John Ball Zoo

Unique Cases Call For Specialized Testing: Snake Endoscopy

In a recent blog, I shared one of our recent cases involving “Ruby,” one of our Magellanic Penguins who needed some specialized testing. Earlier this Summer, we 

turned to our friends at Blue Pearl for another case. This one involved a Milksnake who needed an endoscopy. Endoscopy is a test involving a long, tubular camera that can be passed into an animal allowing us to see what th

e camera sees. This can be performed through the mouth into the esophagus and stomach, a test we call a Gastroscopy. In some cases a smaller instrument is passed into the trachea and into the lungs in a test that is labeled a “Bronchoscopy.”


When we needed to perform a Gastroscopy in a relatively small snake, the only tool appropriate for the test was a Bronchoscope. That was when we contacted Dr. Kristopher Sharpe, Veterinary Internist and Hospital Director of the Blue Pearl Veterinary Partners location here in Grand Rapids. Using his bronchoscope, we were able to perform the procedure that this snake needed even though he was too small for the traditional gastroscope instruments which would have been too large.


The procedure went very smoothly and the patient has been doing wonderfully. We are very thankful to Dr. Sharpe and the team at Blue Pearl Veterinary Partners, who are excellent partners in the health care of our patients here at the John Ball Zoo.