Video endoscopy is a procedure used to evaluate parts of the horses’ body that cannot be viewed otherwise. The fiber optic cable inside the endoscope transmits an image from the inside of the horse to a computer screen where the images and video can be viewed and stored. At Thomasville Animal Hospital we have both 1-meter and 3-meter endoscopes.
The endoscope is passed up one of the horse’s nostrils into the pharynx (throat region), larynx, and trachea (windpipe). This procedure can be used to diagnose a variety of conditions, including reasons for poor performance and abnormal respiratory noises. Common abnormalities seen on endoscopy include laryngeal paralysis, a displaced soft palate, evidence of Exercise Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage (EIPH), and excess mucus due to allergies or inflammation. This procedure is also use to evaluate the guttural pouches (outpouchings on either side of the throat), which can harbor infections.
During this procedure the horse is sedated and the endoscope is passed down the horse’s esophagus and into the stomach. Gastroscopy is used to identify ulcers, grade their severity, and monitor response to treatment. Gastric ulcers are common in horses and often go unrecognized. Signs of gastric ulcers include poor performance, weight loss, reduced appetite, irritability, and recurrent mild colic. If your horse is exhibiting some of these signs, you may want to get him “scoped.”