Endoscopy is a minimally invasive medical technique that requires the use of special cameras inserted into the body via incisions to study and evaluate the internal organs. While typically used as an effective exploratory or diagnostic tool, endoscopy may also be used therapeutically to remove foreign objects, place feedings tubes or clear strictures. Therapeutic use of endoscopy is often referred to as interventional endoscopy. At MaxPetZ, we are optimally equipped to utilise endoscopy both as a diagnostic aid as well as a therapeutic tool.
Endoscopic examination of your pet may be required if he or she has a foreign object in the oesophagus or an abnormal narrowing of any part of the respiratory or digestive tract. Continuous vomiting, with or without the presence of blood or blood in faeces may be symptomatic of an ulcer or tumour in the stomach which can be further studied through endoscopy. Fluid samples from the intestine for testing or biopsy can also be collected via endoscopy.
Endoscopy is used primarily to examine the respiratory tract, upper and lower gastrointestinal tract, urinary and genital tract. Based on the specific organ or area being examined, either a rigid or flexible endoscope may be used. At MaxPetZ we use both types of endoscopes frequently to ensure the best possible outcomes.
As the name suggests, a flexible endoscope has a flexible insertion tube with a bending tip at the end which enters the body. It can be controlled and can bend around structures. Typically flexible endoscopes are used in examination of the lower airways (bronchoscopy), the transverse colon, ascending colon, caecum, large bowel and rectum (colonoscopy) and the oesophagus, stomach and upper intestines.
The rigid endoscope has a tip that cannot bend and therefore cannot be used in areas like the stomach and intestines. Rigid endoscopes are used for arthroscopy, which is the examination of soft tissue structures and joint cartilage and cystoscopy, the study of the vagina, urethral opening, urethra, bladder and ureteral opening. Finally, rhinoscopy or the study of the nasal cavity and nasopharynx and thoracoscopy, the examination of the chest cavity, may also be carried out with a rigid endoscope.
While the advantages of endoscopy outweighs its disadvantages, care must be taken to avoid any tearing during the procedure. Further, pre-procedural testing and blood work is crucial to determine the overall health of the pet and to ensure that they are healthy enough to withstand the anaesthesia required for endoscopy.