Laparoscopic ovariectomy (Keyhole spay)


Laparoscopy is the term given to the endoscopic examination of the abdominal cavity either for diagnostic or treatment purposes. In certain circumstances this 'key-hole' surgical technique can provide a number of advantages over conventional surgery. Where its use is appropriate, the key-hole technique usually involves two or three small incisions (cuts) rather than the single large incision associated with conventional surgery.

Advantages of laparoscopy over conventional surgery include:

  • Reduced pain from the surgical wounds & the pet is more comfortable post-operatively
  • Smaller surgical wounds
  • Fewer stitches
  • A faster return to normal activity, due to improved patient comfort and reduced scar tissue formation

Ovariectomy (bitch spay/neutering):

We are very pleased to now be able to offer 'key-hole' neutering surgery.

The procedure involves making two or three small (5mm, or 10mm in larger dogs) incisions in the skin that will normally be closed without the need for external stitches. Most pets can be discharged on the same day and do not require overnight care. As with conventional neutering of female dogs, we recommend that the surgery is performed 2 to 3 months following a season.

The procedure involves removal of the ovaries only whereas conventional open surgical spaying (neutering) usually involves removal of the ovaries and uterus together (ovario-hysterectomy). The key-hole ovariectomy operation provides much better visualisation, minimises trauma to the tissue as we only use small instruments to handle and is less painful than the conventional spay procedure. Studies have shown that there is no evidence that leaving the uterus behind results in any increased risk of incontinence or womb infection in the future when compared to conventional surgery. Ovariectomy has been carried out in Europe for the past 35 years and has been shown to be as safe as ovario-hysterectomy, with no additional long-term risks.

Bitches should be starved from 10pm the night before surgery but can have water freely available until the time of admission the following morning (usually between 8 and 8.30am). The surgery will normally performed in the morning dependant upon our caseload for the day. Your pet should be able to go home in the afternoon/evening, usually between 4 and 6pm. One of the nurses will call you during recovery to arrange a discharge time. We generally recommended a re-check appointment 3 days after the procedure in order to check your dog's progress.

As with humans undergoing laparoscopic surgery, we do ask that we are given permission to convert to a more conventional approach during the procedure if necessary. This is only required in the unlikely event that unforeseen circumstances arise which result in the risks to your pet being reduced by converting to conventional surgery.

If you are interested in laparoscopic neutering then please discuss it with one of our vets or nurses who can answer any questions you may have and book a date for the surgery on a convenient day for you and your pet.

If you are not currently a client of the clinic, then please discuss it with your vet and ask if he or she would be willing to refer your pet for the procedure. We would need a letter or fax from your vet stating that they are in agreement with the referral for neutering together with a full medical history. Upon receipt of the this information you will be able to make an appointment for surgery on a date that again is convenient for you and your pet.


For more information, please come and talk to us. We are always more than happy to answer any questions that you may have.