Stomach and Intestinal Disease
Stomach and intestinal disease can result in vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and weight loss in pets. If left untreated, it can also lead to more serious conditions such as dehydration, malnutrition, and in severe cases can be life-threatening. We offer safe, painless methods to treat your furry friend. Our goal is to ensure that pets receive the best possible care for their stomach and intestinal health so that they can live happy and healthy lives.
How We Diagnose Stomach & Intestinal Disease
We utilize abdominal ultrasound and gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy to get a clear view of your pet's stomach and intestines to accurately diagnose the problem. All pets are placed under general anesthesia for these safe, and harmless procedures.
Radiographs (x-rays) are typically obtained by your regular veterinarian when your pet presents for gastrointestinal signs such as vomiting, diarrhea, not eating, or weight loss. Sometimes foreign body material can be seen within the stomach.
Abdominal ultrasound gives us a clear image of the organs in the abdominal cavity including the stomach, intestines, spleen, gallbladder, pancreas, lymph nodes, liver, and kidneys. Ultrasound uses high-frequency harmless sound waves to create an image of your pet's internal organs. It helps identify foreign objects in the stomach and intestines, identifies changes that support intestinal disease, and identifies tumors and other diseases that result in GI signs.
We perform an upper and lower gastrointestinal endoscopy (GI endoscopy) which is a minimally invasive procedure in order to evaluate the inside of the stomach, intestines, and colon. An endoscope (a small diameter flexible tube attached to a camera) is inserted into the stomach, intestines, and colon.
Fluoroscopic Swallow Study
We perform fluoroscopy (moving x-rays) to view the esophagus while your pet is eating food. The food contains a contrast agent that allows better visualization of the food bolus. This imaging helps identify disorders of the esophagus including lack of nerve supply resulting in mega-esophagus.
Positive Contrast Esophagram
We perform fluoroscopy (moving x-rays) to view the esophagus after filling the esophagus with contrast material and air. An esophagram is used to view an esophageal stricture and determine the normal diameter of the esophagus for balloon dilation procedure.
How We Treat Stomach and Intestinal Disease
We treat multiple forms of stomach and intestinal diseases including gastric foreign body removal, gastric polypectomy, balloon esophageal tube placement, rectal polypectomy, and radiation therapy when necessary. We pride ourselves in specializing in minimally invasive and nonsurgical procedures to ensure your pet heals as quickly as possible.
Gastric Foreign Body Removal
Pets will frequently swallow things they're not supposed to. This can cause uncomfortable symptoms including persistent vomiting, loss of appetite, and lowered energy. We are able to retrieve these objects by guiding a scope and forceps to the location of the foreign object and safely pulling it back out.
Gastric polyps (benign growth) are masses that have formed on the lining of the stomach. Sometimes the polyp is a source of bleeding or is causing a blockage. We use an endoscope (small diameter tube attached to a camera) to view the inside of the stomach and remove the polyp using a polypectomy snare. The wire loop is placed around the polyp and with electrocautery, the polyp is excised and cauterized.
Balloon Esophageal Tube Placement
When pets have an esophageal stricture (obstructing scar), we will perform balloon dilation of the strictured area and placement of a balloon esophageal tube (BE-tube). Using a flexible endoscope, we are able to guide a balloon to the appropriate place in the esophagus and expand it to open up the esophagus. The BE-tube is used to stretch the scarred area at home daily so that the strictured area in the esophagus does not reform. The BE-tube is removed in 4-6 weeks.
Small benign masses (polyps) can grow within the rectum or colon (large intestine). While most polyps are not harmful, some can develop into cancer. Rectal polyps are the most common cause for blood on the stool. We are able to remove these polyps with a procedure called a rectal polypectomy. This is a minimally invasive procedure used to remove the polyp using a flexible endoscopy and a polypectomy snare. The snare encircles the polyp and with electrocautery, the polyp is excised and cauterized.
We use a type of internal radiation therapy called high-dose-rate (HDR) brachytherapy to treat rectal carcinoma (cancer). A device is inserted into the rectum that contains small diameter hollow catheters around the outer margin. The radiation source is placed into the catheters and radiation is delivered to the cancer within the rectal wall. Brachytherapy reduces the risk of harming healthy tissue around the affected area, can be shaped exactly to the rectal wall and a higher dose can be given in one treatment.
Your Pet is Our #1 Priority
We are committed to prioritizing the health, safety, and comfort of your pet when determining the right treatment option. We hope that our passion and expertise in what we do will bring you confidence in knowing that your pet has been placed in the very best hands possible. Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns about your pet's diagnosis or treatment.