Dr. Bendick Performing a Liver Biopsy with a rigid endoscope.
Dr Schuessler removes a sock from the small intestine of a dog.


The sock on the end of the flexible endoscope

Looking Within at KAH

Endoscopy comes from the Greek word "scopy," meaning "look" and "endo," meaning "within". The doctor uses instruments with fiberoptic "light fiber bundle" technology to "view within" your pet. There are two kinds of endoscopes: rigid and flexible. Rigid scopes can look inside the abdomen, joints, and chest with only one or two small incisions approximately one-half- inch long. These incisions are usually closed with only one suture. When looking inside the urinary bladder, stomach, colon, intestine or nose, no incision is necessary.
This equipment has revolutionized human medicine and surgery. It is likely to do the same for veterinary medicine. We at KAH are now able to do exploratory surgery and take biopsies in the abdomen, chest, and joints without the necessity of large incisions. With our flexible scope we are able to view, biopsy and remove foreign bodies from the air passageways, lungs, stomach and small intestine. This significantly reduces the risk of long anesthetic periods and the pain and discomfort of large incisions for your pet's.
Endoscopy is not available for as many types of veterinary procedures as they are available for human beings. Many of the instruments for humans are too large in diameter to be useful for our pet's. New ones need to be designed for use in our small animal patients. Several are being designed today and we are hoping that as demand increases, more endoscopes will be available.
We at KAH chose to buy Karl Storz Endoscopy equipment. They are the leaders in veterinary endoscopy, with a division for veterinarians. We have purchased a wide variety of equipment, costing over $40,000. We have a flexible scope for respiratory and GI work, two rigid scopes for the abdomen, chest, bladder and the nasal cavity, and a carbon dioxide insufflator (machine that pumps gas) for the abdomen. We have a video camera that attaches to the scopes allowing us to view and record procedures. This allows our team of doctors at KAH to consult with each other and to consult the opinions of outside specialists, if needed.
Storz is sponsoring a number of training seminars around the country. Dr. Bendick and Dr. Schuessler have attended several of these courses for in-depth training in these techniques. There are only about five specialists in the country who are widely using endoscopy, especially rigid endoscopy, at this time. The investment of time and resources to study and network with these doctors is important to us.
How has our acquisition of this equipment helped your pets in the St. Louis area?
In the few short weeks since owning our Storz endoscopes, we have been able to:
Perform 7 liver biopsies with two 3/8" incisions instead of an 8" to 10" incision. We were able to visualize the actual lesions, thus insuring an accurate diagnosis and giving information of prognosis (we could tell if the lesion or disease had spread to other organs.)
Remove a ribbon from a cat’s stomach and small intestine without surgery.
Remove two socks from a Labrador Retriever’s stomach. The Labrador has had two previous surgeries to remove socks from his stomach.
Examine a bladder and perform a biopsy, diagnosing bladder cancer without surgery.
Perform five exploratory surgeries of the abdomen, four of these with biopsies and one feeding tube was installed.
Perform four arthroscopies (joint explorations) in dogs to evaluate ligament damage.
Examine the nasal passage and lungs of a pet with chronic coughing and sneezing.

The staff of KAH is very excited about this new technology and what it can do for our patients. Although not all problems can be solved by endoscopy, a great number of diseases we see daily can be diagnosed with less pain and suffering for the animal involved. In just a few weeks we have been able to diagnose, treat and prevent possible life threatening events with almost no pain and discomfort. We have prevented pets from going through extensive operative procedures and prolonged healing times. We feel that endoscopy is one of the tools that will set the course for the future of veterinary medicine