AN Ilkley veterinary centre is offering ground-breaking key hole surgery for animals.

Ashlands Vets is now able to offer the techniques as an alternative to traditional surgery for animals. Key hole (laparoscopic) surgery allows surgical procedures to be performed remotely with the instruments being passed into the body through a small incision in the skin while being observed via a fibre optic video link. In certain circumstances this ‘key-hole’ surgical technique can provide a number of advantages over conventional surgery. Where its use is appropriate, the key-hole technique usually involves two or three small incisions rather than the single large incision associated with conventional surgery.

Advantages of laparoscopy over conventional surgery include:

• Reduced pain from the surgical wounds – the pet is more comfortable post-operatively

• Smaller surgical wounds

• Fewer stitches

• A faster return to normal activity, due to improved patient comfort and reduced scar tissue formation

A common example of an operation being performed this way is the laparoscopic spay or neuter is an alternative to the traditional method. The procedure involves removal of the ovaries, leaving the uterus (the womb) in place. Conventional open surgical spaying (neutering) of bitches (female dogs) usually involves removal of the ovaries and uterus together (ovario-hysterectomy). The key-hole ovariectomy operation is quicker, less involved and less painful than the conventional spay procedure.

Laparoscopic surgery is carried out by vet Andy Macgregor who said compared to human laparoscopic procedures, a very small portion of pet surgery in the UK is performed laparoscopically, although there is a steady increase in practices that are providing this service.

He said: "We are really excited to be able to offer these ground breaking key hole surgical procedures to our pets. These minimally invasive techniques is quite normal in human medicine and has been for some time now. Anyone who has had a laparoscopic operation will be well aware of the benefits. Recovery is much faster, wounds are smaller, there is less bleeding pain, less scaring and most importantly much less pain. It is fantastic that we can now bring these benefits to the animal world.”