Endoscopy means “looking inside” and refers to looking inside the body for medical purposes. The instrument used for this procedure is called an endoscope. Endoscopy is a minimally invasive, diagnostic, medical procedure commonly used to evaluate the interior surfaces of an organ by inserting a small tube into the body. Through the endoscope, the observer is able to see lesions of organs and other internal medical conditions.
In veterinary medicine, endoscopy is commonly used as a diagnostic procedure, for tissue and organ biopsies, to remove foreign objects (particularly in the stomach) or get an inside view of a particular part of a pet’s body. Even though anesthesia is required to keep an animal still during the endoscopic procedure, the amount of anesthesia and recovery time is minimal. Endoscopy is often indicated when routine blood and urine tests, radiographs and ultrasound do not give the complete diagnostic picture.
The endoscope is composed of a long tube (flexible or rigid), a light source, camera and viewing eyepiece. In addition to the fiber optic light source, there are two channels within the tube. One channel is for passing forceps, snares or biopsy instruments, allowing for the removal of foreign objects, collection of biopsy samples and removal of small polyps or tumors. Air or water can be passed through the other channel for better viewing of the tissue or organ.
The benefits of endoscopy over exploratory surgery include no surgical incision, shortened anesthetic time, decreased inflammation, less physiologic stress and discomfort and an earlier return to normal function. The endoscope is used to help diagnose and treat a variety of gastrointestinal and respiratory disorders. At Hudson Highlands Veterinary Medical Group, we offer both flexible and rigid endoscopy which allow our veterinarians to examine the esophagus, stomach, small and large intestine, upper and lower respiratory tract and other organs in a non-invasive manner.