Tiny camera capsule films dog digestive tracts

Alison Morrow reports reports.

A tiny capsule with 4 cameras is revolutionizing veterinary technology, and helped a sick Arlington dog.

"Sparky" Sorensen started vomiting a month ago. First, his owners took him to an emergency clinic.

"A week later, same thing," said Lori Sorensen.

The second time, they took him to his regular vet.

"Then it happened again," she said.

X-rays showed nothing, and neither did blood work. Pills only helped for a few days.

"Like a sick kid," Sorensen said. "I'd sit up with him, sit on the floor with him, because he was in pain."

Normally, the option for Sparky would be anesthesia and endoscopy, which is a tube with a camera that veterinarians push through the digestive tract.

But that's not how vets got video of Sparky's insides.

"The camera can handle about 18 hours of video," explained Dr. Jeff Mayo.

Dr. Mayo is one of the first vets in the country to use the technology. It has lights, 4 cameras to get a 360 degree view, and runs by battery.

Sparky swallowed it and his owners kept their eye out the next day.

"Catch it on the other end," Sorensen laughed.

Dr. Krystal Grant is Sparky's regular vet. She's happy to offer the option.

"Image quality was really, really good," Dr. Grant explained.

Humans have had it for several years, but it's only been available to animals for about 6 months. It cuts cost in half because there's no procedure, no hospital stay - just a swallow.

"Then he went home and got to live his life and chase frisbees," Dr. Grant said.

Plus, endoscopy procedures can cause internal damage and only capture the first part of the digestive tract. This camera films Sparky's entire digestive journey, and can find tumors and lesions, as well as damage caused by regularly prescribed pharmaceuticals.

"In parts of the intestinal track and we didn't know they were there," Dr. Mayo explained.

Luckily, the camera only found minor inflammation in Sparky's gut.

"Oh yea. I can sleep now," Sorensen smiled.


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