Gastrointestinal Disease

The combined techniques of ultrasound, computed tomography (CT), endoscopy and fluoroscopy ('video x-ray'), provide a powerful approach to the investigation of gastrointestinal (GI) disease.

We have a range of endoscopes (cameras) that allow upper (stomach and small intestine) and lower gastrointestinal endoscopy to be performed on almost all patients from <1kg to >80kg. In comparison to full thickness surgical biopsies, GI endoscopy offers the advantage of a shorter anaesthetic time, allows visual inspection of the inner surface of the gastrointestinal tract and allows the acquisition of multiple biopsies. The risk of major complication with endoscopy is also very low (<0.3%) compared to the risk associated with full thickness surgical biopsies (10-15%). Endoscopy can also be used to remove most foreign bodies from the oesophagus (food pipe) and stomach, place tubes for assisted feeding and treat oesophageal strictures/narrowing. Many GI cases are long standing and as a result our clients also benefit from ongoing support and advice for their pets.

Liver and pancreatic diseases are also commonly investigated via a combination of blood tests, ultrasound imaging and CT scanning. We offer on-site testing for pancreatic disease and liver function tests (including cPLi, fPLi, blood ammonia concentrations, coagulation times and thromboelastography (TEG)), enabling rapid assessment and the provision of important, life-saving therapy. Ultrasound-guided liver biopsies and bile sampling are performed routinely, and laparoscopic liver biopsies are also now available.

Our multidisciplinary service allows rapid transfer of cases to our surgery team, should this be necessary, for example, for cases of septic peritonitis (abdominal cavity infection), obstructive biliary disease, or for surgical treatment of cancer.