"My dog just ate my daughter's socks!!"
This frantic phone call and many other incidents of pets eating foreign objects has been one of the reasons Edgewood Animal Clinic practices endoscopy when the situation warrants. Another purpose is for chronic gastric problems that medication has not helped.
These procedures performed by Dr. David Lee begin with sedation and intubation. A flexible tube with camera enclosed is then inserted through the esophagus and its progress is viewed on a monitor. Once the foreign object is located, another grasping instrument is inserted through the tube and the object is extracted. There are times when this is not possible due to location, size, or texture of the object. The sooner the object is ingested, the better chance of success in retrieval by endoscopy. This is a much less evasive procedure over a laparotomy performed, which is having to surgically open the stomach or intestine.
Another use for the endoscope is to biopsy certain parts of the intestines or stomach when the need arises. This is a much safer procedure than invasive abdominal surgery.
This same equipment when used to view and thoroughly cleanse ear canals is called Otoscopy. The pet is sedated and a smaller tube with camera is inserted into the ear canal which can then be viewed on the monitor. This equipment has the ability to flush and suction the ear canal extremely well. This helps with chronic otitis infections that won't clear with regular cleaning. Many times the ear becomes too inflamed to successfully treat with medication. Therefore the otoscope with it's smaller tubes inserted can treat the swollen ear much better and used in conjunction with laser therapy the inflammation will come under control quickly to better treat the ear at home.