows for the examination of the insides of these hollow organs.

An endoscopy 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 Procedure 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 a thorough examination of the esophagus, stomach, intestinal tract, and/or colon, your pet will be sedated throughout the procedure. The endoscope will be inserted through the mouth or the rectum into your pet's stomach or intestinal tract and advanced to visualize 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 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. The viewer can spot abnormalities such as 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.

Diagnosing Cancer With an Endoscopy

In many cases, your veterinarian can diagnose cancer of the gastrointestinal tract using the endoscope. 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.

Does your cat or dog have an upcoming endoscopy? Contact our Bellevue vets for help preparing your pet.

New Patients Welcome

At Aerowood Animal Hospital, we are always accepting new patients. Our experienced veterinary team is passionate about the health of companion animals in the Bellevue area and can't wait to welcome you and your pet to our veterinary family.

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