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The use of an endoscope is an excellent way to examine the upper airways, esophagus, and stomach. The most common reasons for using endoscopy include nasal masses and hematomas, guttural pouch infections, “roarers,” upper airway inflammation, and choke or other esophageal diseases. Endoscopy is not only useful in the visual evaluation and diagnosis of disease, but it is also useful in performing other diagnostics such as bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL). This is a procedure in which fluid is passed through the scope into the bronchus of the lung. The fluid is then collected and cultured to determine the bacteria causing an airway infection. All endoscopic examinations are performed under sedation and in the clinic.
The combination of high stress, use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, decreased pasture grazing, high concentrate diet, travel, and competition can lead to the formation of ulcers in horses. Common signs of gastric ulcers include decreased performance, colic, weight loss, and teeth grinding. To determine if a horse has ulcers, a 3 meter gastroscope is passed into the stomach so that the lining of the stomach walls may be evaluated. These horses are held off feed for 12 hours to ensure the stomach is completely empty.