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Endoscopy for Cats & Dogs

Your pet has been scheduled for an endoscopic examination. The goal of this procedure is to assist your veterinarian in making a diagnosis of the disease causing your pet's clinical signs of vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, abdominal pain or swelling, or loss of appetite. Today, our Tigard vets go into more detail on endoscopies.

What is an endoscope?

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 like?

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 can I know the results?

Because the organs are viewed in real-time, the outcome of what is seen is immediately known. However, the final diagnosis is usually determined by the pathologist's examination of the biopsies. Depending on the circumstances, this could take up to a week.

What kinds of diseases can be diagnosed with an endoscopy?

An endoscope allows you to see the esophagus, stomach, and upper part of the small intestine or colon in full color. The examiner can detect 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 from an endoscopy?

Most pets recover quickly and easily following an endoscopy. Your pet should be released shortly after the procedure. Your pet should be able to go home for rest once he is awake and responding to care.

Depending on what the endoscopy was for, your pet may be able to resume play and eating very quickly. If the endoscopy results in a biopsy, it may take up to a week for the pathology report. 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.

Are you curious about your dog's upcoming endoscopic examination? Contact our Tigard vets with any questions you might have. We'd be happy to answer them for you.

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Cascade Veterinary Referral Center is accepting new patients! Get in touch with us today for information on how to book a specialty appointment for your pet. 

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