Each year in the United States, 83% of pet dogs and 91% of pet cats are spayed or neutered. Having your pet “fixed” has many advantages; besides reducing pet overpopulation, spaying and neutering can reduce the risk of certain cancers and ameliorate behavioral problems in many cases.
While both spaying and neutering are surgical procedures, neutering is relatively simple and straightforward. A traditional spay, however, where the entire reproductive system is removed from the body through an incision in the abdomen, is considered major abdominal surgery.
Traditional spay surgery remained relatively unchanged for decades, until now. Laparoscopic surgery has changed everything in the world of veterinary medicine, and we are thrilled to share this exciting information with our readers and clients.
What Is Laparoscopic Spaying?
Laparoscopic surgery is performed with the assistance of a fiber-optic camera (laparoscope) inserted through a small opening in the abdominal wall. This instrument allows surgeons to view the abdominal organs on an external video monitor and perform surgical procedures without the need for opening large entry points into the body.
In our laparoscopic spay, one small incision (port) is made in the abdomen through which the laparoscope and surgical instrument are inserted. The surgeon is able to view a magnified image of the uterus and ovaries on the video monitor, which allows the surgeon to make tiny, precise cuts that release the ovaries and uterus from their supporting ligaments. After the surrounding blood vessels are cauterized, the port is closed.
Reasons To Consider Laparoscopic Spaying For Your Pet
- Because the surgeon can see the internal structures clearly, only tiny, precise cuts are needed to perform the procedure.
- Pets that undergo a laparoscopic spay experience considerably less pain than those having a traditional spay, and usually need less pain medication.
- The surgical opening for a laparoscopic spay is much smaller than in a traditional surgery. This reduces the chance for infection and other complications related to wound closure and healing.
- Overall recovery and healing time is significantly shorter with the use of laparoscopy.
- In large, deep chested dogs, a gastropexy, which is a preventive procedure done to prevent gastric torsion (bloating), can also be performed at the same time through the same port.
- The use of the camera allows your veterinarian to view nearby organs and structures, providing an opportunity to spot other issues during your pet’s surgery.
What About Neutering?
The testicles of male puppies and kittens typically descend from the abdomen within the first three months of life. In some cases, however, the testicles never descend and this condition, called cryptorchidism, can end up causing serious problems for the animal later in life, including testicular cancer.
Laparoscopy is generally not used for a typical neutering procedure, however, in the case of a cryptorchidism, it is an extremely effective way of removing the testes from the abdomen. As with a laparoscopic spay procedure, the prognosis and recovery time are greatly improved when a laparoscopic cryptochidetomy is performed.
Due to the specialized equipment required for a laparoscopic procedure, the cost is generally a bit more than that of a traditional spay surgery. For many pet owners, the benefits provided by laparoscopy are worth it.
At Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center, we consider cutting edge laparoscopic spay surgery to be a preferable alternative to many traditional procedures. Contact us at any time to discuss your options for spaying or neutering your pet.