Research Updates: Exploring the utility of laparoscopic ovariohysterectomy in dogs


Research Updates: Exploring the utility of laparoscopic ovariohysterectomy in dogs

Jul 01, 2004

In this prospective university study that used dogs from a local humane society, the authors developed a technique for laparoscopic ovariohysterectomy. Additionally, preoperative and postoperative values of creatine kinase, an indicator of stress in human surgery patients, were obtained to determine the usefulness of this measurement as a stress indicator in animals. Nine female dogs with a mean body weight of 39.6 lb (18 kg) and ranging in age from 5 months to 5 years were used in the study.

The dogs were placed in dorsal recumbency, and three ventral abdominal portals (one umbilical, two paramedian) were created. A harmonic ultrasonic scalpel was used, and the procedure was monitored by video. The median duration of surgery was 60 minutes. According to the authors, creatine kinase activities were not related to the length of surgery or any other surgical variables. The authors found that creatine kinase activities were more closely related to struggles during phlebotomy. Short-term postoperative complications included omental herniation (one dog, closed by sutures) and seroma formation (one dog, treated with antibiotics). The authors recommend further studies to determine the efficacy of laparoscopy in reducing pain and incomplete tissue resection traditionally associated with open abdominal surgery.


Minimally invasive surgical procedures involving laparoscopic guidance are technically feasible in people. Enhanced visualization and reduced operative time, pain, and hospitalization are recognized as advantages over traditional open procedures. In this study, the authors describe an alternative to an open technique taught in veterinary schools and practiced by most clinicians in the United States. While the cost of equipment and required training may be a deterrent for practitioners, the reduction in patient morbidity makes the technique difficult to ignore. It remains to be seen whether these procedures move from the domains of academic and metropolitan veterinary centers to the private practice field in the future.

Austin, B. et al.: Laparoscopic ovariohysterectomy in nine dogs. JAAHA 39 (4):391-396; 2003.