Dogwood Veterinary Clinic is pleased to announce that we are now offering endoscopy services. We are excited to be able to bring this service to pet owners in the Louisville, Prospect, Crestwood, and Oldham County areas. Endoscopy translates to internal scope and is a minimally invasive diagnostic and therapeutic technique that allows for a variety of diagnostic tests. This method uses a long tube in which a doctor can manipulate or drive, and has a small camera and portal for a light source at the end of the tube. There is also a portal for various instruments and the capability to inject fluids, air, and suction through the scope. This blog post will walk through some of the common uses for this technology and how Dogwood Veterinary Clinic will help care for pets in Louisville, Kentucky with this new capability.


Gastroscopy is the examination of the stomach by endoscopy. One common reason we may recommend a gastroscopy is for removal of a foreign body contained within the stomach. This is used for recently ingested items or objects that can be visualized within the stomach on radiographs. If the item would not harm the patient by removing it through the esophagus, the gastroscope can be used to remove these types of foreign bodies. There are various tools that can be used through the port of the scope, such as snare loops, net retrievers, and forceps. This allows the veterinarian to grasp and remove the foreign object. The patient is under general anesthesia and the scope is passed into the stomach through the esophagus. Gastroscopy and esophagoscopy (examination of the esophagus) also allow the veterinarian to examine the mucosa or internal portion of the esophagus and stomach for inflammation, stricture, swelling, scarring, or masses.  If any abnormal areas are observed, the veterinarian can obtain biopsies through the port in the scope. These samples may be submitted to a pathologist for testing to aid in diagnosing the abnormality. Indications for esophagoscopy and gastroscopy include vomiting, difficulty eating, and persistent gastrointestinal upset.


Bronchoscopy evaluates the lungs with the endoscope and tracheoscopy evaluates the trachea. One very useful diagnostic test achieved by bronchoscopy is a bronchoalveolar lavage or BAL. A BAL can aid in the diagnosis of cancer, inflammatory, and infectious conditions. In a BAL, the lower airway is lavaged with sterile saline. The fluid is collected and submitted for testing to look for inflammatory and cancerous cells, and can also be cultured. With bronchoscopy and tracheoscopy we can also diagnose conditions impeding airflow such as a collapsed trachea or lung, tracheal laceration, tracheal stricture, foreign body in the airway, and potentially cancerous masses. Some indications for bronchoscopy include persistent cough, coughing up blood, and respiratory distress.


A third area we can visualize with endoscopy is the nasopharynx. Examination of this area can reveal polyps, cancer, lesions caused by infectious disease, inflammation, and foreign bodies. Laryngeal function can also be assessed with the endoscope, aiding in the diagnosis of laryngeal paralysis or masses affecting the larynx. The scope is inserted through the mouth and can be retroflexed to examine the nasal passages. Indications for endoscopy in this area include change in the pets’ voice, stertorous (noisy) respirations, epistaxis (bleeding from the nose), and abnormal nasal secretions.

These are just some of the many utilizations of flexible endoscopy. It is important to note that all endoscopic procedures are performed under general anesthesia. Endoscopy is not used in isolation, but in conjunction with other diagnostic tests and a veterinarian’s clinical evaluation. We are happy to consult with pet owners and our veterinary colleagues to help determine if a pet is an appropriate candidate for endoscopy. This technique allows for minimally invasive access to many structures. In some instances, it is used in place of a surgical procedure such as gastric foreign body removal. In addition, this technique also allows access to areas very difficult to access surgically, such as, the esophagus, trachea, lungs, and nasopharynx. We are so glad to be able to increase the accessibility of endoscopic procedures for pet owners in the Louisville, Prospect, Crestwood, and Oldham County areas. Please click here if you wish to learn more about Dogwood Veterinary Clinic and our services.