Endoscopy comes from the Greek word “scopy,” meaning “look” and “endo,” meaning “within”. The doctor uses instruments with fiber-optic “light fiber bundle” technology to “view within” your pet. There are two kinds of endoscopes: rigid and flexible. Rigid scopes can look inside the abdomen, joints, and chest with only one or two small incisions approximately one-half- inch long. These incisions are usually closed with only one suture. When looking inside the urinary bladder, stomach, colon, intestine or nose, no incision is necessary.

This equipment has revolutionized human medicine and surgery. It is likely to do the same for veterinary medicine. We at Kirkwood Animal Hospital are now able to do exploratory surgery and take biopsies in the abdomen, chest, and joints without the necessity of large incisions. With our flexible scope we are able to view, biopsy and remove foreign bodies from the air passageways, lungs, stomach and small intestine. This significantly reduces the risk of long anesthetic periods and the pain and discomfort of large incisions for your pet’s.

Endoscopy is not available for as many types of veterinary procedures as they are available for human beings. Many of the instruments for humans are too large in diameter to be useful for our pet’s. New ones need to be designed for use in our small animal patients. Several are being designed today and we are hoping that as demand increases, more endoscopes will be available.


We at Kirkwood Animal Hospital chose to buy Karl Storz Endoscopy equipment. They are the leaders in veterinary endoscopy, with a division for veterinarians. We have purchased a wide variety of equipment, costing over $40,000. We have a flexible scope for respiratory and GI work, two rigid scopes for the abdomen, chest, bladder and the nasal cavity, and a carbon dioxide insufflator (machine that pumps gas) for the abdomen. We have a video camera that attaches to the scopes allowing us to view and record procedures. This allows our team of doctors at Kirkwood Animal Hospital to consult with each other and to consult the opinions of outside specialists, if needed.

Although not all problems can be solved by endoscopy, a great number of diseases we see daily can be diagnosed with less pain and suffering for the animal involved. In just a few weeks we have been able to diagnose, treat and prevent possible life threatening events with almost no pain and discomfort. We have prevented pets from going through extensive operative procedures and prolonged healing times. We feel that endoscopy is one of the tools that will set the course for the future of veterinary medicine.

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