Advanced Techniques & Specialist Procedures

Advanced Techniques & Specialist Procedures

Since its establishment as the first veterinary school in the English-speaking world, the RVC has pioneered new veterinary techniques and procedures. We are at the forefront of advancements in veterinary surgery and medicine. Many treatments that our leading specialists pioneer eventually become established in veterinary services around the world, benefiting animals everywhere.

Laser lithotripsy

We are one of a small number of veterinary centres in the world proficient in this technique, and the only service in the UK offering the treatment. As shown in the above video, the laser breaks up and allows the removal of stones (uroliths) that form in the urinary tract.

Laser lithotripsy is a minimally-invasive treatment and therefore has advantages over the traditional surgical method of stone removal. One key advantage is patients recover more quickly and frequently return home the next day.

The laser is guided to the area of the stones by a cystoscope, which is a specialised endoscope for the urinary tract. The cystoscope is passed into the body via the urethra, allowing the laser to be positioned against the stone. The laser causes the urolith to break up so pieces can be removed by the cystoscope or be passed naturally.

Success rates

The technique is effective on stones found in the urethra or bladder. Treatment of uroliths by laser is particularly successful in female animals, but the success rate in male dogs is also very high, at approximately 80%. The results are comparable with the success rates for stone removal by surgery.

Other applications of the laser at RVC

The laser can be used for the removal of polyps, relocation of intramural ectopic ureters and for biopsy of neoplastic lesions within the urinary tract.