We have both rigid and flexible endoscopes. A flexible scope is basically a very long flexible video camera which can be passed into the digestive tract from the mouth or rectum or into the windpipe and lungs. A rigid endoscope is used to examine shorter areas such as the nose, ears and throat and bladder of a female dog.
An endoscopic examination is for very specific body areas and conditions so although not performed a daily basis the endoscope is an invaluable tool. Not only can we see what is happening in the organ such as an ulcerated stomach or growths, but we can also pass biopsy instrumentation through the endoscopy and take small tissue samples to assist with our diagnosis. Special grabbing and basket forceps also allow us to remove smaller swallowed or inhaled objects without resorting to surgery.
The endoscope is also commonly used to give a definitive diagnosis in the case of dogs with Spirocerca Lupi in the oesophagus and to see how far this disease has progressed.
The procedure is minimally invasive, but dogs and cats do require a full anaesthetic.