What is endoscopy?

An endoscope is essentially a miniature telescope involving modern fibre optics.  It can be rigid or flexible. Endoscopes can be used for the direct visual inspection (and photography) of any hollow organ or body cavity.  Depending on the area to be visualised special endoscopes are used.  Thus examination of the stomach is carried out with a gastroscope while the endoscope used for examination of the other end of the bowel is called a proctoscope; the nasal cavity is examined with a rhinoscope, the bladder with a cystoscope and so on.  In addition there are very small endoscopes known as arthroscopes which are used for inspection of joints and keyhole surgery.

Is endoscopy generally available?

Despite the high initial cost of the instrumentation endoscopy is becoming more readily available in general practice. Anicare Veterinary Group can provide this service at their Botanic Veterinary Hospital in Glasnevin.

What does the examination entail?

In the majority of cases heavy sedation or light general anaesthesia will be necessary.  With a few exceptions most endoscopic examinations are carried out via a natural orifice such as the mouth, nose, anus etc.

What endoscopic examinations do not involve entry via a natural orifice?

Examples are the inspection of joints and sometimes certain abdominal organs (e.g. ovaries) via a tiny incision. These procedures would currently require referral.

Is the procedure expensive?

Reference has already been made to the high cost of instrumentation.  In addition regular maintenance is essential for this delicate equipment.  Some examinations, e.g. those of the stomach or bowel, can be time consuming.  This can result in substantial total costs for some endoscopic exams.

What are the veterinary uses for endoscopes?

Many. They are invaluable for locating foreign bodies such as grass seeds in the nasal cavity, the detection and removal of bones or other foreign bodies in the throat, stomach and bowel as well as the detection of intestinal tumours.