Monash Veterinary Clinic

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Please note, we are closed Friday 26th January for Australia Day, we will reopen on Saturday 28th January at 8:30am.

Laparoscopic Ovariectomies and Spays in Dogs and Cats

At Monash Veterinary Clinic we recommend desexing pets for a number of health and behavioural reasons, and so are proud to be able to offer this service, ensuring our clients have options when it comes to treatments for their pet!

We believe the benefits of laparoscopic ovariectomies and spays in female dogs and cats well outweigh the risks of the procedure when comparing this method to the traditional method of open laparotomy spays, and for a small additional fee we can easily perform this on your pet.

What is laparoscopic surgery?

Laparoscopic surgery is surgery with the assistance of endoscopes.  The abdomen is inflated with medical grade carbon dioxide to allow visualisation of the internal organs.

What desexing procedures are performed?

In most cases we perform ovariectomies (removal of the ovaries only).  This procedure has been done in Europe for many decades.  Removal of the ovaries results in regression of the size of the uterus as there are no longer any reproductive hormones left to affect the uterus.  Leaving the uterus in situ is no problem as uterine tumours are extremely rare in dogs and cats, and even when a normal spay is performed the uterus is never removed completely.  The only time we recommend removal of the uterus as well (ovariohysterectomy/spay) is if there is disease of the uterus.  Ovariohysterectomies can be performed laparoscopically as well.

How does laparoscopic ovariectomies and spays differ from normal surgery?

Normal open laparotomy ovariectomies and spays require a large cut in the abdominal wall ranging from 3-10 cm depending on the size of the female.

Laparoscopic ovariectomies are done through two keyhole (5 mm) incisions.

Laparoscopic spays (ovariohysterectomies) are done through 3 keyhole (two 5 mm and one 10 mm) incisions.

What are the benefits of laparoscopic ovariectomies and spays compared to normal open surgery?

1.       Quicker recovery time.

2.       Small incisions which require 1 stitch in the muscle and tissue glue in the skin.

3.       No risk of herniation of the surgery site.

4.       Less internal bleeding as a special device is used to cauterize and seal blood vessels rather than tied sutures.

5.       Less pain than open surgery.

6.       No need to keep quiet for as long as after open surgery (2-3 days compared to 10-14 days).

7.       Better visualisation of the internal organs of the abdomen to detect disease conditions more easily.

What are the risks of laparoscopic ovariectomies and spays compared to normal open surgery?

1.       The tissue under the skin can sometimes blow up if there is difficult placement of the needle which introduces carbon dioxide into the abdomen.  If this occurs the animal will get puffy under the skin, however it is completely harmless and will disappear after a couple of days.

-          Risk: less than 1%

2.       Gas emboli can sometimes be created, although the risk of this is less than 0.1% through the use of medical grade carbon dioxide as we do.  Emboli if they occur can lodge in tissues like the spleen causing disease. 

-          Risk: less than 0.1%

My friend has had laparoscopic abdominal surgery before and they said the pain in their left shoulder after surgery was excruciating for days, so I am worried my pet will suffer with this.

In humans the pressure used to insufflate the abdomen is 25 mmHg, which is very high.  This high pressure puts pressure on the phrenic nerve in the diaphragm which causes left shoulder pain.  In animals we use much lower pressures of carbon dioxide (8-10 mmHg in medium to large animals and 6-8 mmHg in small/toy sized animals), which has not been noted to irritate the nerve in the diaphragm and this pain has not been reported in dogs and cats, so we do not find it an issue.