Our clinic will remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic | Learn More

Call us: 512-327-1703 | Get Directions | For After Hour Emergencies, call Pet Specialists of Austin: 737-241-5756

Laparoscopic vs. Traditional Spays: What’s the Difference?


Laparoscopic Spays: A Minimally Invasive Approach

The majority of pets in the United States are spayed or neutered. In fact, spay and neuter surgeries are the most commonly performed veterinary procedures. When a female animal is spayed, the goal is to prevent unwanted litters as well as certain behavioral and medical problems. Here at Westlake Animal Hospital, we are lucky to offer both traditional and minimally invasive (laproscopic) spay services.

The Traditional Spay

With a traditional spay, an incision is created on the underside of the abdomen in order for the surgeon to be able to access the uterus and ovaries. This incision ranges from two to four inches long depending on the size and age of the pet. The ovaries are then loosened from their attachments to the body wall and this part of the procedure is done without the surgeon being able to see what he or she is doing. The blood vessels associated with the ovaries and uterus are tied off with suture.

Finally, the incision in the abdomen is closed with several layers of suture. Because there has been a large incision through the abdominal musculature, there is often some degree of swelling and discomfort associated with the procedure. Exercise is restricted for several weeks.

happy healthy pug

How Laparoscopic Spays are Different

laparoscopic surgery is one that is minimally invasive. A laparoscope is a tiny camera that the surgeon can insert into the abdomen and visualize everything he or she is doing.

For a laparoscopic spay, one or two approximately 1-inch long incision(s) are made into the abdomen. The laparoscopic camera is inserted through these small incisions. The surgeon can then see the entire abdomen, magnified, on a screen in the surgery suite. The surgeon uses a specialized laparoscopic instrument to grasp each ovary and then uses a blood vessel sealing device called a Ligasure to seal and cut the ovarian blood vessels. Each ovary is then removed through the small incision that was made for the camera. The uterus is not removed with this procedure. Even though the uterus is not removed, your pet will still get all of the health benefits that come with a traditional spay.

At Westlake Animal Hospital, we offer laparoscopic spays because they:

  • Have been shown to be less painful due to a smaller incision
  • Allow the surgeon to see everything he or she is doing
  • Often have less bleeding because blood vessels are cauterized rather than sutured
  • Offer less opportunity for complications

Laproscopic spays provide the most benefit for medium and large breed dogs and dogs who are 9 months or older at the time of the spay because the incision size for these dogs is greatly reduced with a laproscopic spay and because these dogs have larger blood vessels which are more securely sealed by the cauterization tool used during the laproscopic spay.

If you would like more information about having a laparoscopic spay performed on your pet, please contact us. We perform many other surgical procedures laparoscopically as well, the possibilities are endless…


Contact Us

Westlake Animal Hospital


3930 Bee Cave Rd. Austin, TX 78746

Clinic Hours

Mon-Fri: 7 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Sat & Sun: Closed