Laparoscopic Surgery

Image of a dog on an examination table being held down by a veterinarian and a vet technician.

Surgery is a scary thought for anyone, but advances in human medicine are helping to make patients more comfortable and shortening stays in the hospital. Even our pets are now benefiting from these improvements as cutting edge innovations are making their way into veterinary offices, providing a higher level of care for our pets.

Laparoscopic surgery, a minimally invasive type of procedure, was first performed on a dog in 1902! In the intervening years, human surgeons have perfected techniques to removal gall bladders, relieve the discomfort of endometriosis, and even help individuals with morbid obesity. Many of these techniques have been adapted by veterinary surgeons as well. A laparoscope consists of a telescoping rod and lens system connected to a video camera and light source. The surgeon inserts the laparoscope into the patient through a tiny (less than 1 inch long) incision. The abdomen is then filled with carbon dioxide to create space to work. Additional attachments, such as scissors, retractors, and devices for placing sutures are introduced and manipulated to complete the surgery.

The biggest benefit to laparoscopic surgery is the reduced need for a large incision in the abdomen. In the case of human gall bladder removal, traditional surgeries would create an incision about 8 inches long. With the latest laparoscope, 4 incisions, all less than ½ inch, will suffice to remove the gall bladder. Smaller incisions mean shorter recovery time, shorter hospital stays, and, above all, less pain. Veterinarians have seen these benefits and are anxious to export them to our pets. Laparoscopic surgery is becoming a viable alternative for pet owners wanting to provide a human-level of surgical care for their pets.

Surgeries that are considered "routine" by pet owners and veterinarians, such as spaying a female dog or cat, are now considered good candidates for the laparoscope. A surgical center in Colorado performed a small study in which 10 dogs were spayed via traditional surgical methods and 10 dogs were spayed with the laparoscope. The results of this study show that 90% of the traditionally spayed dogs needed additional pain relief medications after surgery whereas none of the dogs in the laparoscopic assisted group did. Blood concentrations of cortisol, a good indicator of stress levels, increased only in the traditional group.

These findings, as well as her own observations, have led Dr. Kuschel, a veterinarian at Deer Creek Animal Hospital in Colorado and her associates to eliminate traditional spays at their hospital. She stated that, "The price was significantly higher for the laparoscopic assisted procedure, but we actually did the same number of spays from one year to the next. We increased our level of care and now pet owners actively seek out our services because they know and understand the benefits of this cutting edge technology."

Veterinarians are not only using this revolutionary new tool for spays, but as an aid to help diagnose disease. Surgeons are able to biopsy internal organs with laparoscopic surgery and the procedure often requires no more than sedation and a local anesthetic. Previous protocols for biopsies demand general anesthetic and a prolonged recovery time. With some laparoscopic biopsies, the patient is often ready to go home in less than two hours! Although this technology is truly leading edge, don't expect it to show up in all veterinary offices immediately. Although this is all good news, laparoscopic surgery is not very common in most veterinary hospitals. If you are planning a surgery for your pet, ask your veterinarian about the potential for laparoscopic assisted surgery in your area.

High Tech Pet Surgery

  • Laparoscopy is a type of minimally invasive surgery. These surgeries provide a higher level of comfort when compared to many traditional procedures.
  • Laparoscopes use a telescoping rod and lenses that are attached to a camera and lights to view inside the body cavity.
  • The biggest benefit to laparoscopic surgery is that surgeons can utilize much smaller incisions, meaning that your pet will experience less pain and discomfort.
  • Veterinary surgeons report better visualization of the internal organs and reduced chances of hemorrhage when laparoscopes are used.
  • Laparoscopic surgery is used for routine spay surgeries, internal organ biopsies and for helping to prevent "bloat" in large breed dogs.
  • Veterinary surgeons report better visualization of the internal organs and reduced chances of hemorrhage when laparoscopes are used.
  • Small studies have shown that dogs spayed with a laparoscope experience less pain and need fewer pain medications after surgery.

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Ocean Animal Clinic of Santa Cruz

Monday:

8:00 am-6:00 pm

Tuesday:

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8:00 am-5:00 pm

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The Cat Clinic of Santa Cruz

Monday:

8:00 am-6:00 pm

Tuesday:

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Wednesday:

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Thursday:

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Friday:

8:00 am-6:00 pm

Saturday:

8:00 am-5:00 pm

Sunday:

8:00 am-5:00 pm

Testimonials

Read What Our Clients Say

  • "My well loved dog, Bella, was well taken care of with gentleness and excellent care. She is so much healthier after her dental treatment. I highly recommend Dr. Hall and his staff. They truly care and have exceptional communication regarding the recommended and provided care."
    Catherine
  • "Our little dog needed extractions. We found the Ocean Animal Clinic and Dr. Hall. They took fabulous care of him -- even including a nail clipping and ear check. Both the vet and the staff were open and transparent. The surgeon was top notch and the staff really cared about our dog and us. Our little guy bounced back quickly. All this for a lot less money than we feared as well. Highly recommended!"
    Terra
  • "Dr. Hall and the staff at Ocean Animal Clinic are truly unique. Most vets are compassionate but always peddling unnecessary expensive services and drugs. Dr. Hall is compassionate, direct and alternative. He really seems to be in tune with the animals.

    My baby, Harry, is ill and his prognosis is not what a mother wants to hear. But, Dr. Hall was so good with him and also our girl Roxy.

    Just a truly decent, loving Vet. Thank you."
    Jennifer
  • "The Ocean Animal Clinic staff have been caring for my adult turtles since 2011 and I cannot imagine trusting another veterinarian with their care. As a college student he was able to help me find ways to improve the care I provided my pets and his payment options (accepts CareCredit!) helped ensure that my pets received the medical attention they needed on time.

    I consider Ocean Animal Clinic a part of my family and would recommend their services to anyone without hesitation.

    Thank you, OAC!"
    Alejandra