Learning about Canine Lap Spays – Minimally Invasive Surgery for Dogs

At Sault Ste. Marie Animal Clinic, we have been using a minimally invasive technique called laparoscopic ovariectomy (aka Lap Spay) to remove the ovaries of female dogs instead of the traditional ovariohysterectomy or spay (surgical removal of ovaries and entire uterus) for several years. Last week, Dr. Tina McGrath of Bronte Village Veterinary Clinic spent the day with us learning about the procedure so that she can eventually incorporate it in to her small animal practice in Oakville.

Kaelee, 5 mo old Lab/Shepherd mix from ‘Northern Critters In Need’ ready to go two hours after her surgery!

‘Minimally invasive’ or ‘Laparoscopic’ surgical procedures require highly specialized surgical equipment and cameras as well as training and practice for the surgeon – it is quite a different process than routine or ‘open’ surgery. It is very popular in human medicine for procedures such as gall bladder removal or arthroscopy – which involves using the equipment to look into and perform surgery on joints. It is becoming more popular in Veterinary Medicine as the benefits of less pain, less trauma to tissue and a faster recovery are gaining recognition. While ‘spays’ or ovariectomies are the most common use for laparoscopic surgery and rigid endoscopy, we can also use it for diagnostic procedures such as liver biopsies and looking inside the bladder (cystoscopy), nose (rhinoscopy) and ears (otoscopy). Our flexible video endoscope can be used for looking in the gastrointestinal tract (esophagus, stomach, small and large intestines) and respiratory tract (trachea and lungs) to rule out foreign bodies or tumours and to get diagnostic samples.

Dr. McGrath, a colleague, former classmate and long-time friend of Dr. Lewis-Palmer and Dr. Palmer was intrigued by the procedure, so we arranged for her to come and spend a day in surgery. Already a very experienced and accomplished veterinary surgeon, she learned how to use the equipment and perform the procedure under Dr. Palmer’s watchful eye. She loved the experience and is now keen to incorporate minimally invasive surgery and rigid endoscopy into her practice!

Chiffon – 1 1/2 yr old Husky mix from ‘Northern Critters In Need’ ready to go just a few hours after surgery!

Rescue organizations – Northern Critters in Need and the local SPCA provided us with three lovely female dogs – Chiffon, Kaelee and Manny – in need of ‘spaying’. In return, we hope these beautiful gals will be more adoptable for having had the procedure done before going to their forever homes 😊.

Dr. McGrath speaking to local Kennel Club about Conditioning and Injury prevention for the Canine Athelete

Dr. McGrath is also certified Veterinary Rehabilitation Medicine and is becoming certified in Veterinary Acupuncture so on Saturday, she spoke to the local Kennel Club about ‘Conditioning and Injury Prevention’ in the Canine Athlete.

Hudson and Tara demonstrate core building exercise for dogs.