Endoscopy allows a visual examination of internal organ and body parts without invasive exploratory surgery. At All Creatures Veterinary Hospital we use an endoscope with a flexible end, so it can be used to view organs like the stomach. It consists of a long, flexible insertion tube with a bending tip at the end that enters the body, an eyepiece, and a control section.
The tip of the endoscope is manipulated using a control knob in the hand piece. In addition to the fiber bundles which provide the light source, two channels are present within the endoscope. One channel permits various endoscopic tools to be passed and fluids to be suctioned, or samples to be taken. The other allows water or air to be passed into the stomach/intestine to insufflate (inject air into the area), or wash away, mucus from the viewing port. Special video cameras are attached to the end of the endoscope which allow viewing of the exam on a screen.
Types of endoscopy that we can perform include, but are not limited to:
Bronchoscopy: An exam of the lower airways.
Colonoscopy: An exam of the transverse colon, ascending colon, cecum, large bowel, and rectum.
Endoscopy: An exam of the esophagus, stomach, and upper intestines
Arthroscopy: An exam of soft tissue structures and joint cartilage, which is not visible on radiographs. Decreased damage to the joint and shortened recovery times are two advantages of arthroscopy over arthrotomy (surgical exam of the joint). Disadvantages include its limitation during diagnostic and corrective surgical procedures in small patients.
Cystoscopy: An examination of the vagina, urethral opening, urethra, bladder, and ureteral openings.
Laparoscopy: An exam of the abdominal cavity performed through a small incision in the wall of the abdomen or through the navel. It is done in veterinary medicine to obtain hepatic (liver) and renal (kidney) biopsy samples.
Proctoscopy: An exam of the large bowel and rectum.
Rhinoscopy: An exam of the nasal cavity and nasopharynx (junction between the nasal area and the back of the throat).
Thoracoscopy: An examination of the chest cavity. This is currently not performed frequently in veterinary medicine.