Endoscopy for Diagnosing & Treating Digestive Issues in Pets

If your pet needs an endoscopy, our veterinarians in O’Fallon are here to explain when and why this procedure is done. It helps us find and treat issues in your pet's digestive system. 

What Is an Endoscopy?

An endoscope is a medical procedure that uses a flexible tube with a viewing port and/or video camera attachment that is inserted through the mouth into the stomach or through the rectum into the colon. It helps doctors see the inside of these hollow organs.

An endoscopy will aid in diagnosing strictures, abnormal cells, or tumors, as well as removing any foreign objects that may be present.

The Endoscopy Procedure

Before your pet undergoes a  gastrointestinal endoscopy, they must not eat or have any feces in their system. 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 provides a detailed view of the esophagus, stomach, intestines, or colon, your pet will be given sedation during 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

Endoscopy lets your vet examine your pet's esophagus, stomach, and upper part of the small intestine or colon. It helps identify issues like information, unusual swelling, scarring, and 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

Your veterinarian can often diagnose gastrointestinal tract cancer using the endoscope. Some tumors, however, do not affect the stomach or colon's mucosa or inner lining. The biopsy results are normal in these cases, 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

After your pet's endoscopy, they will wake up from sedation and should recover quickly. Once they are aware and responsible, they can be released to go home and rest. 

Depending on what the endoscopy was for, your pet may be able to resume play and eating very quickly.

Following Your Pet's Endoscopy

If a biopsy was done, it might take about a week to get the results. Your vet will contact you then to discuss treatment options. If the endoscopy was for diagnosis, your vet will talk to you about the next steps and options. 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.

Is your cat or dog experiencing a medical emergency? Contact our O’Fallon vets right away.