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Laparoscopic spay surgery

Our registered clients and their dogs can benefit from this minimally invasive surgery - we are the only practice in Manchester to be able to offer laparoscopic spay surgery to our first opinion clients.

Laparoscopic surgery has become the gold standard for a wide range of operations in humans because it is associated with reduced post operative pain. It is commonly referred to as "keyhole" surgery. Sadly, due to the additional equipment costs and training required, laparoscopic spays are rarely performed in dogs in the UK. However, we have made a substantial investment in staff training and equipment and are very pleased to be able to offer this minimally invasive service to our clients and their pets.

The surgical technique enables abdominal surgery (e.g. spay) to be performed by inserting a small camera and specially designed instruments through tiny incisions in the body wall. In many cases the wounds are less than the size of a 1p coin, although occasionally the incisions may be larger.

Monitors mounted in the operating theatre allow the surgeon to visualise the surgical field, allowing very intricate surgical procedures to be performed with minimal trauma. Dogs can be spayed safely and with less pain using laparoscopic surgery.

Although descriptive, we try not to use the term “keyhole” surgery: many vets claim to offer “keyhole” surgery when they are actually offering conventional open surgery performed through smaller than normal incisions. These incisions are still large compared to laparoscopic incisions. The smaller incisions are not beneficial: conventional open surgery carried out through smaller incisions means reduced visualisation of the surgical field. A surgeon pulling on organs he or she cannot see is neither safe nor pain free.

In contrast, laparoscopic surgery is minimally invasive and allows superb visualisation of the surgical field. The magnified view afforded by the small camera (or endoscope) is often better than that achieved during traditional open surgeries. Better visualisation means safer more accurate surgery. In addition, because the laparoscopic incisions are so small, there is less tissue trauma, less pain, less risk of post-operative infections and less risk of wound complications. Pets have shorter recovery times and there is less need to restrict dogs to lead walks for as long after surgery, ideal for boisterous, active bitches.

Laparoscopic spay surgery, is slightly different to the conventional open surgical procedure: only the ovaries are removed leaving the uterus (the womb) in place. In conventional open surgery, both the ovaries and the uterus are removed. However, the conventional procedure has been shown to confer no additional benefit over the laparoscopic technique. 

Laparoscopic equipment is costly to purchase & maintain and requires additional surgical training. At Woodcroft Vets, our laparoscopic spay fees are approximately 60-70pounds more than our standard spay fees. We believe the advantages outweigh the additional costs involved. If your dog is a member of Woodcroft’s Pet Club then we will give a 20% discount off all our early neutering fees, including laparoscopic fees (ask us for more details).

The laparoscopic surgery is carried out at our hospital in Cheadle Hulme on a day case basis. Most pets do not need to stay in overnight, being re-united with their owners later the same day. 

Dogs must not be in season at the time of surgery. As with humans undergoing laparoscopic surgery, there is a very small risk that we may have to convert to an open technique, should technical issues make the laparoscopic technique inappropriate. Your dog will still need to have her tummy clipped. If your dog weighs more than 12kg and you are considering a laparoscopic spay, please contact any of our branches for more details. All of our vets are happy to discuss the benefits of this technique.Should you decide to go ahead, the consultant surgeon will examine your dog on the morning of the operation and discuss the procedure with you.

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