Endoscopy is the use of a flexible fiberoptic instrument to view internal structures. At Foundation Equine Wellness and Performance, we have two styles of endoscopes. The first is one meter long and is primarily used to examine the respiratory tract. By passing it through a nostril, we are able to see the back of the throat, trachea and lungs and associated structures. Respiratory endoscopy is used to diagnose reasons for coughing, nasal discharge, exercise linked noise or bleeding, odor from the nostril or mouth or difficult breathing. The endoscope also has channels for collecting samples for bacterial culture and pathology. The examination is done in your barn. The horse may or may not need to be sedated, depending on temperament and the extent of the exam.
Gastroscopy is an endoscopic exam of the digestive tract. In this case, a three meter long endoscope is passed through a nostril, down the esophagus and into the stomach and first part of the small intestines. This aids in the causes of lack of appetite, chronic colic, weight loss, chronic choke and attitude changes. The most common use is to diagnose stomach ulcers, or Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome. This examination can also be done in your barn. The horse must be fasted overnight and always requires sedation. The examination can also be recorded and images stored in your horse’s record.