There are times when radiographs and ultrasounds just cannot give us the information we need; in these cases, sometimes endoscopy can help us achieve a diagnosis. An endoscope contains a light source and camera at the end of a long tube. ECO has three different types of endoscopes, and with recent upgrades to their equipment, all three are able to travel to your farm!
The first portable endoscope is a one-meter length flexible endoscope. This can be used at our clients’ farms to examine the upper airway (e.g., nasal passages, guttural pouches, pharyngeal area, and portions of the trachea), a portion of the esophagus, and possibly the uterus and bladder of a horse. One of the more common reasons this scope is used is to look at the larynx of a poor-performing horse. It is the device used to diagnose roaring (laryngeal hemiplegia) and other diseases affecting the horse’s airway. Frequently these horses are examined prior to and immediately after strenuous exercise. This scope was recently upgraded, and we now have the capability to capture and store images. It also works off a laptop computer, so you can watch the exam alongside us.
The second endoscope ECO has is a gastroscope. This is a specially designed three-meter length flexible endoscope, and with recent advances in technology, now runs off a laptop computer. That means it is also now a portable scope. The gastroscope is used for visualizing the interior of a stomach, esophagus, the entire length of the trachea, urethra, bladder, and uterus. A gastroscope is the only way to clearly determine if your horse has a gastric (stomach) ulcer. The gastroscope can capture and store images that can then be sent electronically to a specialist or saved for future reference.
A recent addition to ECO’s equipment line-up is a rigid endoscope designed for use as an adjunct to examining your horses’ mouths. This tool can be used to examine the anatomy of the equine mouth and will allow us to view the hard-to-reach areas of the mouth to better examine and find areas of concern. With recent advances in equine dentistry, this tool is rapidly becoming indispensable for finding areas that need to be addressed in the horse’s mouth.