Gastroduodenoscopy is a procedure that allows the lining (mucosa) of the stomach and first part of the small intestines (duodenum) to be examined with the use of a flexible endoscope.
This endoscopic picture is taken from within the stomach of a dog. Straight ahead (the puckered area) is the opening to the small intestine (called the pylorus). Notice the dark spots in the picture, which are ulcers and active bleeding.
During gastroduodenoscopy, the endoscope is gently passed through the mouth, down the esophagus and into the stomach. The lining of the stomach is evaluated for abnormalities, before the endoscope is passed through the opening to the intestines (pylorus) and into the duodenum. The mucosa of the stomach and the duodenum are examined for disease, which may appear as discolorations, irregularities, abnormal blood vessels, polyps or masses. Abnormalities are biopsied and submitted to a veterinary pathologist for evaluation for cancer and inflammation.
Symptoms that your pet may be showing which could indicate that a gastroduodenoscopy may be helpful include not eating, finicky appetite (having to constantly change foods to maintain interest in eating), chronic vomiting, chronic diarrhea, unexplained weight loss or bloody or black stools.
This video clip shows the lining of the small intestine dramatically magnified by the endoscope.