Endoscopy is a minimally invasive technique that allows a visual examination of internal organs and body parts without surgery. In many cases performing a procedure endoscopically allows for it to be done as an outpatient procedure, a less painful and traumatic alternative for both patient and owner.
Endoscopy is performed with either a rigid or flexible fiber optic instrument. Flexible endoscopes such as those used in the examination of the stomach consist of a long flexible tube with a bending tip at the end that enters the body. A camera is at the tip that allows visualization through an eyepiece and a control hand piece. Channels are present within the endoscope that permit various endoscopic tools to be passed and fluids to be suctioned, samples taken, or foreign objects to be removed. Special video cameras can be attached to the endoscopes which allow viewing of the exam on a television screen, as well as recording the exam on video. The rigid endoscope can be used in some areas that do not require the bending tip.
The advantage of endoscopy over other methods is that it is nonsurgical. Endoscopy should be preceded by adequate laboratory testing and radiology. Sedation or anesthesia is used to eliminate any pain and to keep the animal from moving.
Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns you may have.
A physical exam is a complete hands-on assessment of your pet’s health status. Our doctors are trained to detect disease by listening (auscultation), feeling (palpating) and looking (visual evaluation). First, we weigh your pet and evaluate his or her heart rate and respiration. After taking these basic measurements, your pet is examined from head to tail while all vital organs along the way are gently palpated. Every body system is checked for disease. During the physical exam, your doctor assesses the risks your pet has for contracting preventable diseases caused by internal parasites (heartworms and intestinal worms) and external parasites (fleas, mites and ticks). You will receive advice on how to prevent these disease causing agents with medications and/or vaccinations.
The eyes are examined with a PanOpticTM ophthalmoscope for cataracts and retinal disease. This is a special ophthalmoscope that allows us to view the entire retina at one time. Some retinal diseases indicate systemic (whole body) problems such as high blood pressure or infections. The eyelids are also be ex amined to check for conformation, abnormal hairs (entropion or ectropion), or any growths or cysts. We may also use a TonopenTM to check for glaucoma.
The ears are examined with a special otoscope called MacroviewTM, an instrument used to see into the long and angled ear canal to the eardrum of dogs and cats. Ear infections and parasites are quite common. In some extreme cases, a more detailed view of the inner ear may be necessary. Additionally, we have a video otoscope that can be utilized in the exam room without sedation. We also have a StorzTM rigid endoscope that can be used to visualize the ear canal while the patient is anesthetized. The rigid endoscope can also be used to remove the chronic, built-up debris that cannot be easily removed with a simple ear flushing. Owners who have dealt with chronic recurring ear infections understand how frustrating ear infection after ear infection can be for you and your pet. Many of our patients who have had the ear canals examined endoscopically report a much improved quality of life with few to no ear infections when a regular ear cleaning regimen is followed.
Teeth are examined for tartar build-up, abscesses, fractures, missing teeth and gum disease. The mouth is visually checked for lesions and tumors.
The heart and lungs are checked by auscultation with a stethoscope and by feeling the pulse. The gums are examined for their color, felt for how moist or dry they are, and gently pressed and observed for capillary refill time.
The abdomen is palpated for anomalies of organ size and character, such as enlargement of the liver or spleen, change in kidney size, bladder stones, tumors, and intestine abnormalities.
The skin is examined for parasites, lesions, and abnormal growths. Lymph Nodes: The lymph nodes are palpated for symmetry, size, and tenderness.
The nervous system is evaluated by observing your pet’s behavior and testing reflexes.
The external genitalia are examined for abnormal discharge, color, swelling, or growths. The prostate gland may be palpated for abnormal size and character.
Manner of walking is observed for lameness and joints are palpated to detect tenderness and inflexibility that may indicate problems like arthritis.