If your pet is being scheduled for an endoscopy, the goal is to diagnose potential diseases or conditions inside your pet's digestive tract. Our Santa Barbara vets are here to talk about this procedure in detail.
What Is An Endoscopy?
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.
What is the endoscopy procedure entail?
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.
When will I know my pet's results?
Because this procedure allows your vet to view your pet's internal structures in real-time, the results are seen immediately. This being said the diagnosis may not be determined right away because samples may have to be sent to a pathologist to examine. Depending on the circumstances, this could take up to a week.
What kinds of diseases can be diagnosed with an endoscopy?
An endoscopy gives your vet the opportunity 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.
Can cancer be diagnosed 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.
How fast will my pet recover after their endoscopy procedure?
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.
Next Steps After A Dog Or Cat 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.