Exceptional preventative care

At Cockburn Veterinary Group we know that you want the best for your pet. As part of our commitment to clinical excellence, we have introduced a minimally invasive surgery technique for neutering female dogs: the laparoscopic (keyhole) spay. Although bitch spays (Dog Neutering) are routine surgical procedures, the traditional method involves significant invasive abdominal surgery. Surgeons have used keyhole techniques in human medicine for many years; it’s a superior technique with surveys reporting up to a 65% reduction in pain, faster recovery and fewer complications. We are now bringing these advantages to our much loved pets at our animal hospital.

Our practice believes in preventative health and as a recent survey by Hoffman, Creevy and Promislow (2013) found that overall, male dogs lived about 14% longer when neutered, and female dogs lived about 26% longer when neutered. That’s why we strongly recommend dog neutering.

On our veterinary team is Cathy Churchill: she has four years of experience using this technique and has performed around 200 laparoscopic spays (dog neutering) to date. She also uses the technique for other surgeries, like liver biopsies, gastropexies (to prevent stomach torsions), exploratory surgery and to remove abdominal testicles. It’s an exciting addition to our comprehensive list of surgical procedures and Cathy is a veteran laparoscopic surgeon.

What to expect …
Laparoscopic spay (dog neutering) involves making two small 10mm incisions allowing access to the abdomen. Using a magnifying camera and direct light means far better visualisation to which we add a 17” TV screen. You can imagine how much better the surgeon can examine all around the abdomen.

What are the benefits?
Traditional dog spays involve removing the uterus and ovaries through a three to four inch long incision in the abdominal wall. This incision together with the associated bruising is painful and we give pain-relief to minimize the pain felt. The small incisions made in laparoscopic spaying together with the reduction in bruising means this is a much less painful procedure for your pet. The recovery time is also much shorter and because the incisions are so small there is also much less scarring and chance of post-operative infection.

The procedure only removes the ovaries which stops seasons and unwanted pregnancies and also stops infections of the uterus such as endometritis and pyometra. Research in Europe and the USA over the past 25 years has shown that removing the uterus (womb) is generally unnecessary and increases post-operative pain. Additionally there is no increased risk of pyometra (infection of the womb) with this technique compared with a traditional dog spay. We therefore only remove the ovaries unless we have concerns about the health of your dog’s uterus.

The most obvious difference you will notice is a slightly larger clipped area extending up the flanks – and that two days later your dog will be happily running about in the park.

Does it cost more?
Laparoscopic spaying does cost more – but not as much as you might think! Because we use the same advanced equipment as our surgeon friends in the NHS there is a small additional fee for this type of surgery. However we feel the extra cost is easily outweighed by the happy, pain-free recovery.

How do I book my dog for keyhole surgery?
The timing is the same as a routine dog spay: three to four months after a season or at months of age, before their first season.

How do I prepare my dog?
• Normal pre and post operation care is needed.
• Starve from your dog from 9pm the night before their op.
• Give access to water until the morning of the surgery.
• Your dog will go home that afternoon as usual.
• Feed bland food on the evening of the surgery.

And after the surgery?
• Rest for your dog for 48 hours after surgery.
• Although your dog will not have stitches we ask you to bring them back for a check-up with a nurse at 48 hours.

In summary…
• Keyhole spays (dog neutering) are 62% less painful than a tradition spay.
• Fast recovery with 2 days rest rather than the normal 10-14 days.
• Small wounds—just two 10mm incisions reducing chance of complications and no sutures to be removed.

To enquire please call our animal clinic on 01530 836654. You don’t need to be a regular client to take advantage of this exciting new service.