What you should know about Laparoscopic Surgery for Cats and Dogs

Laparoscopic surgery, also known as minimally invasive surgery, gives veterinarians the ability to explore the abdominal and/or pelvic cavity using a miniature camera inserted through a small incision instead performing a traditional “open” procedure where a larger incision is made. Once the camera is inserted through a small incision (¼” to ½” long), minimally invasive surgery can be performed with a clear, magnified view of the organs, allowing for excellent precision, while minimizing post-operative patient discomfort. 

Bishop Ranch Veterinary Center & Urgent Care has been performing preventative laparoscopic gastropexies for over a decade. We also offer laparoscopic spays, laparoscopic cryptorchid neuters (i.e., neutering for dogs who have an undescended testicle), and liver biopsies.

The benefits of Laparoscopy Surgery:

  • Decreased Postoperative pain. Laparoscopic spays result in 65% less pain compared to traditional open spays*

  • More surgical precision due to the magnified view of the organs. Gastropexy in particular can be performed through a 1.5 inch incision instead of the 8-12 inch incision typically required for the traditional open approach

  • Smaller incisions yielding less pain and discomfort, quicker recovery time, and decreased chance for major postoperative complications and pain medications

  • No tearing of the ovarian ligament required for laparoscopic spays – thought to be the most painful part of the spay procedure and the reason why patients are often painful post-operatively

Commonly Asked Questions

Is laparoscopic surgery a better option than open surgery?
We believe it is overall a better option as it's significantly less painful, less invasive, and there's a quicker healing time. The pet can return to normal activity, like chasing a ball and running around the backyard in significantly less time than with traditional open surgery. We can more readily perform diagnostic procedures that might otherwise be too cost-prohibitive because open surgery for obtaining biopsies is more expensive or just too invasive for clients to agree to. 

How effective is laparoscopic surgery?
Extremely effective. Especially because the technology with this type of equipment is quite advanced. The imaging and detailed evaluations we can get with this precise equipment allow us to do very effective procedures. A spay, for example, can be done with this minimally invasive technique. It's probably the most common procedure done, and it allows us to remove the ovary and the uterus as well. But many studies show that it's only necessary to remove the ovaries unless the uterus is already diseased. By removing the ovaries, the risk of disease in the uterus is extremely low to the point where it's not necessary to go through the additional trauma of removing the uterus. That's actually the standard procedure being done all over Europe and is becoming more common in the states. The laparoscopic equipment allows us to hone in on the ovary a lot more effectively because we can see all the surrounding structures and ligate where we need to with specialized electrocautery equipment. We can remove the ovary with minimal to no bleeding.

How does a laparoscopic spay work?
A laparoscopic spay, also known as a laparoscopic ovariectomy, is a minimally invasive spay that removes the ovaries. It has been shown to be a less painful alternative to traditional spays. A single small keyhole incision is made. A camera will view the ovarian ligament and pedicle directly. The ovarian ligament does not need to be torn, which can be one of the most painful parts of the traditional spay procedure. An instrument is used to cauterize (close) and cut through blood vessels and tissues. No tension is placed on the uterus (which is not removed). Recovery time is much faster and activity restriction time is shorter.

How much does a laparoscopic surgery cost?
The cost of laparoscopic procedures and surgery will vary by condition and procedure. Laparoscopic surgery is typically more expensive than traditional surgery because of the investment in specialized training and equipment by the veterinary office. However, many veterinarians and patients agree the benefits far outweigh the added costs. Please note the costs is usually 30-50% more than a spay if preventative gastropexy is included.

How can you schedule your dog's laparoscopic spay?
We perform laparoscopic procedures three times a week and book these procedures 1-2 months in advance. If you would like to book your laparoscopic spay for your pet, please give us a call at (925) 866-8387.


For a limited time - Pet owners can schedule their dog's lap spay/neuter and receive a 10% discount when scheduled. Procedures need to be scheduled before January 22, and will require a deposit at time of scheduling. Call at (925) 866-8387 to schedule.



*Devitt CM, Cox RE, Hailey JJ. Duration, complications, stress, and pain of open ovariohysterectomy versus a simple method of laparoscopic-assisted ovariohysterectomy in dogs. J Am Vet Med Assoc 2005;227(6):921-927

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