Bronchoscopy is the endoscopic evaluation of the primary airways in the lungs and tracheoscopy is the endoscopic study of the trachea. In most cases a small, short flexible scope is used to perform the study. Samples for culture and analysis can be obtained through the bronchoscope using either a fluid lavage technique (the flushing and retrieval of sterile fluid) or a sterile brush. Foreign matter can be identified and often removed. Samples of airway growths can be obtained with biopsy instruments. In larger dogs, the scope can be passed down the throat without disruption of anesthesia or oxygen. Bronchoscopy requires little patient preparation outside of withholding food the morning of the scheduled procedure. Most patients are discharged the same day that the procedure is performed.
The major symptoms and reasons to perform a bronchoscopy/tracheoscopy are:
- Persistent coughing
- Study and removal of foreign matter in the trachea and lungs
- To obtain biopsies from the trachea or major airways
- To aid in the diagnosis of a collapsed trachea or lung
- To obtain samples for testing and sensitivity when pneumonia is suspected
- To determine the location of a tear in the trachea