Endoscopy means "looking inside" and refers to looking inside the body for medical purposes. The instrument used for this procedure is called an endoscope. Endoscopy is a minimally invasive, diagnostic, medical procedure commonly used to evaluate the interior surfaces of an organ by inserting a small tube into the body. Through the endoscope, the observer is able to see lesions of organs and other internal medical conditions.
In veterinary medicine, endoscopy is commonly used as a diagnostic procedure, for tissue and organ biopsies, to remove foreign objects (particularly in the stomach) or get an inside view of a particular part of a pet's body. Even though anesthesia is required to keep an animal still during the endoscopic procedure, the amount of anesthesia and recovery time is minimal. Endoscopy is often indicated when routine blood and urine tests, radiographs and ultrasound do not give the complete diagnostic picture.
The endoscope is composed of a long tube (flexible or rigid), a light source, camera and viewing eyepiece. In addition to the fiber optic light source, there are two channels within the tube. One channel is for passing forceps, snares or biopsy instruments, allowing for the removal of foreign objects, collection of biopsy samples and removal of small polyps or tumors. Air or water can be passed through the other channel for better viewing of the tissue or organ.
The benefits of endoscopy over exploratory surgery include no surgical incision, shortened anesthetic time, decreased inflammation, less physiologic stress and discomfort and an earlier return to normal function. The endoscope is used to help diagnose and treat a variety of gastrointestinal and respiratory disorders. Depending on the symptoms, it is used to look at the inner lining of the throat, stomach, intestine, colon or at the respiratory passages (nose, throat and lungs). Endoscopy is used to obtain superficial biopsies of stomach, proximal small intestine and colon, to look for cancer of the esophagus or stomach and to remove small foreign bodies from larger airways, esophagus or stomach. Even though general anesthesia is required for an endoscopic procedure, it is still considered much less invasive than traditional surgery due to the relatively short procedure time and low occurrence of complications.
Dr. Bill Kinney has been performing referral endoscopy procedures for more than a decade. He has completed several continuing education courses in veterinary endoscopy and has received many accolades for his accomplishments. Along with gastrointestinal endoscopy, he also performs urinary tract endoscopy (cystoscopy) bronchoscopy and rhinoscopy (endoscopy of the respiratory tract).
Rhinoscopy and Bronchoscopy
Rhinoscopy is the examination of the nasal cavity with a fiberoptic viewing scope. It is a minimally invasive technique that assists with the diagnosis and treatment of nasal diseases. Bronchoscopy is the technique that allows the veterinarian to examine your pet's larynx, trachea and lungs.
Bronchoscopy and rhinoscopy are performed using a fiber optic scope consisting of a tube, a light source, camera and viewing eyepiece. In addition to the fiber optic light source, there are two channels within in the tube. One channel is for viewing the interior of your pet's nasal cavities and respiratory tract and the other channel is for passing forceps, snares or biopsy instruments, allowing for the removal of foreign objects, collection of biopsy samples and removal of small polyps or tumors.
The most important feature associated with bronchoscopy and rhinoscopy is that it provides a very accurate diagnosis of diseases and conditions affecting your pet's respiratory tract. There are 2 types of scopes, rigid and flexible. The flexible scope consists of a long, thin, lighted tube and is used more frequently than a rigid bronchoscope for looking into your pet's airways. The rigid bronchoscope is used to remove large tissue samples for biopsies and to remove objects that cannot be taken out using the flexible scope.
North Georgia VRP has invested heavily in veterinary endoscopy technology. At the present time, they have 3 flexible and multiple ridged endoscopes.
Ultrasound is a pain-free, totally non-invasive technique that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce a real-time moving image of your pet's internal organs. It allows us a look at your pet's internal organs, chest and abdomen without surgery or sedation. At North Georgia VRP, we employ ultrasound for a wide-range of diagnostic and medical procedures. It is particularly useful for complete examinations of the abdomen and for (ultrasound assisted) biopsies. We also use ultrasound for evaluating heart function and for bladder scans.
In most cases, an ultrasound procedure is relatively brief. Most importantly, though, an ultrasound, sometimes combined with radiographs, is valuable for making an accurate diagnosis of a patient's condition and provides effective treatment recommendations.
Radiographs are one of the most important diagnostic tools in veterinary medicine. They allow us to view the shape, size and location of organs inside a pet's body. Radiographs are extremely helpful for diagnosing and monitoring many medical and surgical conditions. X-rays are useful for examining bones, lungs, heart, abdomen, oral cavity and other areas of the body. An x-ray can detect a fractured bone, tumor, heart problem and locate an obstruction or foreign body in your pet's stomach or intestine. X-rays and Ultrasound are often utilized together for an even more accurate diagnosis.
North Georgia VRP has a new, state-of-the-art, Sound-Eklin DR digital x-ray machine, one of the best for veterinary usage and produces superior and detailed images. Compared to x-rays produced by a traditional machine, the quality of digital radiographs is much better. Since digital x-rays are immediately displayed on a computer monitor, they are produced quickly and can be manipulated to get a better view of a pet's bones and internal organs.
Digital radiology has many benefits for your pet, you and our staff. Our sophisticated digital x-ray equipment produces clear, detailed images. Digital x-rays are easier and faster to process than traditional film x-rays, resulting in less time on the x-ray table (and less stress) for your pet. The harsh chemicals once necessary for developing x-rays are not needed for digital x-rays, reducing potential harm to our staff and the environment.
At North Georgia VRP, we incorporate our diagnostic services into a complete medical workup when requested by the referring veterinarian. Complete cardiac, urinary and gastrointestinal tract workups are our most common, however, we also incorporate these services into the diagnosis and treatment of cancer and endocrine diseases such as parathyroid diseases and diseases of the adrenal glands.