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Endoscopy in Dogs

You will likely have some questions if your dog has been scheduled for an endoscopy. What is an endoscopy? How and when is it used? How should I prepare for my dog's endoscopy? Today, our Tigard veterinarians will go over what you need to know about endoscopic examinations in dogs.

What is an endoscopy?

An endoscopy is a diagnostic exam to diagnose gastrointestinal problems like vomiting, gagging, diarrhea, weight loss, and loss of appetite. It entails inserting a flexible tube with a camera or small viewport through the mouth or rectum into the stomach or intestinal tract. We can also examine the esophagus with an endoscopic tube if need be.

An endoscopy helps diagnose strictures, abnormal cells, or tumors. It can also help find foreign objects in the intestinal tract or stomach.

What can endoscopic exams reveal?

An endoscopic exam can be very useful in detecting various illnesses and conditions, including:

  • cancer and cancerous tumors
  • ulcers
  • abscesses
  • foreign objects
  • internal trauma
  • locks

What is the endoscopic procedure like?

Endoscopy allows for a thorough examination of the esophagus, stomach, intestinal tract, and/or colon. Most dogs require only a brief period of anesthesia.

A small camera or open-ended viewpoint is inserted into a dog's stomach or intestinal tract for viewing. If a biopsy or foreign body removal is required, an additional device can be passed through the endoscope to perform the necessary procedures.

What should I do to prepare my dog for an endoscopy?

Before an endoscopy, your dog will need to be free of all foods and feces. Depending on the location of the endoscope inspection, your dog will need to fast for 12 to 18 hours to clear their system. Before the procedure, at least one enema may be required. We may need to do more depending on your dog's size and intestinal tract fullness.

How effective are endoscopies in dogs?

When inspecting for specific reasons, endoscopy is the best method of discovery and definitive diagnosis. It provides a real-time view of the tracts that need to be inspected. This allows the veterinarian to see any trouble spots. If a dog has stomach or esophageal problems, an endoscopy can provide a clear picture of the situation. An endoscopy also has the means to detect any foreign object blockage. If there are tumors, the endoscope can retrieve cells for an on-the-spot biopsy. An endoscope can also detect ulcers, which can be treated and healed with medications and dietary changes.

How long will it take my dog to recover from an endoscopy?

Most dogs recover quickly and easily from an endoscopy and can be sent home soon after to rest.

Depending on why the endoscopy was performed, your dog may be able to resume playing and eating immediately. If a biopsy was performed, however, the pathology report may take up to a week to be returned. Other than soreness, your dog should be able to wake from anesthesia and return to normal life immediately,

Can I prevent the need for my dog to have an endoscopy?

Dogs are frequently found chewing on foreign objects like rawhide, string, or bones, so keep an eye on them and only give them dog-safe toys made of digestible materials. Keep an eye on them if they are eating or swallowing anything small enough to block a passage. Further, don't let them eat anything that causes a tear as your dog swallows.

Maintain a healthy diet for your dog that changes as they grow from puppyhood to adulthood. Maintain a healthy weight, diet, and exercise daily. Contact your veterinarian if your dog experiences persistent vomiting or diarrhea.

Despite many cancer causes being unknown, leading a healthy lifestyle with your dog will improve and extend its lifespan. Cancer cell growth can be accelerated by a poor diet, insufficient exercise, and second-hand smoke.

Is your dog scheduled to undergo an endoscopy at Cascade Veterinary Referral Center? Contact our Tigard veterinarians today with any questions you may have, or to schedule an appointment.

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