Endoscopy is using an instrument to look directly deep within the body.
It can be as simple as looking up the nose, to being upwards of a metre down the oesophagus stomach and duodenum or viewing the internal workings of the trachea and bronchii of the lungs.
At Oak Tree Vet Centre we have invested in a selection of endoscopes and image processors.
Some endoscopes are thin rigid telescopes and we have a very fine Olympus instrument only 1.8mm (1/14″) in diameter but capable of looking up to 200mm (8″) into a body space. This is ideal for looking up the nose of a cat or dog.
Most, however are flexible and steerable by the vet to move the tip within the cavity being examined. Modern scopes generally feature a tiny video camera in the tip, bright light through fibrotic fibres, an air & water channel to inflate hollow organs such as the oesophagus and stomach and finally a channel through which instruments are passed, safely and easily, directly to the area of concern, for example to take biopsies or grasp foreign bodies.
We are very careful with the hygiene of our endoscopes and all of our flexible scopes are fully immersible. This means that after washing, they can be fully soaked and rinsed through with a enzymatic cleaner that digests any residual material and a biocide (disinfectant) solution to render the scope ready for the next patient. We have a dedicated airing and storage cupboard for the scopes with programmed air circulation to keep them in optimum condition and permanently ready for service. Older endoscopes, often seen in veterinary practice are not waterproof and whilst they can be washed, they cannot be soaked in the specialised solutions we use. They are no longer allowed for human work because of the risk of infection between patients and we do not have them here for the same reason.
Not surprisingly this has been a significant investment in money, training and facilities. However, every pet diagnosed or treated endoscopically and spared a visit to theatre for a big surgery brings us immense satisfaction that we have done the best for our patient.
Your pet will require a general anaesthetic before their endoscopy treatment. This ensures that they remain still and more importantly, unaware of what is happening to them. Any sort of instrument entering their body could be distressing to your pet should they be aware of what is happening.
After the procedure and once they have recovered from the anaesthetic, your pet will be back to normal and able to enjoy normal exercise.