The surgery you would choose for yourself is now available for your pet


The "LOVE" spey ( Laparoscopic Ovariectomy - Lap Spey ) now available for tiny dogs under 4kg and cats

What is Laparoscopy

Laparoscopy or keyhole surgery is a minimally invasive surgery that allows the visualisation and treatment of the internal organs with instruments placed through tiny incisions. Often considered the highest standard for human surgical care.

What are the benefits?

A large reduction in post operative pain due to smaller incisions and less bruising.
Faster healing and recovery time.
Reduced chance of infection and wound complications.
Improved visualisation and access which can improve procedure safety and success.

Laparoscopy has now come of age in Veterinary medicine and it fits well with our philosophy of providing quality surgery with less pain.

Steve has been to Colorado State University to learn directly from the Veterinary Professors that originated many of these techniques.

We also have the ideal equipment to perform these surgeries at the highest standard. This includes Ligasure vessel sealing and gas sterilisation both of which are a first for New Zealand Veterinary Practice. We are proud to be able to help introduce these services to New Zealand.

Laparoscopic spey

Over the past 50 years many advances in Veterinary surgery have occured in anaesthetics, monitoring, sterilisation practices and pain control but the dog spey surgery has remained unchanged. Now this last part of the picture is moving into the modern era.

What is the difference between a traditional spey and a laparoscopic spey?

A traditional spey involves an open surgery with a 4-8 cm wound made into the abdominal wall. This incision is a source of post operative pain. The wound is too small to see the uterus so this organ needs to be located blindly often by using a metal spey hook which can bruise other structures. The uterus when located is followed to an ovary which must be stretched out of the abdomen. This often requires tearing of structures resulting in further bruising and post operative pain.The ovarian blood vessels are then tied off and released into the abdomen where they can no longer be watched for bleeding.

A laparoscopic spey involves two small incisions, one of 0.5cm and one 0.5-1cm. A rigid endoscope (laparoscope) allows all the organs in the abdomen to be readily observed with illumination and magnification on a high definition screen. The ovaries are easily located and not stretched from their natural position. The ovarian blood vessels are safely and permanently sealed with the amazing Ligasure device. The area is then inspected for bleeding ensuring maximum safety.

Studies demonstrate upto 65% less pain with laparoscopic verses traditional spey.

Additional information resources at

Do we remove the ovaries and uterus?

Current Veterinary literature in both Europe and America has very clearly shown that removing both the ovaries and uterus (ovarohysterectomy) is unnecessary and can increase post operative pain and complications. Removal of just the ovaries (ovariectomy) is now the preferred technique with reduced surgical time and trauma. This has been the normal practice in Europe for many years now. With laparoscopic speys the uterus is examined and only removed if abnormal.

Mini Laparoscopic Spey

We now have invested in high quality tiny 3mm sized laparoscopic equipment. This mini sized equipment allows us to provide high standard laparoscopy for dogs under four kilograms and cats.

We can use either entirely 3mm equipment or a combination of 3mm and 5mm as needed.

For most dogs typically 5-10mm devices are used. For large dogs we may also use a  single entry device used in human operations. ( SILS - Single incision laparoscopic surgery)

Bladder stone treatment

The formation of mineral stones in the badder is a common and painful problem often seen in dogs. The Miniature Schnauzer and Bichon Frise dogs are very commonly affected. Bladder stones are prone to recur.

With traditional bladder surgery the bladder is elevated out of the abdomen and opened with a large incision. The bladder collapses when opened and the interior can't easily be seen. A remarkable 16-20% of these surgeries have been found to have incomplete stone removal. Sutures can also trigger stone formation in upto 9% of dogs after surgery so less of these is best. 

The laparoscopic technique needs only a tiny opening in the bladder which remains inside the abdomen. With a laparoscope inside a full bladder the vet can view the interior of the bladder in high definition detail so not even the tiniest stone remains behind after the procedure.

Gastric bloat prevention ( Laparoscopic Assisted Gastropexy )

How to save a big dogs life?

Gastric bloat or GDV is a relatively common condition in large deep chested dogs. The stomach bloats with gas and rotates on its axis obstructing its own blood flow. This is a dire emmergency, often occuring in the evening, and is 100% fatal without surgery. With surgery it will still be a fatal event in between 15-33% of dogs. Upto one in three Great Danes will have this condition in their lifetime. After an episode 50% of dogs will have another if no preventative surgery is done. A large cost may be incurred at an emmergency centre for care during a crisis.

The surgery to prevent the stomach catastrophically rotating is called a gastropexy. It involves permanently attaching the right side of the stomach to the right abdominal wall. Studies show this does not harm stomach function.

Now with a much less painful technique it is far more reasonable to offer a preventative surgery with at risk dogs. Peace of mind.

This procedure can be done on its own or at the same time as a laparoscopic spey and requires only a relatively small skin incision of 4.5-5cm.

At risk breeds include giants like Great Danes, Irish Wolfhounds, Mastiffs, Saint Bernards, Burnese Mountain Dogs and Newfoundlands.

Other breeds with higher risk include German Shepherds, Wemaraners, Boxers, Rottweillers and Standard Poodles. If there is any close family history of GDV then this group of dogs are also candidates for preventative surgery.

Diagnostic Procedures

This is an area where laparoscopy really shines. With two small incisions the length of your little finger nail we can view the abdominal organs and take quality targeted diagnostic samples from various organs quickly and with minimum pain or stress for your pet.

This avoids the need for a large open surgery with a prolonged anaesthetic which is not ideal when a pet is already unwell.

We can biopsy the liver, pancreas, lymph nodes, kidney, intestine and tumours for staging with this minimally invasive procedure.

Other procedures

The list of minimally invasive procedures available for pets is growing rapidly in this exciting new field of Veterinary surgery. 

Procedures can include entering the chest with vastly less pain for diagnosis and treatment, removal of the gall bladder or retained testicles and placing a feeding tube to bypass the stomach.