Endoscopy is an advanced diagnostic technique that allows visualization inside the horse by use of a slender camera, an endoscope. Video endoscopy projects what the camera sees onto a screen so it can be readily visualized by examiners. Common uses for endoscopy in the horse include scoping of the horse’s stomach (gastroscopy), upper and lower airway examinations, and scoping of the urinary bladder. Video endoscopy is available on the farm with Renier Equine.
Gastric ulcers: The only sure way to know if a horse does or does not have gastric ulcers is to perform a gastroscopy. At this time, no other test gives us this information. Gastroscopy allows us to see the horse’s esophagus, entrance and exit to the stomach, main compartment of the stomach, and sometimes the first area in the small intestine. It shows us the portions of the stomach that are and are not acid-producing. Gastroscopy also allows us to determine if treatment for gastric ulcers is necessary and if that treatment has been successful.
Airway endoscopy: Horses’ upper airways may be examined for signs of inflammation, infection, or performance-limiting conditions, such as “roaring” (laryngeal hemiplegia), displaced palate, and epiglottic abnormalities. Guttural pouch examination can also be conducted with this exam. Lower airway endoscopy can identify evidence of bleeding into the airways, infection, and abnormal growths.
Urinary endoscopy: Urinary endoscopy is most often performed to look for evidence of masses, sediment, or “stones” (calculi) in the bladder. It can also be used to look for obstructive or inflammatory lesions in the urethra itself.