Gastrointestinal Endoscopy in Dogs

A gastrointestinal endoscopy is an analysis that is necessary to diagnose certain medical conditions. The test is performed under anesthesia and won't be painful for the dog. However, you will have to prepare your dog for the procedure.

When Is a Gastrointestinal Endoscopy Needed

A gastrointestinal endoscopy may be needed when the dog displays symptoms such as:

  • Chronic diarrhea or vomiting
  • Blood or mucus in the stool or vomit
  • Constipation

The test is necessary to establish what may be causing these symptoms and will provide the vet with an image of the interior of the dog's body, with the exception of the small intestine. The endoscope is a tube that will be introduced in the dog's stomach or his colon. In some cases, the test will also allow the vet to view portions of the inside of the small intestine, depending on the size of the tube and the size of the dog. The tube will contain a small camera, which will allow the vet to identify the potential problem.

Possible Conditions Discovered

After a gastrointestinal endoscopy, the vet may have a clearer opinion on the disease that affects your pet. Some possible conditions that require gastrointestinal endoscopy include:

  • Ulcers in the stomach or esophagus
  • The ingestion of foreign objects
  • Tumors
  • Polyps

In addition, the gastrointestinal endoscopy may help if a biopsy is needed. The endoscope will be used to retrieve a small cell sample from a tumor or growth that is located in the dog's gastrointestinal tract. The results will be available immediately, and the vet can inform you if there are any abnormalities. However, if a biopsy is performed, you may only see results at a later date, after the sample tissues are examined.

How to Prepare for Endoscopy

To have a successful gastrointestinal endoscopy, you will have to prepare. The dog needs to fast for 12 to 24 hours, to make sure that there are no traces of food which may affect the outcome of the test, or can be mistaken for abnormal growths. The dog shouldn't drink water, but you may administer a few water drops, if he needs it.

If the endoscope is introduced in the colon, the dog will need to get some medication 24 hours prior to the test, so that he will eliminate all feces before the endoscopy.

The Anesthesia

Anesthesia is required for a gastrointestinal endoscopy, because the procedure may cause discomfort and dogs are unlikely to be cooperative during such as test. In addition, if the dog doesn't sit still, he may damage the equipment used, which is quite pricey. The anesthetic will be administered approximately 15 to 30 minutes prior to the test and may be effective for a number of hours after the gastrointestinal endoscopy. If your pet has a medical problem or a heart condition, inform the vet, because anesthesia may not be recommended. Vets will prefer general anesthesia for a gastrointestinal endoscopy.