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  • Jess Ellis

Why Consider a Lap (Keyhole) Spay?

Let's talk about dog spays!

Neutering female dogs is generally recommended in most breeds for a variety of reasons. Namely, the procedure can reduce the risk of mammary tumours, and completely prevent ovarian tumours, unwanted pregnancies and uterine infections. A spayed dog can also be easier to manage, with no ‘periods’ and unwanted attention from male dogs.

Understandably owners worry about their pet undergoing any surgery and spaying, whilst routine, is an abdominal surgery. Traditional surgery involves a lengthier recovery period and can be associated with some degree of post-surgery pain. However, technical advancements now mean that spaying can be completed with significantly reduced recovery time, reduced post operative pain, and reduced risk of complications.

Here at Stone Court Vets, we are one of the few veterinary practices in the Cardiff and wider area to perform keyhole procedures. One of our vets, Jess, has been performing this surgery for a while now; we recognise the benefits and are excited to offer this alongside our traditional surgery so our clients have the choice between both options.

Laparoscopic ovariectomy, or ‘lap spay’ - what is it?

This is a minimally invasive surgical procedure which is now considered to be the gold standard in neutering for female dogs. Instead of the traditional open surgery that involves a longer midline incision and removal of the uterus and the ovaries, this surgery uses two very small (0.5-1.2cm) keyhole ports to enter the abdomen of a female dog. The first allows camera access to give a clear image of the internal organs. The other incision allows for surgical instruments to enter cleanly, removing only the dog’s ovaries.

The advantages of keyhole v traditional

  • Less pain

The incision made between the muscles of the abdominal wall during a traditional spay is between 3cm and 7cm long depending on the individual. These incisions are more traumatic than the small ‘keyhole’ incisions made during the laparoscopic procedure.

Removing the ovaries during laparoscopic surgery is much more controlled, too. The ovaries are suspended by a long ligament with broad attachments to the body wall, during keyhole surgery these are precisely cauterised and cut, as opposed to the stretching, and tearing needed during a traditional spay.

This results in less tissue trauma resulting in far less post-operative pain, making for a more comfortable overall experience.

  • No collars required!

Traditional incisions in the abdomen are significantly larger than the laparoscopic incisions. We usually place external sutures that must not be licked for around 10 days. Therefore our traditional spays will go home with either an Elizabethan collar (cone of shame) or a medical pet shirt. Most of our laparoscopic patients do not bother with their wounds. We tend to glue the small skin incisions, so no suture is exposed. This means no cumbersome Elizabethan collar is often needed to keep on your dog after the surgery!

  • Back to running in the park sooner!

One of the greatest benefits of lap-spay is its significantly shorter recovery period. We advise dogs undergoing traditional spaying are given around 10 days to recuperate post surgery, during which very short lead walks only are advised. Keeping young and active dogs rested (and prevented from interfering with their wounds) for this length of time can be a huge challenge for owners! With a lap-spay, your dog can be spayed, rested, and fully recovered in as little as two to three days – meaning less stress for both of you during the post-operative period.

Please visit our services page or contact us to find out more and whether this type of surgery is right for your dog.

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