Content continues after advertisement

Capsule Endoscopy for GI Imaging

Julia Bates, DVM, DACVIM (SAIM), Madison Veterinary Specialists, Madison, Wisconsin

Internal Medicine

March 2017

Sign in to Print/View PDF

In the Literature

Hardy BT, Gentile-Solomon J, Solomon JA. Multiple gastric erosions diagnosed by means of capsule endoscopy in a dog. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2016;249(8):926-930.

From the Page …

Multiple imaging modalities are used to evaluate patients with GI disease. This case report described the novel use of capsule endoscopy to diagnose gastric erosions in a 6-year-old spayed female golden retriever with a 2-week history of weight loss, abdominal pain, and progressive inappetence. Other than a mild microcytosis and hypochromasia, the minimum database was within normal limits. Abdominal ultrasonography did not reveal any abnormalities. 

After fasting, a capsule capable of capturing video images was orally administered. Once passed, the capsule was returned for download. Captured images revealed numerous mucosal erosions and hemorrhages throughout the stomach as well as rare mucosal fissures and dilated lymphatics in the proximal small intestine. Additional diagnostic testing was declined. 

The dog was treated with a combination of omeprazole for gastric acid suppression and the cytoprotective medication sucralfate for 6 weeks. It was also transitioned to a novel protein, lamb-based diet. The dog’s clinical signs resolved within 48 hours of starting therapy. The underlying cause of the gastric erosions was never identified. Capsule endoscopy repeated 6 weeks later revealed subjective improvement in the lesions; no new lesions were identified. Treatment with omeprazole and sucralfate was continued for an additional 2 weeks. The dog was noted to be clinically normal during follow-up 9 months after the initial visit. 

This article showed how capsule endoscopy may be useful as a noninvasive alternative to endoscopy. Potential benefits include that it can be performed on an outpatient basis, that it allows image capture of the entire GI tract, that it can be easily repeated, and that it does not require general anesthesia. It also may be less expensive than endoscopy, and the potential for complications is low. 

Potential limitations include that the capsule may be too big for small-breed dogs and cats to pass, that ingesta may obscure adequate image collection, that image interpretation may be delayed as capsules need to be sent out, and that GI biopsy may still be required in many patients.

… To Your Patients 

Key pearls to put into practice:


Evaluation of GI disease often requires multiple imaging modalities; no single modality is both highly sensitive and highly specific in all cases.


As additional capsule endoscopy data are collected, capsule endoscopy will likely become an easy, noninvasive way to evaluate GI motility and GI transit times and to gather information about mucosal lesions.


Capsule endoscopy will not replace the need for GI biopsy.

For global readers, a calculator to convert laboratory values, dosages, and other measurements to SI units can be found here.

All Clinician's Brief content is reviewed for accuracy at the time of publication. Previously published content may not reflect recent developments in research and practice.

Material from Clinician's Brief may not be reproduced, distributed, or used in whole or in part without prior permission of Educational Concepts, LLC. For questions or inquiries please contact us.


Clinician's Brief:
The Podcast
Listen as host Alyssa Watson, DVM, talks with the authors of your favorite Clinician’s Brief articles. Dig deeper and explore the conversations behind the content here.
Clinician's Brief provides relevant diagnostic and treatment information for small animal practitioners. It has been ranked the #1 most essential publication by small animal veterinarians for 9 years.*

*2007-2017 PERQ and Essential Media Studies

© Educational Concepts, L.L.C. dba Brief Media ™ All Rights Reserved. Terms & Conditions | Privacy Policy | Acceptable Use Policy