Tracheoscopy is a procedure that allows the inner lining (mucosa) of the upper respiratory tract (trachea) to be endoscopically examined. During tracheoscopy, the endoscope is gently inserted through the mouth and then into the trachea. The lining of the trachea is examined for disease, which may show up as abnormal blood vessels, polyps, masses or abnormal secretions. Abnormalities are biopsied and submitted to a veterinary pathologist for evaluation for cancer, infection and inflammation.
This picture was taken during tracheoscopy in a cat. The blood vessels are more prominent than normal, and the tracheal mucosa is redder than normal. Tracheitis (inflammation of the trachea) was diagnosed.
Dogs and cats may accidentally inhale foreign objects (for example, grass awns and pieces of food) that lodge in the upper respiratory tract. These can usually be removed at the time of the tracheoscopy.
Symptoms that your pet may be exhibiting to indicate that they may need a tracheoscopy could include chronic cough, wheeze or a gagging or retching sound.