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Endoscopy for Diagnosing & Treating Digestive Issues in Pets

An endoscopy is a medical procedure that can help veterinarians diagnose gastrointestinal issues in dogs and cats. Common symptoms that may warrant an endoscopy include vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, abdominal pain or swelling, and loss of appetite. Our veterinarians in Marina del Rey are here to provide a detailed guide to the endoscopy process for dogs and cats.

What is an endoscope?

An endoscope is a medical tool that helps veterinarians visually examine dogs' and cats' internal structures and organs. This tool consists of a long, flexible tube attached to a light and a camera at one end. This device allows veterinarians to see real-time images of the gastrointestinal tract, respiratory system, and other areas of interest in pets. Veterinarians usually insert the endoscope through either the mouth or rectum to examine the internal structures and organs of dogs and cats.

How can an endoscopy diagnose and treat digestive issues in pets?

The endoscope is a valuable tool that enables veterinarians to obtain a full-color view of the esophagus, stomach, and upper part of the small intestine or colon. This device helps veterinarians identify various conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease and abnormal swelling. Additionally, it aids in removing foreign objects like bones, sticks, rocks, toys, coins, or hairballs.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Pets with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) experience chronic gastrointestinal disorders caused by inflammation in the digestive tract. Both dogs and cats can experience symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, and poor appetite.

An endoscopy can help veterinarians see the inflamed areas and collect tissue samples for further examination. This procedure helps determine the severity of the disease and informs treatment planning, which may include dietary changes, medication, or both.

Abnormal Abdominal Swelling

Pets with abnormal abdominal swelling in their belly experience excessive enlargement or bloating of the abdomen, not due to average weight gain or pregnancy. This condition can indicate underlying health issues that require veterinary attention. Various underlying conditions, such as fluid accumulation, organ enlargement, tumors, or intestinal blockages, can cause this swelling.

An endoscopy can help by allowing a veterinarian to visually examine the internal organs and tissues of the abdomen to determine the cause of the swelling and diagnose for appropriate treatment.

Gastrointestinal Foreign Bodies

Pets are known to ingest objects that can obstruct their digestive system. These objects may include toys, bones, fabric, coins, buttons, and many others. Veterinarians can use a non-invasive endoscopy to visually locate and extract foreign objects from a pet's body. However, if the object is too large or has caused severe damage, surgery may be necessary to ensure the pet's safety and well-being.

How can I prepare for my pet's endoscopy?

You should speak with your veterinarian for specific instructions regarding endoscopy. It's important to note that different pets may have different requirements. For instance, your dog or cat may need to fast before the procedure to ensure accurate results.

Furthermore, it is advisable to discuss any allergies or medications your pet may have before the endoscopy. These allergies can cause inflammation or irritation in the gastrointestinal tract, potentially affecting the appearance and interpretation of the endoscopic results.

Will my pet need anesthesia?

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?

Since we view the organs in real time, we should immediately discern the results based on what we see. However, the final diagnosis is usually determined by studying tissue samples and biopsies. Depending on the individual circumstances, this may take up to a week.

NoteThe 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 eaten something it shouldn’t have, or is it experiencing chronic vomiting or unexplained weight loss? An endoscopy may be in order. Don't hesitate to do it immediately. Our veterinarians are available 24/7 to provide prompt and accurate diagnoses.

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