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Endoscopy for Dogs

You will likely have some questions if your dog has been scheduled for an endoscopy. What is an endoscopy? How and when is it used? How should I prepare for my dog's endoscopy? Today, our Seattle veterinarians will go over what you need to know about endoscopic examinations in dogs.

What is an endoscopy?

An endoscopy is a diagnostic exam to diagnose gastrointestinal problems like vomiting, gagging, diarrhea, weight loss, and loss of appetite. It entails inserting a flexible tube with a camera or small viewport through the mouth or rectum into the stomach or intestinal tract. We can also examine the esophagus with an endoscopic tube if need be.

An endoscopy helps diagnose strictures, abnormal cells, or tumors. It can also help find foreign objects in the intestinal tract or stomach.

What can endoscopic exams reveal?

An endoscopic exam can be very useful in detecting various illnesses and conditions, including:

  • cancer and cancerous tumors
  • ulcers
  • abscesses
  • foreign objects
  • internal trauma
  • locks

What is the endoscopic procedure like?

Endoscopy allows for a thorough examination of the esophagus, stomach, intestinal tract, and/or colon. Most dogs require only a brief period of anesthesia.

A small camera or open-ended viewpoint is inserted into a dog's stomach or intestinal tract for viewing. If a biopsy or foreign body removal is required, an additional device can be passed through the endoscope to perform the necessary procedures.

What should I do to prepare my dog for an endoscopy?

Before an endoscopy, your dog will need to be free of all foods and feces. Depending on the location of the endoscope inspection, your dog will need to fast for 12 to 18 hours to clear their system. Before the procedure, at least one enema may be required. We may need to do more depending on your dog's size and intestinal tract fullness.

How long does an endoscopy for a dog take?

The duration of endoscopies for dogs can vary depending on the specific procedure being performed and the condition of the dog. On average, an endoscopy can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour. However, more complex cases or additional diagnostic procedures may extend the time it takes. 

How effective are endoscopies in dogs?

When inspecting for specific reasons, endoscopy is the best method of discovery and definitive diagnosis. It provides a real-time view of the tracts that need to be inspected. This allows the veterinarian to see any trouble spots. If a dog has stomach or esophageal problems, an endoscopy can provide a clear picture of the situation. An endoscopy also has the means to detect any foreign object blockage. If there are tumors, the endoscope can retrieve cells for an on-the-spot biopsy. An endoscope can also detect ulcers, which can be treated and healed with medications and dietary changes.

Are there side effects to an endoscopy for a dog?

Endoscopies in dogs are generally safe procedures, but like any medical intervention, there can be potential side-effects. These may include temporary discomfort or irritation at the site of the endoscopy, minimal bleeding, or a rare risk of infection. 

How much is an endoscopy for dogs?

The cost of an endoscopy for dogs can vary depending on several factors, such as the veterinary clinic where it’s performed and the specific reason for the procedure. It is recommended to consult with a veterinarian to get a more accurate estimate based on your dog's individual needs. 

How long will it take my dog to recover from an endoscopy?

Most dogs recover quickly and easily from an endoscopy and can be sent home soon after to rest.

Depending on why the endoscopy was performed, your dog may be able to resume playing and eating immediately. If a biopsy was performed, however, the pathology report may take up to a week to be returned. Other than soreness, your dog should be able to wake from anesthesia and return to normal life immediately,

Can I prevent the need for my dog to have an endoscopy?

Dogs are frequently found chewing on foreign objects like rawhide, string, or bones, so keep an eye on them and only give them dog-safe toys made of digestible materials. Keep an eye on them if they are eating or swallowing anything small enough to block a passage. Further, don't let them eat anything that causes a tear as your dog swallows.

Maintain a healthy diet for your dog that changes as they grow from puppyhood to adulthood. Maintain a healthy weight, diet, and exercise daily. Contact your veterinarian if your dog experiences persistent vomiting or diarrhea.

Despite many cancer causes being unknown, leading a healthy lifestyle with your dog will improve and extend its lifespan. Cancer cell growth can be accelerated by a poor diet, insufficient exercise, and second-hand smoke.

Note: This post is for informational purposes only. Aurora Veterinary Hospital does not offer endoscopies at this time.

Is your dog scheduled to undergo an endoscopy at Aurora Veterinary Hospital? Contact our Seattle veterinarians today with any questions you may have, or to schedule an appointment.

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