Gastroscopy in animals

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Dog at endoscopy
The vet inserts an endoscope through the animal’s mouth or nose into the stomach and assesses the mucous membrane of the stomach, the pylorus and the first sections of the intestine. Photo: vetproduction

What is a gastroscopy (gastroscopy) in animals?

A gastroscopy (gastroscopy) is an imaging procedure in which the vet uses an endoscope camera the inside of the stomach able to see. To do this, the veterinarian inserts an endoscope through the animal’s mouth or nose into the stomach and assesses the mucous membrane of the stomach, the pylorus and the first sections of the intestine.

During the gastroscopy Changes such as stomach ulcers (ulcers), tumors or polyps (protrusions of the gastric mucosa) and take tissue samples (biopsies). Without the endoscope, it would be necessary to operate on the animal and open up the abdominal wall and stomach to view the organ from the inside.

The vet recommends a gastroscopy if the animal shows symptoms that indicate a Disease of the stomach or small intestine and which cannot be diagnosed using other diagnostic methods such as ultrasound or X-rays. The reason for a gastroscopy is, for example, if the animal has pain in the upper abdominal area, is often nauseous and vomits often or is bloody. Endoscopy can also be used to remove foreign bodies from the animal’s stomach.


How is a gastroscopy performed on animals?

A gastroscopy (gastroscopy) in animals is carried out under general anesthesia or under deep calming (sedation) of the animal. The animal should be sober for several hoursso that no leftovers in the stomach disturb the view.

The veterinarian carefully inserts the endoscope into the animal’s esophagus. In horses and cattle, the endoscope is inserted through the nose, while in dogs and cats it is inserted into the mouth. The vet pushes it Endoscope further into the stomach and fills it with some gas so that the mucous membrane does not cover the camera. This enables him to detect changes in the gastric mucosa, such as bleeding, tumors, injuries, stomach ulcers (ulcers) or constrictions. In addition, small tools can be used to take tissue samples (biopsies) and then examine them.

Application areas:

When is a gastroscopy (gastroscopy) used on animals?

A gastroscopy in animals makes sense if there are symptoms of a gastrointestinal disease that cannot be clearly identified with other diagnostic methods, such as a blood test, stool test and an ultrasound test.

The veterinarian carries out a gastroscopy in order to diagnose the following diseases in the animal, among others:

  • Mucosal injuries (erosion)
  • stomach ulcers (ulceration)
  • Polyps (protrusions of the mucous membrane)
  • Narrowing (stenoses) of the gastric entrance or gastric outlet
  • Benign tumors and malignant tumors (cancer)
  • bleeding
  • parasites
  • Identification and removal of foreign bodies in the stomach

Risks and Complications:

What are the risks of a gastroscopy in animals?

A gastroscopy (gastroscopy) in animals is generally a low-risk procedure. The vet performs the gastroscopy under general anesthesia or under strong sedation, which is why a some anesthetic risk consists. It is advisable to clarify whether the animal is healthy before anesthesia.

In rare cases, the esophagus or stomach can be injured or even perforated by the endoscopy. When taking tissue samples (biopsies) occur occasionally postoperative bleeding on. In rare cases, the animal breathes in liquid during the gastroscopy (aspiration) and pneumonia can occur.

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Additional information

Author: dr medical vet Iris Kiesewetter
Date of last update: Aug 2022
Pschyrembel Online: Gastroscopy. Walter de Gruyter (accessed: August 2022)
Baumgärtner, W. Gruber, AD: Special pathology for veterinary medicine. Thieme 2020
Kohn, B. Schwarz, G.: Internship at the dog clinic. Enke Verlag 2017
Maddison, J. et al: From symptom to diagnosis in small animal practice. Thieme 2016

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