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What is a pet endoscopy?

An endoscopy is a minimally invasive procedure used with dogs and cats to help diagnose gastrointestinal conditions, abnormal cells, tumours and some forms of cancer, including lymphoma. It provides little risk to the patient and is a less invasive and costly treatment when compared to surgical options.

The endoscopy procedure is performed under general anaesthesia and consists of inserting a small camera into the animal’s mouth. It is used primarily to evaluate the oesophagus, stomach and small intestines – referred to as an upper endoscopy. A colonoscopy evaluates an animal’s rectum.

What symptoms indicate that a pet endoscopy is required?

When a pet is experiencing various symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea and weight loss, an endoscopy procedure may be recommended by your vet in order to further investigate gastrointestinal symptoms and conditions. This can include if your vet has concerns about oesophageal or gastric foreign bodies, abscesses, ulcers and internal trauma.

In order to rule out other diseases or conditions, your pet will undergo some routine tests prior to an endoscopy procedure taking place. These tests can include a full blood test, a urine sample, a faecal examination, radiographs, and an ultrasound.

What types of pet endoscopy can be performed?

There are a variety of endoscopy procedures that can be performed depending on your pet’s symptoms, and all allow for samples to be taken. Samples are sent to a laboratory where a diagnosis can be confirmed.

  • Esophagoscopy (endoscopy of the oesophagus). This is recommended for patients with dysphasia — a condition where cats and dogs can grab food but can’t swallow and experiences symptoms like excessive salivation, anorexia and recurrent pneumonia.
  • An endoscopic examination of the stomach is indicated when the animal has signs compatible with gastric disease, such as vomiting.
  • Duodenoscopy (endoscopy of the small intestine) is indicated when diarrhoea is present and the intestines are thickened on abdominal palpation.
  • Colonoscopy. This is indicated when colon disease is suspected, such as increased frequency of defecation, small volume faces, constipation, blood and/or mucus.
  • Urinary Endoscopy is used to test an animal’s bladder and urethra to review chronic urinary tract infections, neoplasia and trauma.
    Airway endoscopy is used for upper respiratory conditions.

Endoscopy procedures at Animal Trust are available at our Failsworth surgery.

How much does a pet endoscopy cost?

Treatment cost for endoscopy is also inclusive of aesthetic/sedation, histology, cytology and culture as well as pain relief medication to go home with.

At Animal Trust, procedure costs are fixed and don’t change depending on the animal’s weight, size or breed. See our prices page for more information.

How long does it take for a pet to recover from an endoscopy?

Endoscopy in dogs and cats is treated as a day case procedure and they can usually be discharged on the same day. The drugs your pet has been given can take between 12-24 hours to leave the body so they may be sleepy between this period after their procedure.

It’s recommended that after the procedure your pet should be kept indoors for the rest of the day in a warm and quiet place as they cannot control their temperature after general anaesthesia.

You may notice that your cat or dog has a cough following the procedure, which is due to irritation caused by the endotracheal tube used in the anaesthetic and should resolve within 48 hours. If this persists, contact your veterinary surgeon for some advice.

What are the risks of a pet endoscopy?

Generally, an endoscopy procedure in dogs and cats is safe, but as with any medical procedure, there are some potential risks and complications which will vary depending on the individual animal.

Although rare, some dogs and cats may have an allergic reaction to the anaesthesia or a tear of the oesophagus, stomach or small intestine, which is known as perforation or tissue damage. There is also a risk of breathing difficulties in some animals following the procedure. Your veterinary surgeon will discuss the risks with you prior to any procedure taking place.

If you recognise any unusual symptoms in your pet or suspect they may benefit from an Endoscopic procedure, contact your local Animal Trust surgery and book a free consultation


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