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Endoscopy for Diagnosing & Treating Digestive Issues in Pets

When a dog or cat begins showing concerning symptoms related to their gastrointestinal system, they should visit the vet right away for diagnosis and treatment. Here, our Phoenix vets discuss the endoscopy procedure and explain which types of conditions it can be used to diagnose and treat. 

Endoscopy for Dogs & Cats

An endoscopy is a procedure performed with an endoscope, a flexible tube that enters your pet's stomach or colon through the mouth or rectum.

A veterinarian can use this diagnostic tool to check the insides of these organs and identify issues such as obstructions or abnormal cell tumors. It can also be used to remove foreign objects. 

How is endoscopy used to diagnose and treat conditions in cats and dogs?

Endoscopy allows for a full-color observation of the esophagus, stomach, upper small intestine, or colon. A veterinarian can diagnose conditions such as abnormal swelling or inflammatory bowel disease. They'll also usually be able to see and retrieve a foreign body such as a coin, hairball, toy, rock, bone, or stick. 

Abnormal Abdominal Swelling 

Pets with abnormal abdominal swelling experience excessive enlargement or bloating of the abdomen that cannot be attributed to pregnancy or normal weight gain. An underlying condition such as tumors, intestinal blockages, or accumulation of fluid may be the culprit. 

Endoscopy allows your veterinarian to visually examine your pet's internal organs and abdominal tissues to discover the cause of the swelling and make a diagnosis so they can effectively treat the condition. 

Inflammatory Bowel Disease 

Pets with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) experience chronic gastrointestinal disorders caused by inflammation within the digestive tract. Both cats and dogs may experience symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, poor appetite and weight loss. 

An endoscopy can help by enabling a veterinarian to see inflamed areas in your cat or dog's body and collect tissue samples for further analysis. The procedure helps determine the severity of the disease and informs treatment planning, which may include medication, changes to your pet's diet, or both. 

Gastrointestinal Foreign Bodies

Pets can eat things that can become lodged in their digestive tract. These can include items like toys, bones, fabric, coins, buttons, and a multitude of others. An endoscopy can help by allowing veterinarians to see and remove the foreign body without the need for invasive surgery.

In some cases, however, if the foreign body is too large or has caused severe damage, surgery may be necessary to ensure your pet's safety and well-being.

How can I prepare for my pet's endoscopy?

Talk to your veterinarian for specific instructions. Different pets may have different requirements. Your dog or cat may need to fast, for example, before the endoscopy to ensure accurate results.

Before the endoscopy, it’s also a good idea to discuss any medications or allergies your pet may have. These allergies can cause inflammation or irritation in the gastrointestinal tract, affecting the appearance and interpretation of endoscopic results.

Will my pet need anesthesia for endoscopy?

Yes, they will. Safely passing an endoscope into a conscious pet’s stomach or colon is almost impossible. Most pets only need short-acting anesthesia and can go home shortly after we complete the procedure.

When will I know the results of the endoscopy?

Since the organs are viewed in real time, we should immediately know the results based on what we see. However, the study of the tissue samples and biopsies usually determines the final diagnosis. Depending on the individual circumstances, this may take up to a week.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Has your pet ingested a toxic substance or a foreign body? Contact our Phoenix emergency vets right away.

New Patients Welcome

At Phoenix Veterinary Referral & Emergency Center, we are accepting new patients and referrals for our emergency and specialty services. Our team of experienced veterinarians and on-staff specialist are passionate about the health and well-being of pets in the Phoenix area. Contact us today to inquire about appointments or find out about the referral process.

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