We are very pleased to announce a new service now available at Copthorne Vets – Laparoscopic spays.

The keyhole spay is a significant advancement in patient care. Public and professional opinion is rapidly leaning towards the keyhole procedure for the undeniable post-operative benefits it gives.

What are the benefits?

The immediate gain is with pain management and return to exercise.

  • Return to full off-lead exercise at 48 hours from discharge
  • Little or no pain relief needed when you return home with your pet
  • Two tiny wounds (one 6mm, one 11mm), no external sutures
  • Often no need to return for a post operative check at 3 days

Why does it hurt less?

Traditional open spaying is achieved by pulling the ovaries and uterus from deep inside the abdomen to the surgical wound. This necessitates the stretching and tearing of structures to free up the required anatomy.

Keyhole spaying uses vessel-sealing technology to close the blood vessels and remove only the ovaries through a small hole.

What are the downsides?

None! If you are the patient. It will cost a little more financially as the equipment and training is expensive.

But I’ve heard….. ? (FAQs)

  • If you only remove the ovaries then my is dog at risk of uterine cancer? False.
    There are now lifelong studies published in dogs spayed at 6 months old laparoscopically and followed throughout their entire lives. ZERO died from any uterine complications.
  • Can my dog still get a pyometra (womb infection)? No. There has to be active ovarian tissue left behind for this to be a possibility
  • So why is the uterus taken away in a traditional spay? It’s not necessary. The uterus is removed as that is ‘what has always been done’ and taught. It doesn’t need to be. Many other countries now perform an open ovariectomy (remove ovaries only).
  • What if you can see something wrong with the uterus? Remove it. The uterus can easily be removed keyhole too.
  • What about urinary incontinance? My last dog leaked urine after spaying. Undecided. The occurrence of SMI (Sphincter Mechanism Incompetence), a leaking bladder when at rest occurs in older spayed female dogs. This is linked to the lack of oestrogen. There is some anecdotal evidence that keyhole spaying, by leaving the support structure of the uterus behind, improves the management of SMI when it happens. Research in this is ongoing.
  • To achieve keyhole surgery, the abdomen is inflated with carbon diaoxide. I’ve heard this causes pain in people? Not in dogs. Yes, activation of the phrenic nerve leaves shoulder pain in some people who have had keyhole surgery. This doesn’t happen in dogs.
  • But my vet does ‘keyhole surgery’ open, through a tiny hole. Whilst the small open surgical incisions experienced vets can achieve look impressive, the stretching and pulling need to access all the anatomy through this small hole is arguable more. Studies in small dogs under 10kg (i.e. an ‘easy’ open spay) using pedometers show significant improvement in post-operative movement in those spayed via the keyhole method.