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Dog Endoscopy: Gastrointestinal Exams For Dogs

At Metairie Small Animal Hospital, we utilize the most up to date equipment which allows us to offer a very high level of care to all of our patients. Canine endoscopy uses a tiny video camera at the end of a very narrow scope, called an endoscope that is inserted either into the stomach through the mouth or the colon via the rectum. This allows a veterinarian to view a dog's gastrointestinal tract, or other areas of concern throughout his or her body. Because a gastrointestinal examination for dogs is minimally invasive, it requires relatively little recovery time.

A canine endoscopy allows us to view many different parts of a dog's body. For example:

  • If a dog is experiencing respiratory issues, we may perform a canine endoscopy to look inside of their nose and sinuses to determine if an infection is present, check for the possibility of a tumor, or see if the dog has inhaled a foreign body
  • If a dog is experiencing digestive issues, we may perform a canine endoscopy to look inside the stomach and intestinal tract to check for any foreign objects, blockages or even detect ulcers and other stomach illnesses

When and why should your dog receive an endoscopy

A dog endoscopy should be performed if your dog is suffering from possible gastrointestinal, respiratory or reproductive problems. Endoscopy is not a surgical procedure, but it does require the use of general anesthesia. Because of this, we will ensure the dog is healthy enough to withstand anesthesia for a short period of time. In order to determine the dog's level of fitness, your veterinarian will require a thorough physical exam and possibly blood tests and x-rays.

What problems can be diagnosed with a dog endoscopy?

Endoscopy for dogs can be used to diagnose various illnesses, diseases and conditions. A dog endoscopy can detect many ailments including:

  • Certain Forms of Cancer and Cancerous Tumors
  • Ulcers
  • Abscesses
  • Foreign Objects
  • Internal Trauma
  • Blockages
  • Strictures

What if abnormalities are found during the dog's endoscopy?

During an endoscopy a veterinarian is able to view into the gastrointestinal tract for any abnormalities that might be present. If the veterinarian sees an abnormal lesion or suspicious looking area, they can then biopsy the area in order to reach a diagnosis.

The endoscope has a tiny channel through which a biopsy instrument can be passed. Precise biopsy samples can be taken of any abnormal areas. The biopsy instrument can cut a small sample piece of tissue from the organ's lining. These tissue samples, called "pinch biopsies" are then submitted to the veterinary pathologist for microscopic evaluation. Once the pathologist completes a biological evaluation of the biopsied tissue, the full results of the gastrointestinal exam will aid our veterinarian in reaching a diagnosis.

How to prepare your dog for an endoscopy

The accuracy of a dog endoscopy relies on thorough preparation. It is vital that the stomach and intestinal tract are empty of all food and fecal matter prior to a gastrointestinal exam for dogs. A complete twelve-hour fast is usually sufficient if the stomach is being examined. If a veterinarian is examining the colon, oral medication should be given twelve to eighteen hours before the procedure, in order to clear the intestinal tract. Fasting for twelve to eighteen hours is also necessary so that the gastrointestinal tract remains clear. On the morning of the procedure, one or more enemas may also be given if necessary. If an endoscopy is necessary for your dog, our veterinarian will discuss a preparation routine with you.

Will general anesthesia be necessary during the endoscopy?

General anesthesia is required to perform a gastrointestinal examination for dogs. It is impossible to safely pass an endoscope into a conscious dog's stomach or colon. Most dogs require only a short period of anesthesia, and are able to go home shortly after completion of the dog's gastrointestinal exam.

Scheduling an endoscopy for your dog

Please contact us to learn more or to schedule your canine endoscopy appointment with one of our veterinary team members today!

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