Keyhole Surgery

Pool House Veterinary Hospital is pleased to launch our laparoscopic service.

Jamie Newton BVMS CertAVP MRCVS leads our laparoscopic and thoracoscopic surgical team at our Lichfield Hospital and is available for advice from clients and referring vets alike on 01543 262464. We have performed in excess of 150 keyhole procedures since launch and as such we feel comfortable in this technique.


What is laparoscopic surgery? close up of small animal keyhole procedure

Otherwise known as keyhole or minimally invasive surgery, it is a gentle alternative to conventional open surgery.

Laparoscopic surgery is performed using a tiny camera (known as a laparoscope) and long slender instruments that are placed into the animal’s abdomen through small incisions of 5 – 10mm.


Why laparoscopic surgery?

Laparoscopic surgery has become a major part of human surgery and only very recently is the evidence becoming clear that it has many advantages to our veterinary patients too.

* Significant reduction in pain and stress after surgerylaparoscopic ovariectomy procedure on monitor

* Faster recovery times for our patients and quicker return to normal exercise

* Smaller incisions

* Better visualisation for the surgeon

For sick animals where invasive diagnostics are required, a shorter, less painful procedure can often make a big difference and often mean hospitalisation time can also be shortened.

Pool House Veterinary Hospital are very keen for our patients to benefit from these advantages and therefore have invested heavily to offer this service to our clients and their pets.


 Are all procedures best performed laparoscopically?

Not all procedures can be performed through tiny incisions. For example open surgery is often best placed to remove foreign bodies (stones, socks etc.) from the gastrointestinal tract or for the removal of diseased organs (spleen, uterus etc.).

However there are many procedures and particularly elective procedures that are ideal for this type of surgery- for example bitch neutering, undescended testis in male dogs, preventative surgery for stomach twists (GDVs) or even exploration of the abdomen or thorax for biopsies.


 Are there any side effects from this procedure?

The most common side effect seen in humans is shoulder pain, however this is not experienced in our patients.

Nevertheless, no surgery (laparoscopic or traditional) or general anaesthetic, is without its risks and these will be discussed with you prior to admission to the hospital.


Are laparoscopic procedures covered by pet insurance?

Yes, in the majority of cases this surgery is covered by your policy. As always it is always best to check with your insurance company regarding your individual policy. Please note that routine neutering is not covered by your insurance including laparoscopic neutering.


Laparoscopic Spays


What to expect from a laparoscopic spaypost operative wounds following two port laparoscopic spay

Laparoscopic spays (also known as “keyhole spays” or “lap spays”) involve placing a camera (laparoscope) and a long slender instrument into the abdomen via 2 small incisions. Due to the positioning of these instruments, a large diamond shaped clip of fur is clipped to ensure the area is sterile. In a laparoscopic spay only the ovaries are removed, compared to a conventional open spay, in which the entire uterus and ovaries are removed together. Removing only the ovaries is still completely effective at preventing unwanted pregnancies and pyometra (infection of the uterus).

Your dog is discharged the same day as surgery, 2 small incisions will be visible on the midline of her abdomen but usually no Elizabethan collar is required.

We understand how difficult it can be to rest young bouncy dogs. Following a laparoscopic spay your dog will be sleepy that night as with any other dog who has had a general anaesthetic but are usually back to normal the next day. Only 2 days of lead restricted exercise is required compared to 2 weeks with a traditional spay.

We recommend a post-operative check of all patients who have had a general anaesthetic normally 3 days after surgery with a final check at day 10 to check the wounds have healed well.



As per other laparoscopic procedures the advantages are very similar.

* Less pain after surgery

* Exercise restriction of 2 days rather than 2 weeks

* 2 small incisions

* No sutures to remove



The cost is an additional £144 (inc. VAT) to the cost of a traditional spay.


How do I arrange to have a laparoscopic spay?

Laparoscopic surgeries are only available at our Lichfield hospital so if you wish to book please phone the hospital on 01543 262464. If you would like more information on this service or have questions regarding laparoscopic surgery then please do not hesitate to ask your vet, or call any of our branches, and we will ensure you get to speak to someone who can help you.

Prophylactic Laparoscopic Gastropexy


What is a Gastropexy?

A gastropexy is the permanent fixing of the stomach to the abdominal wall. This is performed specifically to help stop the twisting that is fatal in GDVs (Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus).

Prophylactic (i.e. to prevent disease) gastropexy is indicated particularly in at-risk breeds and/or for animals who have a first-degree relative with a history of GDV.

It should be noted that bloating can still occur but this is not life-threatening.

What breeds are at particular risk?

  • Great Danes
  • Weimaraners
  • St. Bernards
  • Irish Wolfhounds
  • Setters
  • German Shepherds
  • Dobermans
  • Standard Poodles
  • Bloodhounds
  • Basset Hounds
  • Shar Peis

Prophylactic Surgery

Gastropexy surgery is normally prophylactically performed during a neuter (female or male) but can be performed as a stand-alone surgery.

Gastropexy can be performed as an ‘open’ traditional surgery or as a laparoscopically-assisted approach (keyhole). Keyhole is out preferred surgical technique due to the less invasive and less painful nature along with a quicker return to normal function.


Below is the intra-operative view of the stomach that has been sutured to the abdominal wall via keyhole:












Below is the immediate post-operative appearance of a Great Dane who had a prophylactic keyhole gastropexy (30mm incision) at the same time as her keyhole spay (note the additional 2 incisions that are approximately 10mm and 5mm):












As per a keyhole spay, there are no external sutures to be removed.

Can a dog with GDV have a laparoscopic gastropexy?

Unfortunately, due to the emergency nature of a GDV the stomach needs to be physically and rapidly untwisted via an ‘open’ surgical approach. In addition, there are often other pathologies encountered (e.g. splenic torsion, gastric wall necrosis, vascular thrombi) that have to be surgically dealt with.

What is the cost and how do I arrange to have a laparoscopic gastropexy?

The cost of the procedure depends on the size of the animal and if the procedure is undertaken as a stand-alone surgery or alongside a neuter. Our team at Lichfield or at any of our branches are more than happy to discuss the costs in detail and to book the procedure for you.

Please do not hesitate to phone us if you would like to discuss this service in detail with any one of our vets.

Pool House Vets