Laparoscopic surgery aka Keyhole surgery, is a minimally invasive type of surgery. At Animal House Vets we are delighted to be able to offer our clients this gold standard for neutering.
Laparoscopic Ovariectomy (“Lap Spay”)
Most vets will perform a complete ovariohysterectomy via a midline incision to spay a female dog. However, at The Animal House, we have the equipment and expertise to give our clients the option of the alternative gold standard laparoscopic ovariectomy. Removal of the ovaries alone by keyhole surgery is much less traumatic than a traditional ovariohysterectomy where the ovaries and uterus are removed. Removing the ovaries removes the hormonal drive which leads to ovarian infection (pyometra) and cancer, and so once the ovaries are removed the risk of uterine disease is very small. Removing the source of these hormones also reduces the risk of developing mammary cancer later in life too.
The pre-operative preparation for both procedures are the same, and your pet will only stay with us for the day. Both procedures require a full general anaesthetic, and take a similar amount of time to perform. However, with a laparoscopic spay two small wounds (instead of one larger wound) are made on the dog’s tummy. Gas is introduced through one hole to create an internal “tent” so that all the organs can be visualised. The laparoscope (camera) is introduced through this port so the surgeon can see everything. The surgical instruments are introduced through the second port and the ovaries can then be removed.
We will consider laparoscopic surgery for the majority of female dogs. However, in very small dogs there is not enough space for the keyhole cameras and instruments and so a traditional open surgery is safer. Older dogs may have uterine issues and so a traditional surgery would also be more appropriate for them; and we would also not recommend the procedure for severely overweight dogs due to increased risks.
- There is significantly less pain after a laparoscopic ovariectomy operation compared to a traditional spay.
- The surgical wounds are much smaller - usually a 5mm and a 10mm incision are all that is required.
- There is a quicker recovery time – usually there is a 10-14 day rest/recovery period after a traditional spay; with laparoscopic surgery the rest/recovery period is usually only 5 days.
- There is a significantly reduced risk of complications.
- Bleeding from the surgical site is less due to the surgeon having better visualisation of the ovaries and the use of thermocautery to seal vessels.
- A larger fur clip patch is usually required as we “pick up” the ovaries internally from the outside with suture material placed through the side of the abdominal body wall. Therefore, most dogs will have a diamond shape clip, the points of which will extend up the abdomen sides.
- Complications can happen during the procedure, as with any surgery, but they are rare with laparoscopic spays. In the worst case, a keyhole procedure is simply converted to a traditional open surgery with no long-term consequences.
Laparoscopic Cryptorchiectomy (Castration with undescended testicles)
In some male dogs one or both testicles can fail to descend into the scrotum during development. This is called cryptorchidism. A testicle that is retained within the body is at much higher risk of developing cancer and so we always advise that these are removed. Traditionally this requires an open abdominal surgery with a large wound. However, at The Animal House, we can offer this procedure laparoscopically which is much less invasive, much less painful and has a much quicker recovery time.