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.

Advanced Technique

Minimally Invasive (keyhole) Surgery

The benefits of performing minimally invasive surgery for human patients are well established. These include a shorter hospital stay, smaller incision, less post-operative pain and a quicker return to work.

In dogs and cats, the demand for minimally invasive surgery is increasing as equipment and expertise in this area evolves. Clinical studies in dogs have shown significant advantages compared to traditional open surgery e.g. increased post-operative activity the day after surgery. Minimally invasive surgery also provides improved (magnified) visualisation and the surgical incisions are smaller.


Common abdominal and thoracic surgical procedures that can be performed in dogs and cats at the QMHA using minimally invasive surgical equipment include:

  • Ovariectomy
  • Cryptorchid castration
  • Gastropexy
  • Cystotomy
  • Biopsy of abdominal organs including liver, pancreas, small intestine and kidney pericardectomy
  • Biopsy of pleura, lung, pericardium and/or intrathoracic masses.

Specific advantages

Laparoscopic ovariectomy is particularly useful for large and/or obese dogs, or dogs that are very active and/or working dogs, for which it is desirable that they return to normal exercise and activity levels as soon as possible after surgery.

Laparoscopic assisted gastropexy for prophylaxis of gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV) is a quick and effective method of avoiding a full abdominal surgery, and easily combined with laparoscopic ovariectomy in bitches. Dogs that would benefit from this procedure are those with a history of chronic bloating or partial torsion, or those thought to have a higher risk of developing GDV e.g. Great Danes, and possibly other large breed dogs (especially those with a relative that has developed the condition).

Laparoscopic biopsy allows for direct, magnified observation of the abdominal organ with improved haemostasis and larger sample sizes compared to percutaneous techniques, and has been shown to significantly increase diagnostic accuracy of liver biopsies.

Thoracoscopic pericardectomy or intra-thoracic biopsy are particularly useful treatment options for palliation and/or staging of neoplasia, and in any dog where an invasive thoracotomy is undesirable.

To discuss the suitability of particular cases veterinary colleagues can contact the Soft Tissue Surgery team by phone on 01707 666366 or by email at