Endoscopes are small "telescopes" that are used to look inside pets. You are familiar with how a veterinarian does a thorough physical examination of the outside of your pet - checking everything visible from the nose to the toes. The endoscope allows a veterinarian to do the same sort of examination of your bird's internal organs to assess their health. This is extremely helpful to determine an underlying cause for many illnesses that elude detection through bloodwork and other routine diagnostic labwork.
Celioscopy is the name of the procedure where the endoscope is inserted into the body of an anesthetized bird. Depending on what organs need to be examined, the procedure may be done on the left side, right side, or belly of a bird. The incision is small, less than 1/2" long in most cases.
This is a view of the liver of an African grey parrot. The liver is abnormal in color and larger than it should be.
Once a bird has been examined, the veterinarian may decide that a biopsy of one or more internal organs are needed to better assess the patient's health. Fortunately this is easily done with a special tool that slides down a tube in the endoscope. The doctor can see exactly what he or she is doing and can also monitor the biopsy site afterward to make sure there is no abnormal bleeding. The amount of tissue taken this was is extremely small, often no bigger than the hole in this letter "o".
This is the same liver as above after the biopsy. The liver's color is different because a protective capsule over the liver was removed as part of the biopsy procedure. A small spot of blood shows where a portion of the liver was removed.
After the celioscopy is completed, the small hole in the bird's side is closed and the bird is woken up from anesthesia.
The endoscope can also be used to observe other organs. It can be used to evaluate the cloaca, the esophagus, crop, and trachea. In some birds an incision is made in at the base of the throat to better observe different organs.
In many cases the birds can go home the same day as their endoscopic procedures if they do not need hospitalization for their conditions.
Kevin Wright DVM
Arizona Exotic Animal Hospital
744 N Center Street
Mesa, AZ 85201
(480) 275 7017