Your pet may be referred to the University of Missouri Veterinary Health Center for a colonoscopy for a variety of reasons. Some of the common reasons include diarrhea, irregular or bloody stools, or a confirmed or suspected mass. An important part of a colonoscopy is the preparation. The bowels must be free of most stool in order for our doctors to see the inside through the scope.
Scheduling your Appointment
The Small Animal Internal Medicine Service sees new appointments Monday through Thursday. Pets are required to have an appointment at the hospital a minimum of 24 hours before the scheduled colonoscopy. The best appointment times for your pet are early! The sooner we can start your pet’s bowel preparation, the better.
Preparing for the Procedure
We ask that you withhold food from your pet the night before and the morning of its scheduled appointment. We may ask that you administer a stool softener called lactulose at home prior to your appointment; this can generally be obtained from your own veterinarian or through a local pharmacy. Once your pet is admitted to our hospital, we will begin a treatment to flush the gastrointestinal tract. We typically use a liquid medication that is given orally called GoLYTELY. We will also begin administering warm water enemas the night before the colonoscopy and the morning of the procedure. In most cases, the colonoscopy is performed not on the day of the appointment but instead is done the following day so that we can completely clean out the colon.
Importance of Prep
Ensuring a thorough preparation for a colonoscopy is essential. We must have clear visualization for our camera so we are able to assess the mucosal lining in the colon (i.e., large intestines) as well as navigate to needed areas. This allows for a more useful test and a shorter time under general anesthesia. Also, the cleaner the colon, the better our diagnostic samples will be. With every colonoscopy, we take small biopsies from various regions that must be free of feces to be analyzed.
Patients who have undergone a colonoscopy are generally able to go home the same day as their procedure. However, the animal will still have some diarrhea. The clinician treating your pet will be able to discuss with you what to expect.
During the colonoscopy, an endoscopist will take small biopsy samples of select areas in the colon. Most patients are able to go home the same day as their procedure, but will continue to have loose stool. Our clinicians will be able to give you immediate information about what they saw during the procedure; however, the biopsy samples take about a week to process. We will contact you by phone once all the tests are completed.
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us! You may ask for a technician in the Small Animal Internal Medicine Service. If your primary veterinarian has referred your pet to us for a colonoscopy, it is beneficial to ask if your veterinarian can call and consult with one of our clinicians here on the service as well.