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By Dr. Jennifer Kitchen
Published: January 27, 2011

Chronic Vomiting, Diarrhea and Veterinary Endoscopy
Vomiting more than 1-3 times per year is not normal. Regardless of what you have been told, your pet does not eat too fast and it is not ok for cats to vomit every week. This is a myth. If you vomited once a week, would you consider it normal? Even if your pet has been doing this for years without any apparent adverse effect (such as weight loss), your pet may likely have chronic gastrointestinal discomfort and would lead a happier healthier life with a proper diagnosis and therapy.
Chronic gastrointestinal disease can be caused by a variety of problems including simple things like parasites or dietary allergies and intolerances, to more serious conditions such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease or Intestinal Lymphoma (cancer). There are also some diseases that mimic gastrointestinal signs but are actually caused by other organ or metabolic dysfunctions (aka "extra-GI causes").
Once routine screening has ruled out extra-GI causes the next step is often to obtain biopsies of the stomach or intestines for a pathologic diagnosis of the exact gastrointestinal disease. These biopsies may be obtained with traditional surgery or with non-invasive Gastrointestinal Endoscopy.
Endoscopy is performed under anesthesia but the procedure is brief and pets usually go home the same day. There are no incisions. The camera is passed into the stomach and first part of the intestines via the mouth (as they do in humans). Very small biopsies are taken with a small forceps that is passed through the scope. These samples are sent to the pathologist and a diagnosis can be made.
By performing procedures endoscopically we can offer our patients less pain, minimal recovery time and fewer complications. Overall, the  procedure and is a less painful and traumatic alternative for both you and your pet. By performing these procedures "in-house" we are also reducing the cost (as compared to having the procedure done by a specialist) and inconvenience to you.
If you would like to discuss this procedure or if your pet may have chronic gastrointestinal disease schedule an appointment with one of our doctors today. You may reach us at 310-372-8881 or email our medical director at