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Gastroscopy is a diagnostic tool used to examine your pet’s gastrointestinal system including the oesophagus, stomach, and intestines.

A gastroscopy is performed using specialised endoscopy equipment enabling diagnosis and treatment through visualisation of the gastrointestinal system.

For safety and for the comfort of your pet, this procedure is performed under general anaesthesia, thus allowing for a more thorough examination.

How Does GastroscopyWork?

Gastroscopy is used to diagnose a variety of conditions affecting the digestive system, including tumours, abnormalities, or foreign bodies, and allows the veterinarian to examine the digestive system in detail, meaning can assess the general health of structures.

This technique is classified as non-invasive compared to surgical techniques because it does not require surgery and does not cause significant tissue damage.

Foreign bodies can also be visualized and removed much more easily using a gastroscope if they are small enough – if larger, surgery will be required to remove the foreign body.

The risk of further damage is minimized thanks to the image of the entire digestive system on the screen.

Similarly, biopsies and small tumours can also be obtained/removed using a variety of specialized accessories.

Benefits Of Gastroscopy

Gastroscopy has several advantages for pets:


Gastroscopy provides a direct and clear view of the inside of the organs, such as the oesophagus, stomach and intestines, this allows us to accurately identify abnormalities such as inflammation, abnormal swelling or foreign bodies.


By easily visualising the inside of the stomach, and intestines gastroscopy can help identify problems early on, before they become more serious. 


Gastroscopy provides the opportunity for us to take biopsy samples if needed, which can be used to identify specific conditions affecting the stomach and intestines.


Unlike traditional surgical procedures, Gastroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure that does not require incisions or extensive tissue damage.


We can use the endoscope to retrieve foreign bodies from the stomach and intestines, which can cause discomfort and health issues for your pet.


Gastroscopy is performed under general anaesthesia and is minimally invasive which means your pet will recover faster.

Gastroscopy Procedure

All pets undergoing endoscopy are under general anaesthesia for safety and comfort. It is also important that the procedures are performed after your pet has fasted.

This is imperative both for safe anaesthesia and to ensure maximum information is obtained during endoscopy. Fasting times will be discussed prior to the procedure. A minimum of twelve hours is most often required.

During the procedure, your pet will be closely monitored during anaesthesia.

The endoscope is inserted through the mouth and into the stomach for a gastroduodenal endoscopy.

Depending on the results, biopsy and/or culture samples may be taken and sent to the laboratory.

Pets that have undergone gastroscopy usually recover very quickly (depending on the type of anaesthesia) and very rarely post-operative pain, nausea, or complications have occurred.


When Would Gastroscopy Be Needed?

Gastroscopy could be helpful to determine the cause of:

Weight loss
Dysphagia (trouble swallowing)
Blood or mucus in the stool
Dark, tarry stool (sign of bleeding in the stomach or intestines)
Excessive salivation
Difficulty defecating

Efficacy Of Gastroscopy

Endoscopy is the best method to detect and confirm the diagnosis when the cause is clearly examined.

If your pet has stomach or oesophagal problems, an endoscopy will show the colour of the problems as well as ways to remove any foreign objects causing the blockage.

If a tumour is present, the endoscope can be used as a tool to collect cells for local biopsies.

For other problems, an endoscopy can provide pictures of the inside that your pet can’t speak to. Ulcers can be painful but are treated with medication and dietary changes.
Endoscopy can be helpful in diagnosing conditions that are curable with special diets and medications.

To explore, there may be alternatives to endoscopy such as X-rays or ultrasound. However, if a foreign body or biopsy is present, endoscopy may still be necessary.


Is the procedure painful?

Since your pet will be anaesthetised, there are no painful procedures.
Mild nausea may be possible after gastroscopy, although most pets have no signs of discomfort.

What are the risks of gastroscopy?

Gastroscopy is considered very safe, although anesthesia is required, and depending on your pet's condition, there is always a risk of complications from general anesthesia.

There is an approximately 2% risk of bowel perforation during gastrointestinal endoscopy.
This is very rare but is of course very serious if it happens and requires immediate surgery.

When will I know the results?

Since the organs are viewed in real time, the result of what is seen is known immediately. However, the final diagnosis usually depends on the results of the of the biopsies. This may take up to a week, depending on the individual circumstances.

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