An endoscope is a flexible tube with a video camera attachment that is useful for full colour and magnified viewing and examination of the airways, esophagus, stomach, distal small intestines and much of the colon. It is a method of non-invasive inspection of these hollow organs, often avoiding the need for surgery in order to obtain a diagnosis. Abnormalities such as inflammation, abnormal swelling, areas of scarring or stricture (abnormal narrowing) can be examined. If a foreign body such as a bone, stick, rock, toy, coin, or hairball is seen in the stomach, it can often be seen and retrieved.
While seeing an abnormal lesion or suspicious area gives us valuable information, it is usually necessary to biopsy the area in order to reach a diagnosis. The endoscope has a tiny channel through which a biopsy instrument can be passed. Precise biopsy samples can be taken of any abnormal areas. These samples consist of tiny “bites” or pieces of tissue cut from the lining of the organ by the biopsy instrument. These tissue samples are then submitted to a veterinary pathologist for microscopic evaluation. Endoscopy is a much less invasive option to surgery requiring no incisions and reducing post-operative recovery.
This type of equipment is not routinely available in a general veterinary practice; most other practices have to refer to a specialty facility for this procedure. We are very proud to have the ability to offer this less invasive option is unique to Burnhamthorpe Animal Hospital.
This equipment is also a unique feature of our practice and also not available in most general practices. It allows helps us to explore other areas of the abdomen and obtain biopsies of organs such as the liver, pancreas, and bladder in a non-invasive way, thereby reducing patient discomfort and improving recovery.