A ‘spay’ describes the surgical sterilisation of a bitch. In the UK this has historically been through the removal of the ovaries plus the entire womb in an ‘ovariohysterectomy’. Although this is a routine procedure which we perform almost every day, it is major surgery none the less. Recently, it has been shown that the removal of only the ovaries gives the same benefits as the full ovariohysterectomy, whilst reducing surgical time and trauma to the patient. This has paved the way for a spay to be done in a minimally invasive way though laparoscopy (keyhole surgery). In spite of this type of surgery being accepted over the last 10-15 years as the ‘gold-standard’ technique for people undergoing many abdominal operations, it is very new in the veterinary field and is currently being performed by only a handful of vets in the UK, and less than 200 throughout the USA.
Taverham Veterinary Practice vets have undergone extensive specialist training in laparoscopy surgery and we are the first and only practice in the whole of East Anglia to offer this service to our clients. There are many advantages of keyhole spays:
Significantly less pain and discomfort experienced by your bitch Rapid recovery from surgery Enhanced field of view enabling a thorough examination of the abdomen No skin stitches are used so avoiding the risk of stitch-related reactions and infections Skin wounds of only a few millimetres in length avoids the possibility of the major wound complications which can result from bitches chewing their sutures out prematurely following convential surgery No need for your bitch wearing a ‘lampshade collar’ after the surgery to keep her from licking the stitches Minimal tissue injury at the time of surgery reduces the risk of adhesions which can cause pain and illness later in life.
Disadvantages: Keyhole approaches mean that in the unlikely event of complications such as bleeding or anatomical abnormality, it may be necessary to convert to convential ‘open’ surgery, with the associated potential for problems through having a long skin wound and stitches Cost – there is an extra cost for clients choosing keyhole surgery since the equipment required for the technique is extremely expensive to buy and maintain. We are very confident that keyhole surgery will revolutionise many surgical procedures currently performed by vets in the UK over the coming years. The benefits are clear and we hope that you would like to chose it for your bitch’s spay. Please feel free to ask us any questions you may have.
Laparoscopic camera being inserted through operating port.
View of ovary and uterus being grabbed using laparoscopic forceps.
Laparoscopic spay in progress.
View of one of our operating theatres prior to laparoscopy.
Male dogs are castrated at 10 to 12 months of age. It will often reduce libido, inter-male aggression and urine marking. Castration is strongly advised for dogs with undescended testicles.