Endoscopy: What It Is, Why Some Pets Need It

The Pros and Cons of Endoscopy

Compared with other methods of obtaining GI biopsies, endoscopy is less invasive and relatively quick to perform, so the patient can usually be discharged a few hours after the procedure. The procedure generally doesn't require an overnight stay in the hospital.

With endoscopic biopsies, there is no abdominal incision. Other methods, such as surgery, require an abdominal incision, which means a longer recovery and healing period.

Another benefit to endoscopic biopsies is that some treatments can be initiated immediately following the procedure. For example, with some inflammatory GI diseases, steroids are often part of the initial treatment. Because steroids can delay healing of surgical incisions, they cannot be started immediately following an abdominal surgery. They can, however, be given shortly after endoscopy, which allows your pet to get started on treatment sooner.

Endoscopy is not beneficial if the abnormality is further down in the GI tract, as the scope will most likely not reach that far (in that case, a colonoscopy may be recommended). Endoscopy is also not able to biopsy anything outside of the GI tract, so if other abnormalities are noted on ultrasound, such as enlarged lymph nodes, these won’t be accessible with endoscopy.

If you have any additional questions about endoscopy, consult with your veterinarian. He or she can determine if this is an appropriate diagnostic procedure for your four-legged friend.

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