Pet Essentials: An Introduction To Veterinary Endoscopy


Luckily for us, medical technology has advanced to the stage where certain procedures no longer require us to go under the knife. One of which is endoscopy, a technique used for examining the internal organs and body parts without the need for invasive exploratory surgery. The idea was first initiated in the early 1800s, but it wasn’t till the late 1800s that optical lenses were developed; thus, making endoscopy possible.

What Vet Endoscopy Entails

Endoscopy is a technique used to perform medical procedures through the orifices or tiny incisions. Vet or otherwise, endoscopy utilises a fiberoptic instrument that consists of a long flexible insertion tube that has an eyepiece and a control section. Its bendable tip can be easily manipulated using the control knob in the handpiece.

Apart from containing fibre bundles that can produce light, the endoscope has 2 other channels. One allows other tools to enter the body to take samples or suction body fluids out. Another enables the insufflation of the stomach or intestine and washing away any mucus from the viewing port.

Seeing as to how medical endoscopy allows for a visual examination of the body, video cameras are also a necessity. These cameras are attached to the endoscopes, allowing the doctors and veterinarians to view and record the process in real-time. That said, it is worth to note that some areas are not accessible if a rigid endoscope is used, as it has no bending tip. Thus, areas such as the stomach cannot be fully examined if a flexible endoscopic tool is not used.

Applications Of Veterinary Endoscopy

There are myriad applications of veterinary endoscopy, some of which are very common. Have a look at some of these procedures that you may need to consider for your pet.

Bronchoscopy: an endoscopic procedure that identifies any structural abnormalities in the airways and in the lungs. It’s also used to gather samples of secretions, the identification and removal of foreign bodies and biopsy lesions.

Gastrointestinal Endoscopy: as the name suggests, the main areas that are given attention to are the stomach and intestines. It is commonly used to obtain biopsies and the effective removal of foreign bodies.

Laparoscopic-Assisted Gastropexy: serves as a preventive surgery that can be performed laparoscopically on at-risk dogs to prevent the twisting of the stomach. The stomach is usually sutured to the abdominal wall to prevent the twisting of the stomach, but for some dogs, the excess gas or fluid content can overstretch and rotate the organ. This is a life-threatening condition, so be sure to head down to your nearest emergency vet clinic if your dog shows signs that allude to gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV).

Laparoscopic Spay: poses as a neutering technique for both female dogs and cats. As opposed to a large incision, 1-3 small incisions are made in the abdomen to carefully cut and cauterised the ovarian ligament.

Otoscopy: one of the most common veterinary endoscopy procedures, the areas of interest are the external and middle ear. With this procedure, safe and thorough ear cleaning is possible. On top of that, it allows for the removal of foreign objects, diagnostic sampling and polyp removal.

Considerations To Take Note Of

Endoscopic procedures will require your pet to be under anaesthesia to ensure minimal movement. Since the procedures are performed with small incisions, discomfort levels and complications are minimized for your pet to enjoy a faster recovery. Endoscopy is generally a low-risk procedure that is both safe and cost-effective.

With that said, do check with your vet on less invasive surgical options.

Unlike us humans, our pets do not have the agency to make the necessary decisions to safeguard their health. That responsibility falls solely on our shoulders as pet owners. Whether it’d be examinations, treatments or surgeries, you’d want them to be as comfortable as possible. So start by heading to your veterinarian and take note of your options. They’d be able to give you expert advice and even pet care tips so that you can make the right decision for your pet.

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