Endoscopy is another state of the art diagnostic tool gaining popularity in veterinary medicine. Using sophisticated and specialized video cameras we are able to actually see inside our patient’s ear, nose, throat, airways, esophagus, stomach and large intestine!
Flexible endoscopy, as the name suggests, uses a flexible tube like structure with a camera in it to look in the throat and down into the airways and stomach. It is extremely valuable for diagnosing foreign bodies in the intestinal or respiratory tract, getting samples of cells and fluids for analysis (to check for things like inflammation, parasites, infection) and to get biopsy samples to send to a pathologist. It also comes in very handy when Fido has swallowed a sock or a bottle cap! Sometimes we can simply take a look in the stomach, grasp a hold of the object and pull it back out….thus avoiding painful and expensive surgery to remove it.
Rigid endoscopy uses a stiff metal tube like structure with a camera in it. Shorter and smaller diameter than a flexible endoscope, a rigid scope is used to look deep into ears, noses and even the bladder. It is also used in Laparoscopy where a tiny incision is made into the abdomen and the scope is inserted to look at the internal organs and perform surgical procedures such as removing the ovaries or getting samples for biopsy. This is a picture of Opal. When she became ill with liver disease, we were able to use rigid endoscopy to get liver biopsies (and a diagnosis of hepatic lipidosis or fatty liver) and to place a stomach tube for feeding her until she had recovered enough to eat on her own.
We also use rigid endoscopy when performing laparoscopic ovariectomies in dogs. Please see more in our Lap Spay section.