Owner endoscopy information sheet


Endoscopy is a procedure where a flexible or rigid tube with a camera on the end is passed into your pet to obtain images of internal organs. Other procedures may also be performed by passing instruments through the tube into the body, for example collecting biopsies or retrieving foreign objects in the stomach. Endoscopy is always performed under general anaesthetic and your pet will need to be admitted to the surgery as a day patient. Overnight hospitalisation is not usually required.


This is a very safe procedure, however there is always some risk involved in all procedures such as this. Internal bleeding and rupture / tearing of body tissues (such as gut or lung) have been reported during some endoscopy procedures, but these are very rare, and there is usually an underlying cause for this (such as severe disease of the affected area, like a stomach ulcer for example). General anaesthetic is always required for endoscopy procedures, and of course this also carries a low risk of complications.


It is important that your pet is starved (no solid food) for at least 12 hours prior to the anaesthetic. For endoscopy of the lungs or bladder, 12 hours without food is sufficient.

However, for patients having endoscopy of the stomach and upper intestines, starving from 12 noon the day before the procedure is preferable. This is because even a small amount of food can cover the camera lens, preventing us from seeing properly. Also, on the morning of the procedure, medication should not be given, nor should your pet be allowed to eat grass. Access to water is not a problem and is allowed right up until your pet is admitted for the procedure.

For patients having endoscopy of the lower intestines (colon), a longer period of starvation is required – up to 36 hours. Laxatives and enemas may also be required. Preparation varies depending on the patient and which part of the colon we wish to investigate, and so you will need to ask your vet what you need to do for your particular pet.


After endoscopic biopsy of the stomach or intestines, it is normal for there to be a little blood in the stool. This is nothing to worry about.  Similarly, after endoscopy of the bladder, it is normal for there to be a little blood in the urine.

Endoscopy is not an uncomfortable procedure and no pain relief or other mediation is normally required post-operatively.