Advantages of Laparoscopic Spays
Have you been considering having your dog spayed but are unsure how you will be able to keep them quiet during their long recovery? Are you worried about the size of the procedure and how it will affect your pet? Maybe a laparoscopic spay is the answer you have been looking for.
Laparoscopic spays are becoming an increasingly popular alternative to traditional spays and are now widely carried out in our practice. Owners have been impressed with the results and are often amazed at how quickly their dogs recover from surgery.
What is a spay?
A spay, otherwise known as neutering or de-sexing, is a surgical procedure that is performed in female dogs to remove their reproductive organs; the ovaries and sometimes the uterus (or womb).
Traditionally, this procedure is carried out through an abdominal incision over your pet’s tummy. The uterus and ovaries are then located so they can be safely removed. At the end of the surgery, the incision is closed with several stitches. You will then need to closely monitor your dog and keep her quiet for the next 10 to 14 days.
The advantages of spaying your dog
There are many reasons why you might choose to spay your female dog:
- To prevent your dog from having puppies after an accidental mating.
- To stop your dog from having seasons.
- After a season, some dogs can suffer from a pseudopregnancy (false pregnancy). This can be distressing for your pet to go through and can recur if your pet is not spayed before her next season.
- Spaying can prevent a life-threatening uterine infection called pyometra. This serious condition can result in your pet becoming severely unwell and needing emergency surgery.
- Removing the ovaries will prevent any ovarian disease (e.g. ovarian cancer) from occurring.
- Spaying your pet before they are two and a half will provide them with some protection against the development of mammary tumours in later life. In dogs, approximately 50% of mammary tumours are malignant.
What is laparoscopy?
Laparoscopic surgery or keyhole surgery is now common practice in the medical world. It has advanced surgical procedures in hospitals by enabling patients to recover faster. These advanced techniques are now starting to be used in veterinary practices for certain routine surgeries.
This type of keyhole surgery is performed through two or three small incisions in your pet’s abdomen. These incisions allow the passage of either a thin camera or surgical instruments. Our vets then use the camera to see inside their patient so they can safely and gently perform the surgery, resulting in less trauma for the patient.
We now perform Laparoscopy in our practice, where we routinely use it for our spay procedures. Our vets have all completed the necessary training and are confident and experienced in performing this surgery, so you can be certain that your dog is in safe hands.
How is a laparoscopic spay performed?
A laparoscopic spay is very similar to a traditional spay, except that only the ovaries are removed. In comparison, both the ovaries and uterus are usually removed during a traditional spay surgery.
Leaving the uterus does not make any difference to your dog because we now know that only the ovaries need to be removed to prevent the uterine infection, pyometra. We also know that uterine diseases (e.g. tumours) are very uncommon in dogs, so there is minimal risk from leaving the uterus behind.
What happens during a laparoscopic spay:
- Your dog will be given a general anaesthetic so they will be asleep throughout the whole procedure.
- Once asleep, our nurses will clip and clean the skin over your dog’s abdomen.
- Our vet will make 2 or 3 small incisions into your dog’s abdomen.
- Using special laparoscopic instruments and the camera, our vet will remove both of your dog’s ovaries.
- After the operation, each incision will be closed with a single stitch.
- Your dog will stay with us until she has fully recovered from the anaesthetic and is ready to go home. Most of our patients recover very quickly from this procedure.
The benefits of a laparoscopic spay.
Laparoscopic spays are a surgical advancement that also provides many benefits for our pets compared to a traditional spay surgery. Your dog will benefit from a simpler and less invasive surgery and will have a quicker and more comfortable recovery.
Reduced pain levels
Laparoscopic surgery is minimally invasive and provides our vets with a superior view inside your dog’s abdomen. This results in fewer complications during the procedure and less trauma to the surrounding tissues when the ovaries are removed. Your pet will feel less pain following a laparoscopic spay so they will recover more quickly and feel more comfortable after the surgery. Often your pet will only need a couple of days of pain relief before being back to their normal self.
The small incisions will heal very quickly compared to the larger incision that is required for a traditional spay. As a result, the wounds from a laparoscopic spay will often be virtually healed within a couple of days.
Quicker recovery time
After a laparoscopic spay, you only need to restrict your dog's exercise for a couple of days. Because the incisions in the muscles of the body wall are so much smaller, this is a lot shorter than the 10-14 days of rest that is needed after a traditional spay. This means that after keyhole surgery, you will be able to get back to your dog’s normal routine quickly and resume any training sessions or canine activity classes.
Fewer post-operative complications
During a laparoscopic spay, our vets will have a clear view of your dog’s ovaries so they are easier to remove. This means that there is less risk of any post-operative complications developing. In addition, because the incisions are small and heal quickly, there is less chance of any infections or problems developing after the surgery. Your pet will also be more comfortable, so there is less risk of them wanting to traumatise their stitches and break down their healing wounds.
Choosing to book your dog in to be spayed can feel like a big decision, but our vets are always happy to discuss the spay procedure with you and will answer any questions you might have about laparoscopic surgery. After the surgery, our team is also here to answer any questions or concerns you may have about your pet’s recovery.