Veterinary Endoscopy

Veterinary Endoscopy at Natchez Trace Veterinary Services in Nashville, TN

Why Veterinary Endoscopy?

Veterinary endoscopy provides a simple, safe, non-invasive way to visually examine your pet’s gastrointestinal system.

It is a safe and reliable procedure for diagnosing and treating a variety of diseases in animals. This minimally invasive technique uses an endoscope, a thin, flexible tube with a camera at its tip, to look inside the body. The procedure does not require surgery and offers a number of advantages over traditional methods of diagnosis and treatment.

With endoscopy, an accurate diagnosis and specific treatment of oral, esophageal, stomach, and colon disease can be achieved. Sometimes, an endoscopy allows for the removal of foreign objects without the need for surgery.

Above all though, endoscopy is best at diagnosing dogs with chronic GI disorders such as chronic vomiting, chronic diarrhea, ulcers, and more.


Anesthesia is Mandatory

Just so you know, the procedure is quite simple; however, anesthesia is mandatory for a proper endoscopic evaluation.

After placing your pet under sedation or general anesthesia, a flexible endoscope (about the diameter of your ring finger) is inserted into the cavity being visualized.

Abnormalities such as tumors, polyps, inflamed tissue, and bleeding can be visualized.

Sometimes, it is necessary to insufflate or inject air into the cavity being examined.

Inflating the cavity allows for a more thorough and detailed examination.

The time it takes to perform the exam is roughly 15-20 minutes and before any endoscopic procedure, pets must fast for a minimum of 24 hours.

Diseases Diagnosed Via Endoscopy

Veterinary endoscopy can be used to diagnose and treat a wide range of conditions, from intestinal obstructions to bladder stones.

  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Colitis
  • Esophageal Strictures
  • Foreign Body Removal
  • Tumors
  • Gastric Ulcers


The procedure is minimally invasive, so there is no need for a long recovery time or large incisions. It can be done quickly and safely in a veterinary clinic or hospital.

Veterinary Endoscopy FAQs

1. Are there risks associated with veterinary endoscopy?

Veterinary endoscopy is a safe procedure. The risk associated with veterinary endoscopy is minimal.

The procedure itself is very safe and does not carry any significant risk of complications.

The only risk factor is the anesthesia or sedation necessary to perform the procedure.

Animals may experience side effects from anesthesia, such as low blood pressure, slowed breathing, and vomiting.

However, these risks are usually minor and can be managed with proper monitoring and medical intervention.

2. When might my pet need a veterinary endoscopy?

A veterinary endoscopy becomes necessary when your pet experiences persistent symptoms such as prolonged vomiting, chronic diarrhea, unexplained weight loss, or excessive salivation. These symptoms might indicate underlying issues within the gastrointestinal tract that require investigation.

Endoscopy stands out as a valuable diagnostic tool due to its efficiency and precision. It’s a relatively quick, simple, and direct procedure. This method often proves particularly beneficial in scenarios where there’s a suspicion of foreign body ingestion or other gastrointestinal complications. By using an endoscope—a flexible tube with a camera and light—we can visually examine the internal organs, allowing for a detailed assessment without the need for invasive surgery.

One of the significant advantages of endoscopy lies in its ability to provide clear insights into the condition of the gastrointestinal system. In cases involving foreign object ingestion, for instance, the endoscope can locate and sometimes even remove the object without the necessity of a more invasive surgical intervention.

Ultimately, veterinary endoscopy serves as a crucial diagnostic technique, offering a non-invasive means to explore and understand the underlying causes behind your pet’s gastrointestinal issues. Its effectiveness in pinpointing problems within the digestive tract often makes it a preferred initial step in diagnosis, potentially eliminating the need for more invasive procedures and expediting the treatment process.

3. Does my pet need to fast before a veterinary endoscopy?

Yes, your pet will need to fast 24 hours before a veterinary endoscopy.

Fasting before a veterinary endoscopy is typically recommended for several reasons, aimed at ensuring the safety and success of the procedure:

  • Reducing the Risk of Complications: Fasting helps reduce the risk of complications during the endoscopy. When a pet hasn’t eaten for some time, their stomach is less likely to contain food or fluids that could obstruct the endoscope’s view or cause regurgitation during the procedure.
  • Clearer Imaging and Better Visualization: A fasted state means the gastrointestinal tract is emptier. This allows for better visualization of the internal organs, as there’s less interference from food particles or undigested material.
  • Minimizing the Risk of Aspiration: Aspiration occurs when stomach contents reflux into the lungs, which can lead to respiratory issues. Fasting decreases the likelihood of regurgitation and aspiration during the procedure, reducing potential risks to your pet’s respiratory system.
  • Safer Administration of Anesthesia: Anesthesia is often used during endoscopic procedures to keep pets still and comfortable. Fasting helps prevent complications associated with anesthesia, such as vomiting while under sedation, which could lead to aspiration pneumonia.
  • Accurate Diagnostic Results: By fasting, we ensure a clearer view of the gastrointestinal tract. This aids in accurate diagnosis by allowing us to identify any abnormalities, lesions, or issues within the digestive system more effectively.


It’s important to follow our instructions regarding fasting duration and guidelines specific to your pet’s health condition. We will provide detailed instructions tailored to your pet’s needs, including when to withhold food and water and any other pre-procedure preparations.

4. Do you offer veterinary endoscopy at your clinic?

At our veterinary facility, we’re equipped with an in-house veterinary endoscope, allowing us to promptly and effectively conduct diagnostic examinations for your pet’s gastrointestinal health.

The procedure itself is relatively quick, typically taking approximately 15 to 20 minutes to complete.

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