Gastroscopy is a procedure that we can readily perform at our clinic to examine a horse's stomach. It involves passing a fibre optic camera up a horse's nose, down the oesophagus and then into the stomach. To perform this the horse must have been starved for at least 10 hours, and not been allowed to drink for the hour prior to the procedure, commonly they are sedated for this procedure.
During this procedure we can examine the oesophagus, the lining of the stomach and where the small intestine leaves the stomach, including where bile is ejected to mix with the food.
We may recommend this procedure if we suspect the horse has gastric ulcers, is displaying signs of recurrent colic or weight loss, or has had an episode of choke and we need to check the oesophagus has not become damaged. We can also perform biopsies of the start of the small intestine this way, a part called the duodenum.