An endoscope is a long, flexible tube with a small camera at the tip, which allows us to visualize your pet’s digestive tract as well as diagnose and treat a variety of conditions. Because of the flexibility of the tube, and the usage of fiberoptics, a doctor is able to guide the scope and visualize the lining of the stomach or intestines. The endoscope has a channel that allows the passage of specially made instruments, some that are used for obtaining biopsies of the gastrointestinal tract, and some that are used for removing foreign bodies from the stomach or esophagus.
There is a tremendous benefit to be able to remove foreign bodies from the stomach with endoscopy versus invasive exploratory surgery that involves making an incision into the stomach. Using endoscopy, we have removed a variety of foreign bodies from our patient’s stomach including coins, fish hooks, string, sewing needles and small toys.
The endoscope is also used extensively for biopsies in chronic vomiting cases. Chronic vomiting and/ or diarrhea in dogs and cats is sometimes caused by Inflammatory bowel disease. A visual inspection of the digestive tract with endoscopy helps allow the doctor to rule out different causes of vomiting and diarrhea as well as take biopsies to rule out cancer and inflammatory bowel disease.