Laparoscopic Spay and Gastropexy

Laparoscopic-Assisted Ovariohysterectomy (Spay)

We’re so excited to offer a less invasive, less painful, way to spay your dog! Keep reading for more information and give us a call at 925 937 5000 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Nadia Rifat at Encina Veterinary Hospital in Walnut Creek, CA

Why does a dog need to be spayed?
Spaying a dog consists of performing an ovariohysterectomy (OHE). The reasons we spay dogs is to reduce pet overpopulation, reduce the chance of mammary cancer development (must be done at a very young age to gain this benefit), and to prevent a life threatening uterine infection (pyometra). Approximately 25% of intact female dogs by 10 years of age will develop a pyometra.

What are the surgical options for spaying my dog?
The traditional open ovariohysterectomy, or a laparoscopic-assisted ovariohysterectomy. The traditional open ovariohysterectomy has been performed for many decades, and when performed by an experienced veterinarian there are rarely any complications and the recovery is typically quick. More recently, laparoscopic-assisted ovariohysterectomy surgeries have become another surgical option for medium to large breed dogs. The difference is that the laparoscopic-assisted ovariohysterectomy incision is smaller than the open approach because visualization of the organs and surgery is performed through the laparoscope.

What is the benefit of having my dog undergo a laparoscopic-assisted ovariohysterctomy vs an open ovariohysterectomy?
Although there are few pain studies to compare laparoscopic procedures to an open traditional surgical approach, the opinion of veterinarians performing laparoscopic-assisted ovariohysterectomy procedures is that this approach is less invasive and less painful than the open approach. Dr. Chad Devitt evaluated the laparoscopic-assisted ovariohysterectomy versus an open traditional ovariohysterectomy (Duration, complications, stress, and pain of open ovariohysterectomy versus a simple method of laparoscopic-assisted ovariohysterectomy in dogs. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2005;227:921–927). His conclusion was the laparoscopic-assisted ovariohysterectomy procedures caused less surgical pain than the traditional open ovariohysterectomy procedures and may be more appropriate for an outpatient setting.

What are the potential complications of a laparoscopic-assisted ovariohysterctomy?
Complications from laparoscopic ovariohysterectomy are rare but can include: hemorrhage, subcutaneous emphysema, iatrogenic perforation of the splenic capsule during trocar placement, inability to complete the procedure requiring conversion to laparotomy, pain, seroma formation, and rarely infection.

How do I schedule my dog for a laparoscopic-assisted ovariohysterectomy?
Make a pre-surgical appointment with Dr. Nadia Rifat, who is the surgeon that performs the laparoscopic-assisted ovariohysterectomy procedures at Encina Veterinary Hospital. She will perform an examination on your dog and talk to you about the procedure. We will schedule your dog for surgery and submit pre-anesthetic bloodwork to make sure your dog is in good health. If your dog is at risk for a GDV (see information about laparoscopic-assisted gastropexy) that surgery can be scheduled concurrently.


Laparoscopic-Assisted Gastropexy

What is a GDV?
Gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV) is an acute emergency medical condition characterized by gastric distension and abnormal twisting of the stomach. This causes the stomach to become over distended. have a decreased blood flow, and eventually lead to circulatory shock and death. The lifetime risk for a large or giant breed dog developing GDV is 24% and 21% respectively and their risk of dying of GDV is 7%. Even with appropriate medical and surgical intervention, case fatality rates between 10% and 33% have been reported.

Why do dogs develop a GDV?
No single cause of GDV exists. Reported risk factors for GDV include a familial history of GDV, lean deep chested breeds, older dogs, dogs that eat quickly, dogs that eat from a raised bowl, and dogs that only eat dry food and/or a single large meal, and dogs that have a fearful temperament. Dogs that have had a splenectomy also might be at greater risk for development of a GDV.

Does my dog need a gastropexy?
There are many breeds that are at risk for developing GDV. The most at-risk breed is the Great Dane (40% will develop a GDV). Other breeds that are at risk include Irish Setters, Weimaraners, Standard Poodles, and Rottweilers. In general, this condition can occur in any deep chested large breed dog. Most surgeons agree that a prophylactic gastropexy in patients considered “at risk” for GDV (gastric dilatation and volvulus) is a worthwhile procedure.

What is a laparoscopic-assisted gastropexy?
Laparoscopic-assisted gastropexy is a minimally invasive surgery that allows the surgeon to perform the surgery through a smaller incision than the typical surgical approach used to perform a gastropexy. During the laparoscopic-assisted gastropexy, one small incision is made just behind the ribs on the right side of the abdomen. It is through this incision that the laparoscope is introduced into the abdomen and the gastropexy procedure performed. With this surgical technique, there is less pain and the recovery much quicker compared to the typical gastropexy approach with a large incision.

Can there be complications from the gastropexy?
Multiple studies about laparoscopic-assisted gastropexies showed only the following minor complications: temporary skin fold at the side of the of the gastropexy immediately after the surgery (47%), seroma formation at the site of the gastropexy (6%), and iatrogenic perforation of the splenic capsule during trocar placement (12%).

When should I schedule my dog for a laparoscopic-assisted gastropexy?
The timing of the gastropexy does not seem to be critical. The stomach can be successfully attached to the abdominal wall in puppies, without compromising gastrointestinal function, which means the gastropexy can be incorporated into the same procedure as a spay or castration, or when the abdomen is being explored or opened for another reason. Alternatively, it can be performed as an elective procedure.

How do I schedule my dog for a laparoscopic-assisted gastropexy?
Make a pre-surgical appointment with Dr. Nadia Rifat, who is the surgeon that performs the laparoscopic-assisted gastropexies at Encina Veterinary Hospital. She will perform an examination on your dog and talk to you about the procedure. We will schedule your dog for surgery and submit pre-anesthetic bloodwork to make sure your dog is in good health.

call us today at 925 937 5000 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Nadia Rifat to see if your dog is a good candidate for laparoscopic-assisted gastropexy