Your furry companion has been scheduled for an endoscopic examination. This procedure aims to aid the veterinarian in diagnosing the underlying disease responsible for your pet's symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, abdominal pain or swelling, or loss of appetite. Our vets at South Wilton will review all the endoscopy specifics today.
What is an endoscope?
Have you heard of an endoscope? It's a flexible tube that has a viewing port and a video camera attachment. It's designed to be inserted into the stomach or colon through the mouth or rectum. This way, doctors can examine the insides of these organs thoroughly. Endoscopy is an effective tool for diagnosing strictures, abnormal cells, and tumors, and for removing foreign objects.
What is the endoscopy procedure like?
Prior to gastrointestinal endoscopy, your pet must have an empty stomach and bowel. Depending on the area being inspected internally, your pet may have to fast for 12 to 18 hours to clear its system. Before the procedure, administering at least one enema may be necessary.
For a comprehensive examination of the esophagus, stomach, intestinal tract, and/or colon, your pet will be given sedation throughout the procedure. The endoscope will be inserted through either the mouth or the rectum into your pet's stomach or intestinal tract and guided to visualize the necessary area.
If a biopsy or removal of a foreign object is needed, an additional tool can be passed through the endoscope to perform the required procedures.
When can I know the results?
Because the organs are viewed in real-time, the outcome of what is seen is immediately known. However, the pathologist's examination of the biopsies usually determines the final diagnosis. Depending on the circumstances, this could take up to a week.
What kinds of diseases can be diagnosed with an endoscopy?
With the use of an endoscope, one can view the esophagus, stomach, and upper portion of the small intestine or colon in vivid colors. By performing an examination, potential abnormalities such as inflammation, unusual swelling, scarring, and constrictions can be identified. Furthermore, a biopsy tool can be used to remove precise tissue samples from any abnormal areas of the organ's lining.
Can cancer be diagnosed with an endoscopy?
Your veterinarian can often diagnose gastrointestinal tract cancer using an endoscope. However, some tumors may not affect the mucosa or inner lining of the stomach or colon, leading to normal biopsy results despite ongoing clinical signs. In such cases, additional measures such as biopsies obtained through exploratory surgery (exploratory laparotomy) or non-invasive tests like an MRI may be necessary.
How fast will my pet recover from an endoscopy?
After an endoscopy, most pets recover quickly and with ease. Once the procedure is completed, your pet will be released shortly after. Your furry friend should be able to go home and rest after waking up and receiving proper care.
Depending on the purpose of the endoscopy, your pet may be able to resume playing and eating soon after. However, if the endoscopy leads to a biopsy, the pathology report may take up to a week.
In case the endoscopy is for discovery, your veterinarian will discuss the next steps and options with you. If the procedure aimed to remove a foreign object, you and your pet should be able to resume normal activities immediately following the endoscopy and waking up from anesthesia.