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Laparoscopy is a minimally invasive procedure in which a camera (laparoscope) is introduced into the abdominal cavity through a tiny incision. It allows a veterinarian to see inside the abdomen without having to make a large incision. Surgical instruments may also be introduced in this manner.

Laparoscopy can be used to perform procedures such as spays or gastropexy, a procedure keeping the stomach from twisting and preventing torsion bloat, a life-threatening condition. Because of the smaller incision, laparoscopic procedure patients experience decreased post-operative inflammation and pain, reduced risk of hemorrhage, heal faster, and many can return to normal activity quicker than those who had standard procedures performed.

VCA Irvine North Park Animal Hospital is one of only a few veterinary hospitals in southern California that utilizes a new laparoscopic ovariohysterectomy (spay) technique that is performed through a single dime-sized incision. This allows female dogs down to less than 5 pounds to benefit from this surgical technique. It has been documented that laparoscopic surgery diminishes pain, reduces the risk of hemorrhaging, and faster recovery time for female dogs by up to 65 percent compared to the traditional method. Laparoscopic spay is minimally invasive and safer because the entire procedure is performed through a dime-sized incision, and, while doctors view the organs via a state-of-the-art camera system, the ovaries and uterus are removed by cauterizing the blood vessels and ligaments. This procedure eliminates tearing the ovarian broad ligament off the body wall, which has been associated with the main cause of pain during and after surgery. The veterinarians at Irvine Veterinary Services have received extensive training and are excited to offer this less invasive surgical technique.

Bloat or gastric dilation-volvulus (GDV) is the number one cause of death for giant and large breeds. Bloat occurs when the stomach fills with food, water and/or gas. This causes increased pressure that enlarges and compresses the stomach and eventually causes the stomach to twist into an abnormal position. As the stomach twists, it cuts off the blood flow to and from the stomach and the organ eventually dies which quickly causes severe shock and infection within the abdomen.

Gastropexy is a surgical procedure in which the stomach is tacked (sutured) to the inside body wall to prevent the stomach from twisting and turning. At VCA Irvine North Park Animal Hospital, we offer prophylactic (preventative) gastropexy using laparoscopic techniques to minimize pain, size of incision and faster recovery time versus that of a traditional surgical approach.

Great Danes are the number one breed at risk, St. Bernards as #2, and Weimaraners as #3. Other breeds at high risk include: Akita, Bloodhound, Irish Setter, Irish Wolfhound, Newfoundland, Rottweiler, Standard Poodles, German Shepherd and Boxer.

Dogs over 99 pounds have a 20% risk of bloat.

For full details, please visit www.veterinarypartner.com and search ‘bloat’.

Unfortunately, not every surgical procedure can be performed laparoscopically. If your pet needs surgery, discuss with your veterinarian what surgical options are the best for your pet. Your veterinarian is the best judge of what procedures can be done with laparoscopy.

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