My horse needs a scope – does it hurt?
This is another common question about getting a gastroscopy done on your horse. My horse needs a scope – does it hurt?
I’ll deal with the answer quickly and right to the point so you don’t need to worry about it anymore: No! The horse does not get hurt when having a gastroscope. The diameter of the endoscope is approximately 1cm in diameter, and this means the horse does not feel it when it is inside its stomach.
The horse is lightly sedated, as sometimes it does tickle a bit when going down the nose, and can be a bit irritating. This sedation ensures the horse stands still, and is not a danger to itself or to the people involved with are doing the gastroscopy. The horse might be spooked having strange equipment and people all around its head, so it is safer to have the horse sedated. It would also be impossible to remove the 3 metre long scope quickly if in an emergency if the horse is not sedated.
A word of warning though, which is something I feel I should mention in case you have never seen a horse scoped before: Sometimes when the scope is being removed, it flicks a bit back on the top of the inside of the nostril, which can cause a slight bleed to happen. Depending on the horse, it could be a small splash to a little trickle. Although this might seem alarming, don’t worry about it as it stops bleeding very quickly. If you are disturbed by the sight of blood, just be aware this can happen, so be prepared to look away if this happens.
Here is a video below showing more about how a gastroscopy would work for your horse to see if it has equine gastric ulcers: