Endoscopy is a fast-growing area of diagnostic procedure but as a Veterinarian, you may face challenges including cost and reliability.

Minimally invasive diagnostic procedures on the rise!

With constantly evolving technology, diagnostic equipment is becoming increasingly complex.  In healthcare, a new video endoscope can cost up to £80,000. A staggering cost, but due to the increased number of procedures carried out across the country (procedures are estimated to double within the next five years1), hospitals are happy to pay for high-quality coupled with reliability.

Endoscopes manufactured for the healthcare market come with a hefty price tag for a number of reasons; one is that there are not a significant number of manufacturers and this in turn leads to an increase in prices, another reason is the legislative and regulatory requirements involved, which act as a deterrent to new or emerging market entrants. Additionally, there is a huge focused requirement on expertise; a high-quality endoscope requires skilled designers with knowledge within optical and applied engineering as well as a good understanding of patient safety aspects and usability. As a vet, spending £80,000 on a video scope is probably never going to break even, partially due to the number of procedures carried out but also due to the prices paid for such procedures in the veterinary industry.

What about veterinary?

Endoscopic and minimally invasive diagnostic procedures are on the rise also in the veterinary sector, with vets increasingly taking advantage of rapid technological development in devices. One of the main challenges in the veterinary sector is to find a suitable balance between cost management, reliability and product quality. Second hand refurbished human scopes utilised in the veterinary sector are not uncommon, especially for smaller animals or for undertaking upper airway examinations for equine or livestock. There can however be challenges with this that, if a scope is no longer fit for human use why would it be good enough for our pets? An older scope may also be more difficult to repair due to discontinued elements, meaning more cost and more time for your scope to be out of action.  Is this really a reliable solution for your practice?

As mobile endoscopy becomes more common so too does the search for a solution that is both portable and reliable and importantly that does not rely on a stacking system. This is especially relevant for larger animals such as equine or livestock. Portable systems have been available on the veterinary market for some time now from a variety of veterinary suppliers. The main issues with these systems are the reliability and image quality. Battery driven systems have also been known to have insufficient battery life impacting on the duration of a procedure or poor light quality.

Another consideration are insertion tube lengths that exceed that of a standard type of healthcare scope. A gastroscope for a horse or larger animal needs to be at least 3m to ensure full reach. Companies that base designs and engineering on human healthcare scopes will at times struggle with these insertion tube lengths, especially for portable solutions given that there is an increased need for a sufficient light source. A longer insertion tube requires slightly different electrical and mechanical solutions in order to function efficiently.

To summarise

  • Increased requirements for minimally invasive diagnostic procedures are driving technical innovations in products and systems used.
  • Veterinarians are faced with challenges when purchasing endoscopes due to a significant variability in quality vs products available on the market.
  • The veterinary sector faces challenges relating to cost effectiveness, reliability and portability due to an increase in the need for mobile solutions

Until now, there has not been an endoscope designed specifically for the veterinary market that is portable but with the same exceptional image quality as a health care scope, 8 hours procedural time and an intuitive application which doubles up as a practice management system. STERIS Animal Health launched the Endo-i® Endoscope range earlier this year.

Developed and manufactured by experienced STERIS engineers in the United States, this innovative solution is set to challenge the market. Take a look at the video below to see what B&W Equine thought about the Endo- i® https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nF1k8OZZNoI

You can also find out more by heading to our website: https://www.steris-ims-animalhealth.com/the-endo-i-range/

Endo-i Airways Endo-i Gastroscope Endo-i Companion Scope
Product Reference EQ1510 EQ3013 CA1008
Distal Head Outer Diameter 10.4mm 13.0mm 8.0mm
Insertion Tube Outer 9.8mm 13.0mm 8.0mm
Biopsy Channel 2.8mm 3.7mm 1.8mm
Angulation 180° up
90° down
90° left
90° right
180° up
90° down
160° left
160° right
210° up
90° down
100° left
100° right
Cable Length 1.5m 3m 1m
Resolution Up to: 1080p Up to: 1080p Up to: 1080p
Warranty One Year One Year One Year

Interested? Book your free no obligation demonstration today!


  1. https://www.england.nhs.uk/improvement-hub/wp-content/uploads/sites/44/2017/11/Rapid-Review-of-Endoscopy-Services.pdf

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