Endoscopy is used to visualise and evaluate many parts of the horse including the upper respiratory tract (pharynx, larynx, guttural pouches and trachea), parts of the gastrointestinal tract (oesophagus, stomach, duodenum, rectum and small colon), urinary tract (bladder and urethra) and reproductive tract of mares (vagina, cervix and uterus).
It is an essential part of the evaluation of many horses with poor performance, upper airway obstructions, abnormal respiratory noises, lung disease, gastric (stomach) ulcers and many urinary tract problems. At The Liphook Equine Hospital we have a range of different sized endoscopes that we can use to visualise these different regions of the horse in great detail and take small biopsy samples for laboratory diagnosis. The endoscopes are linked to a screen (videoendoscopy) which allows the vets and the clients to see the images at the same time and for the images to be recorded.
In some horses with respiratory noise at exercise or demonstrating poor performance, endoscopic examination at rest may appear normal and yet as the horse is exercised and starts to breathe more deeply laryngeal or pharyngeal problems become evident. Previously the only way to diagnose these conditions was to train the horse to run on a high speed treadmill and then to perform endoscopy whilst the horse is galloping on the treadmill. However our vets now have access to the latest, state-of-the-art remote dynamic endoscopic system. Significantly, the VetMed remote dynamic endoscope system does not require the use of a high speed treadmill facility and allows endoscopy of a horse when it is being ridden and exercised in a routine manner. The equipment is light-weight, relatively unobtrusive and allows the use of the horse’s own tack, which makes it quick and easy to fit to the patient and permits rapid and accurate diagnosis of a multitude of conditions which cause dynamic airway obstruction.