Keyhole Surgery

At ICR Veterinary Surgery, our aim is to always offer a professional and caring service and that also means staying up to date with advances in equipment and training. In recent years, we’ve invested in digital X-ray, ultrasound, blood sample analysers, endoscopes, orthopaedic equipment and an operating microscope, all of which means that we can carry out a number of procedures that may not be available at many general practices.

We are also extremely proud to be one of only a handful of practices in Scotland who can perform Keyhole (Laparoscopic) Surgery. This is minimally invasive surgery which involves passing a camera and specialised instruments through tiny holes (0.5-1.2cm) in the body wall and performing surgical procedures.

Just as you may be aware that Keyhole Surgery in people has huge advantages in terms of less pain and a faster recovery time compared to conventional surgery, the same is true in our pets.

The Advantages of Keyhole Surgery
  • Less pain after the operation
  • Smaller incisions
  • Faster recovery time
  • Faster healing times
  • Fewer post operative complications
  • Minimally invasive
  • Much clearer view for the surgeon

Our specialised equipment and extensive training carried out in both France and the U.K. means that we can offer minimally invasive ways of diagnosing and treating conditions in sick animals, such as liver disease, bladder problems or even thoracic disease, but it also means that we can make some routine operations such as bitch spays much less painful for your pet.

Keyhole Bitch Spay

The operation is performed through 2 small incisions (each around 0.5 to 1.2cm) as compared to the larger incision (6-15cm) required for a traditional bitch spay. One incision is for a tiny camera (called a laparoscope), which displays a magnified image on a monitor, giving a clear view of the abdomen. The other small incision is for long slender instruments that allow the surgeon to remove the dog’s ovaries.

In a conventional bitch spay, the ligaments which connect the ovaries to the abdomen wall have to be stretched and then cut or torn, which causes significant pain. With the keyhole technique however, these ligaments can simply be cauterised then cut, and this greatly reduces the post-operative pain.

Due to the positioning of the instruments used, it is necessary to clip an area of fur on both the sides and underneath the belly, to ensure that the area is sterile. Both of the small incisions are closed with stitches that are under the skin, so there is nothing for your dog to chew and no need for a “Lampshade” collar.

We know how difficult it is to keep bouncy young dogs rested. A further advantage is that after a keyhole spay we recommend restricting your dog to lead exercise for just two days, considerably less than the 10 days needed for traditional spays. Most dogs are very comfortable after their keyhole spay but to ensure their comfort, we administer appropriate pain-relieving medication before their operation.

What is the difference between Ovariectomy and Ovariohysterectomy?

During a keyhole bitch spay the two ovaries are removed (called an ovariectomy). During the more traditional bitch spay both the ovaries and the womb are removed (called an ovariohysterectomy).

The effect of both types of surgery is the same. Spayed bitches will not have seasons, cannot become pregnant and will not develop false pregnancies. Spayed bitches cannot develop life-threatening womb infections (called pyometra) or tumours of the ovaries. In addition, if your bitch is spayed before her third season, her risk of developing mammary tumours is significantly reduced.

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