Keyhole surgery, otherwise known as laparoscopic surgery, is a form of minimally invasive surgery. It is considered by many to be the gold standard for neutering female dogs in particular.
Research has shown that animals undergoing the laparoscopic procedure feel 65 percent less pain than with a traditional spay. The surgery time runs shorter and there's generally less bleeding.
There are effectively two types of spaying: traditional and laparoscopic.
When should I spay my female dog? We recommend waiting until your dog is at least over 6 months and likely even older for larger dogs. The benefits are much more pronounced in larger dogs, but there is not a lot of difference for lap dogs.
The main benefits of a laparoscopic spay are less pain and a faster healing time than the traditional spay operation. *In larger dogs a Gastropexy can be performed with the camera at the same time as the spay to potentially prevent GDV (Bloat) which is a potentially fatal condition.
Unlike the 2 weeks of enforced quiet time to heal after an invasive traditional spay surgery, pets can get back to many of their normal activities as soon as 2-3 days after a laparoscopic spay – particularly helpful with active puppies!
Spaying before the first heat cycle results in an easier surgery with fewer potential for complications such as bleeding and pain. Urinary incontinence is, however, a common problem associated with early spay.
When your dog is spayed, the entire reproductive tract (including both ovaries and the uterus) is surgically removed. Therefore, your spayed dog no longer has ovaries, produces estrogen, or goes into heat.
A University of Georgia study, based on the medical records of more than 70,000 animal patients, found that the life expectancy of neutered male dogs was 13.8% longer and that of spayed female dogs was 26.3% longer.
A Laparoscopic Spay Is Less Invasive
A traditional spay requires a 2-4 inch long incisions. Compare that to a lap spay that requires two separate incisions that are each only one-fifth-inch to two-fifth-inches long. You can see why laparoscopy is considered less invasive.
The benefits to a laparoscopic spay are numerous as compared to a traditional one. Major upsides include: A smaller incision, which translates to less pain post-operatively (up to 65%) and quicker healing. Better visibility for the surgeon, resulting in shorter anesthesia times and fewer complications such as bleeding.
Due to the laparoscopic spay being an elevated procedure, it does require much more expensive equipment and advanced training to perform successfully. Laparoscopic spay cost tends to be a bit higher due to the elevated cost of performing such procedures.
Conclusions: Laparoscopic surgery has demonstrably better quality-of-life outcomes than open surgery for cholecystectomy, splenectomy, and esophageal surgery.
However, we find that pets are generally less interested in these incisions (most likely due to the reduced pain) than the larger incisions from traditional spays. All incisions – regardless of their size, require a minimum of 7 days to heal, so plan on having your pet wear the cone for a minimum of 7 days.
We also now know that, although the Laparoscopic Spay leaves the uterus intact, it is just as effective at preventing a pyometra (womb infection) as the Standard Spay.
The discomfort caused by spay or neuter surgeries usually only lasts a few days and should be gone after a week. If your pet is experiencing pain or discomfort for more than a couple of days you should contact your vet to get further advice.
Neutering also prevents a surprise litter of puppies and reduces your pet's risk of testicular or mammary cancer. However, even dogs who are spayed or neutered might still exhibit some humping behavior from time to time.
It turns out that dogs can actually pick up on the pheromone chemical that your sweaty private parts produce, and pheromones hold a lot of information about ourselves: our diets, moods, health, even whether a female is pregnant or menstruating.
Spaying your dog too early can result in health problems later on since her hormones should have some time to work. Early spaying can increase the risk of hip dysplasia, torn ligaments, bone cancer, and urinary incontinence.
A: Medically, it's better to spay your dog before their first heat. It greatly reduces the risk of mammary tumors. People who wait to spay their dogs until after their second heat greatly increase the risk of mammary tumors in their pets.
Basically, we are seeing that delaying spaying and neutering until after maturity lessens the risk of hip dysplasia, cruciate ligament tears, other bone and joint abnormalities, and some cancers. Behavior disorders, including aggression and noise phobias have also been related to hormone status.
Vets advise you to let your dog rest for up to 48 hours after neutering. Light short and slow walks just for them to do their business is fine until you bring your dog in for their 3-day check-up.
Keep her as quiet as possible for one week. Too much activity too soon will disrupt the healing process and can lead to swelling and/or the formation of a fluid pocket under the incision. If a fluid pocket does form (seroma), it should go away on its own in a few weeks. Short on-leash walks are okay.
Traditional Spay. While veterinary experts agree on the benefits of laparoscopic spay, they have different views on which method provides the best protection to the patient. Adam says laparoscopic spay remains safest because there's less trauma to tissues, less risk of infection, and less bleeding.