An endoscopy is a procedure to visualize and take small samples of tissue from the gastrointestinal tract. The samples are then sent for evaluation under a microscope to look for signs of damage or disease. Endoscopy is used to help confirm disorders of the esophagus, stomach, and upper small intestines.

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Why it’s done

Your veterinarian may recommend an endoscopy if your pet has:

  • A history of digestive issues such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, difficulty swallowing, weight loss, and signs of gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Abnormal blood tests
  • Ultrasound findings of abnormal changes in your pet’s stomach or intestinal tract

How to prepare for your pet’s procedure

Before your pet’s endoscopy, you will meet with one of our specialists to talk about the procedure and what to expect.

When you meet with our team, please bring a list of all medications that your pet is currently taking, including over the counter medications, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Before your pet’s procedure, you may be asked to discontinue giving certain medications that can increase the risk of bleeding or that might interfere with achieving a diagnosis.

This is a good time to ask questions about the procedure and make sure you understand the risks and benefits.

Preoperative diagnostics and tests

Before your pet’s endoscopy the following may be indicated:

  • Abdominal Ultrasound
  • Comprehensive blood panel
  • Gastrointestinal blood panel

General Instructions for the Day of Surgery

  • Give your pet nothing by mouth after midnight the night before. This means that all food and water should be withheld.
  • Please arrive for pet’s admission promptly at your scheduled arrival time.
  • You will be asked to sign both an Anesthetic Consent Form as well as an Estimate, indicating your understanding of the procedure, risks, and associated costs.

What happens during an endoscopy?

Your pet will be given a general anesthetic. Special instruments, including a camera, are passed through the mouth down the throat. The specialists can visualize the esophagus, stomach, and upper small intestines and obtain biopsy samples.


Complications associated with an endoscopy are extremely rare when appropriate preoperative testing has occurred, but can include the following:

  • Cramping
  • Nausea
  • Bleeding
  • Perforation

After the procedure

  • Following the procedure, you will be given a phone call with an update on your pet’s recovery. A scheduled discharge will be coordinated at that time.
  • Please remove the bandage from your pet’s intravenous catheter site 10 to 15 minutes after arriving home.
  • Many patients will not eat the night following anesthesia. If your pet has not eaten after 24 hours of returning home, please call Salt River.
  • Some patients will vomit or have diarrhea following anesthesia. If the vomiting or diarrhea persists more than 24 hours, please call Salt River. In contrast, some patients may be constipated or may not have a bowel movement for up to 72 hours following anesthesia. If your pet is straining to defecate after 72 hours, please call Salt River.


The samples are submitted to specialized laboratories for evaluation.

  • The final biopsy results can take up to 2 weeks. Once the final results have returned and a treatment plan has been devised, our specialists will call you to discuss the findings and recommendations.

Follow up

A recheck appointment is required in 4-6 weeks.