Laparoscopic spay is an alternative to the traditional or "open" method of spaying which has a number of advantages.
With a traditional spay, known as ovariohysterectomy, the ovaries and the uterus are removed through an incision in the mid abdomen which varies from approximately 5-15cm long depending on the size of the dog.
With a laparoscopic spay, two small incisons 0.5-1cm long are made to allow the entry of a fibre optic camera and an instrument port. The ovaries are then removed with the help of a blood vessel sealing device. This is known as ovariectomy. The procedure is performed using the help of a TV monitor just as in human keyhole surgery.
There are a number of benefits to the laparoscopic spay.
- The incisions are smaller and there is less "tugging" on the internal organs which means that the procedure is significantly less painful than a traditional spay and subsequently the anaesthetic is smoother.
- The recovery is faster and there is less post operative pain due to the smaller incisions.
- Dogs do not normally need to wear an Elizabethan collar after surgery as the incisions are so small and dissolvable stitches are used.
- Dogs can return to normal life more quickly, usually just a week of lead walks is advised.
The question often asked is can dogs still get a pyometra or womb infection if just the ovaries are removed?
The answer is no, once the ovaries are removed there is no more hormonal influence on the uterus and it will not become infected. Instead it atrophies or shrivels up. Just removing the ovaries or ovariectomy has been performed for decades in many European countries using an open incision.
Are there any disadavantages of laparoscopic spay?
The only slight disdavantage is that area which is clipped or shaved is larger with a laparoscopic spay than with a normal spay as access to the side of the abdomen is required. Also a laparoscopic spay is a little more expensive due to the advanced training and expertise required to perform the procedure.
Can a laparascopic spay be performed on any size of dog?
At Grove Lodge we have performed many hundreds of laparascopic spays on dogs ranging from 1.5kg to 60 kg so almost any dog is suitable for the procedure. However in overweight dogs or tiny dogs the procedure is more difficult and there is a small chance that conversion to an open spay may be required.