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Case Study: Hollie the German Shepherd undergoes new laparoscopic spay

Amy Holloway

Earlier this year we launched our keyhole (laparoscopic) surgery option for female dog (bitch) neutering, which promotes quicker healing, less discomfort and scarring and is a less invasive approach to spaying than conventional surgery.

We caught up with Anne and Lee Withey whose 4-year-old German Shepherd, Hollie, recently underwent a laparoscopic spay. We asked Anne and Lee why they opted for a laparoscopic spay: “We chose this new laparoscopic option mainly because of the recovery time, we knew it would be a lot longer with a conventional spay.” We asked the couple if they’d had other pets spayed before and they said, “No, this is our first bitch. We’ve had friends that have had the normal spay and the recovery time has been a lot longer.”

What happens during a Laparoscopic Spay

With a laparoscopic spay, two small incisions are made into the animal’s abdomen, big enough only for a narrow tube to fit into each. A fibre-optic camera with a light attached is passed through one tube and a diathermy (and any other surgical equipment needed) is passed through the other. By watching the camera images on-screen and manoeuvering the camera and diathermy, our Vets are able to cauterise the surrounding tissues and ligaments and remove the ovaries one by one.

Vet Barbara performs a laparoscopic spay

Vet Barbara performs a laparoscopic spay, you can see the animal’s internal organs on the screen.

Whilst the camera is inside the animal, our Vet will check that the uterus is healthy enough to remain and check neighbouring vital organs to ensure everything looks as it should. If for any reason the uterus looks problematic, it can be removed at the same time by making a third small incision into the animal’s abdomen.

We asked Anne and Lee how they thought the procedure went and this is what they had to say: “Absolutely fantastic! We were totally impressed with the wound site, everything was great from start to finish, we can’t fault it. The only downside we can see is that we thought it would calm her down but even the day after, we were having trouble stopping her from running around and she’s just as lively. She was certainly back to being a typical dog very quickly.”

Post op aftercare

Just like with post-op treatment for a conventional spay, the animal will still have stitches that need removing, receive pain medication and be seen by our team in 3 and then 10 days as we like to be thorough and give the best care and attention possible. However, with a laparoscopic spay, the wound area is significantly smaller meaning the animal is more comfortable after the procedure and will heal and feel back to their old selves much quicker.

We were also keen to find out what Anne and Lee thought of the service they received from our team and if they would recommend keyhole spays to other pet owners.

Hollie withey german shepherd with her owner Anne

Hollie was back to her old self the very next day after her keyhole neutering procedure

Lee – “Absolutely, we were very pleased with everything. Yes, we would recommend the keyhole spay to anyone thinking of getting their bitch spayed. The slight increase of cost totally outweighs the recovery time you would get with a normal spay. Hollie was a normal dog the next day. We chose this option because it is less invasive and offers a greater recovery. Hollie was up and about the very next day, it was hard to stop her!”

Anne – “I would just like to add that the aftercare was excellent, it was very reassuring to receive phone calls enquiring how Hollie was doing and if we had any concerns, to which we had none!”

If you are thinking of getting your female dog neutered, get in touch with our team who will happily talk you through the keyhole and conventional options so you can make an informed decision. A laparoscopic spay is priced a little higher than a conventional spay due to the cost of the equipment we use and the training required for our veterinary team to perform this surgery, however as Mr Withey explained, the benefits do outweigh the cost difference.

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