Keyhole surgery, otherwise known as laparoscopic surgery, is a form of minimally invasive surgery. It is considered by many to be the gold standard for neutering female dogs in particular. 

Can every dog have keyhole surgery for neutering?

For very small dogs, if there is not enough space for our keyhole cameras and instruments, traditional open surgery is safer so this will be discussed with your vet to ensure the most appropriate surgery is undertaken. For older dogs, who may already have early stages of disease in their womb or for dogs with confirmed disease of their womb, traditional open surgery to allow easy removal of their womb is advised. We would also recommend open surgery in patients that are severely overweight, although, as with our traditional surgeries, a pre-surgical weight loss programme to reduce overall increased risk would be recommended. 

Laparoscopic Neutering for Bitches

Why choose Laparoscopic Ovariectomy?

  • There is a reduction in the amount of pain after the keyhole spaying operation.
  • The surgical wounds are much smaller with keyhole surgery: 0.5 to 1 cm compared to 6 to 15 cm which mean your dog is likely to have a speedier recovery.
  • Your pet will return to their normal level of exercise sooner. Normally she must rest for 10-14 days, but after laparoscopic surgery only 5 days rest is required on average.
  • There is a a significantly reduced risk of complications.
  • Bleeding from the surgical site is less due to the surgeon having much better visualisation of the ovaries and using advanced equipment to seal the vessels.

What does Laparoscopic Ovariectomy involve?  

In many ways the process is similar to the traditional spay, all aspects of pre-surgical preparation are identical and your pet will only need to be with us for the day. The main difference is the process once your pet is under anaesthetic. Two small wounds are made on the dogs under-surface. A small amount of gas is introduced internally through the first wound, to lift the body wall away from the internal organs, creating an internal ‘tent’ effect. A small camera is then inserted into the patient through the same wound to see the ovaries. Surgical instruments are inserted through the second wound to remove the ovaries. In female dogs, we only remove the ovaries and leave the womb (uterus) inside.  This is now routine practice in young dogs undergoing both keyhole and traditional surgery here at RVC Beaumont Sainsbury Animal Hospital. 

How much is a laparoscopic spay operation?

Bitches 0-10kg  £415.00
Bitches 10.1 - 25.0kg £540.00
Bitches 25.1kg+ £640.00

(Prices as at 1st January 2020)

Why does the laparoscopic ovariectomy cost more than a traditional spay?

Keyhole surgery requires the use of highly specialised equipment, including small cameras, video screens and special instruments, some of which can only be used once. 

Does keyhole spaying have any downsides?

For keyhole surgery, we clip a larger area of fur extending up both sides of the dogs. This allows us to pick up the ovaries internally from the outside as they are actually very close to the spine of a dog.  Complications can happen with any surgery, but they are very rare. In the worst case, keyhole surgery is converted to traditional open surgery, with no long-term consequences.  

I see that only the ovaries are removed, what are the health risks to my pet if the womb is left inside?

Simple removal of the ovaries is less traumatic than combined removal of the ovaries and womb. Womb disease in dogs, including infection and cancer, are mainly due to the female hormone, oestrogen. Oestrogen is produced by the ovaries, so as long as these are removed, the risks of womb diseases are very small.   

Laparoscopic Neutering for Male Dogs

Laparoscopic vasectomy operations are not our standard method of male dog neutering. If this is something you are considering, please discuss this with your vet so that they can explore the options with you and advise why we recommend a standard neutering approach for the majority of our male canine patients who require it.

To book your pet in for a laparoscopic spay or speak to a member of our surgical team please call 020 7387 8134.  

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