Laparoscopic Speys

What is a laparoscopic spey? Laparoscopic ovariectomy is an alternative to a routine spey and is carried out by keyhole surgery. For pets, as in humans, keyhole surgery is a minimally invasive alternative to the common open surgeries performed on patients. With this, we only remove the ovaries, using a camera to visualise them and long instruments to operate. This leaves our pets with two little incisions which are glued so there are no sutures to remove. One incision is for the camera, which displayed a magnified view on a monitor allowing a clear picture for the surgeon. The second incision is for instruments which are used to remove the ovaries.

Laparoscopy Benefits

  1. Reduced post operative pain
  2. Quicker post operative recovery
  3. Smaller incisions
  4. No stitches in the skin – usually no need for a buster collar
  5. Lower risk of wound breakdown
  6. Reduced trauma and inflammation
  7. Rest is usually only required for 2-3 days after the procedure.


  • Will my pet be sore after the procedure? In a conventional spay, the ligaments connecting the ovaries to the abdomen have to be stretched, which causes pain. With keyhole spaying these ligaments are cauterised and cut, which is significantly less painful.
  • How much hair is clipped? Due to the positioning of the instruments, is it necessary to clip a large area of hair on the sides and the belly. This ensures the area is sterile for surgery.
  • How long is the rest period? For a conventional spay pets need to rest for 10-14days, with keyhole procedures the rest time is just 2-3 days so long as the recovery goes as planned.
  • Will pain relief be required at home? Most pets are very comfortable after keyhole surgery. We administer pain medication on the day of their operation, but they usually do not require any when they get home.
  • Is it safe to leave the uterus behind? Many studies have been performed looking into the risk of leaving the uterus behind. So long as the ovaries are fully removed, there is no benefit to the patient of removing the uterus. In order to develop pyometra, hormones are required, which come from the ovaries. Therefore, without ovaries, it is not possible to develop these conditions. If we see that the uterus looks abnormal during the procedure, we may be able to remove it laparoscopically or may advise converting to open surgery to do so.

When is itchy skin a sign your dog should visit the vet?

Every dog loves a scratch, yes? Dogs itch, just like they bark at cats, shake after rainfall and growl at the postman. But when is a good scratch actually a bad scratch? Sometimes scratching belies a deeper problem that needs proper attention. Here’s what to look out for to prevent your furry friend from any skin-related stress.

Excessive scratching

Given your wet-nosed pal’s propensity to claw away at his coat, it’s easy to overlook the odd scratch, but you know your dog best. Observe how long they spend scratching and where on their body seems to be irritating them. Is it one place specifically? Is it causing them stress? Are they super focused on a specific area? That’s no ordinary itch!


Biting their legs/feet

If your dog is gnawing furiously at their paws or legs, chances are there’s a problem that’s literally skin-deep – and without treatment it’s only going to worsen. If their skin has dried out, it may be causing them pain, and nobody wants to see their dog in distress.

Skin blemishes

Noticed anything unusual just beneath the coat? Have a closer look through the fur to inspect for raw spots. Redness, flaky patches and bleeding means that their skin is damaged and needs attention. Providing your pet lets you, and isn’t already too sensitive from all the surface distress, have a good check through and see if there’s an obvious looking problem. A bath is a good time to inspect more thoroughly, but remember that if he is already suffering he might be even more reluctant than usual to participate.

(Too much) ear scratching or head shaking

Dog’s ears aren’t just a velvety accessory. They also act as a great antenna to transmit to you your barking buddy’s state of mind. They alert you to excitement, lethargy, sadness and the rest – the Greek chorus of canine kind, and a valuable asset to all dog owners to let you know how your four-legged friend is feeling. Same too with itchy skin. A dog’s ears are prone to excessive itchiness. Intense scratching or shaking their heads means there’s a problem to be addressed. Again, keep an eye on the ears. If he’s doing it for longer and with greater intensity, check for inflammation beneath the fur.



Your mutt will use whatever means they can to soothe that itch. If their skin is still prickly and burning, expect to see that long pink tongue rolling out to lick at the source of their pain. Again, keep a good eye on the amount of time they’re taking to attend to one spot. If they’re repeatedly returning to one area, then there may be an issue which may need medical relief.


What next?

Chances are, if your dog is itching excessively there’s a problem that needs to be addressed. Observation is key. It’s easy to dismiss a scratch as part of their usual behaviour. But keeping vigilant about their scratching is key to winning the battle against uncomfortably itchy skin. It’s normal for dogs to scratch, but constantly chewing their feet, flapping their ears or biting their behinds definitely isn’t part of their usual behaviour. If you think you’ve identified excessive itchiness, a vet visit is advised strongly.


To learn more about how to treat your dog’s itchy skin visit:


Itchy skin is a symptom of many different ailments, from infections to allergies to parasites and disease. Your vet will be able to treat the itch whilst they try to diagnose the problem and provide the medical cure that’s needed.

How important is the antibiotic resistance crisis?

How many of you are aware that the efficacy of antibiotics is reducing? Are you aware of what would happen if antibiotics no longer worked?

■ Antibiotic resistance is the biggest threat to global health
■ Although it occurs naturally, the misuse and overuse of antibiotics in humans and animals is accelerating the threat
■ Antibiotics DO NOT treat viral infections and will enhance resistance if used in this way

Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections, they kill, inhibit or reduce the growth of specific bacteria.
Antibiotics are a vital health resource which need to be protected.
Resistant antibiotics are antibiotics that no longer work as effectively (or at all) against an infection that it once treated. This occurs when the bacteria mutate and change their DNA to survive against the specific antibiotic.
There are also concerns that if new strains of bacteria emerge our existing antibiotics will be unable to treat them.

The veterinary industry is able to limit and prevent this threat by carefully following guidelines on prescribing antibiotics. We need our clients to come together and help us also. Please be patient with us and understand that we cannot prescribe antibiotics to your pet unless we definitely need to.

We need to work together to limit the spread of resistance. What YOU can do to help:
📚 research antibiotic resistance and become aware of the facts
💊 only take antibiotics when prescribed by a certified health professional and NEVER demand antibiotics
🖊 always follow the medications instructions and always complete the antibiotic course (including pet medication!!!)
🛀 practice good self-hygiene by washing your hands regularly, avoiding close contact when ill, preparing food safely

Please visit this link to find out more:…/fact-she…/detail/antibiotic-resistance

Healthy trends for fluffy friends

Prevention is Better Than Cure is the motto of my university, the RVC, and is a motto I live and work by. Considering health and well-being throughout our companions lives, results in happier pets who live for longer (as well as saving us money!) There are many steps we can take toward this goal, highlighted in this column, to improve your little friends quality of life! Following on from last seasons focus on   canine vaccinations, this time we are looking how we vaccinate our cats and rabbits!

The core vaccinations (recommended for all cats) protect against Feline Rhinotracheitis (also known as Feline Herpes Virus) and Feline Calicivirus. These two viruses are responsible for a complex known as Feline Respiratory Disease Complex. These viruses, together or alone, can cause inflammation of the nasal and sinus linings,   conjunctivitis, fever, excessive tear production, salivation and mouth sores. There is no cure for either of these viruses, and once recovered from the initial infection, may lay latent in the immune system until a time of stress, when symptoms are likely to recur.

We also routinely vaccinate all cats against Feline Panleukopenia Virus, which is a highly contagious and often fatal disease of cats. The disease is most commonly seen in cats <1 year of age (but can be seen in cats of any age), and may cause death with little or no warning. Cats often develop a fever, depression and stop eating. They may also vomit or develop diarrhoea.

We also recommend vaccinating again Feline Leukaemia Virus for all cats who have contact with other cats (multi-cat household and outdoor cats). This is because the virus is passed between cats in saliva, during mutual grooming, sharing of food dishes or litter trays and during cat fights. Cats infected with leukaemia virus can develop anaemia, cancer of the lymph nodes or leukaemia,      suppression of the immune system (increasing their risk of other infections), severe inflammation of the mouth and problems reproducing.

Our vaccination protocol for cats is a primary course of two injections (3-4 weeks apart) followed by yearly boosters. Injections may be given in the back of the neck, or underneath the skin on one of the cats hind limbs. We will also perform a general health check on your animal each year at their vaccination consultation.

In <1% of vaccinations of cats, we see side effects, most of which are mild and temporary (usually lethargy with or without a fever) which subside without treatment. However, if you do have any concerns about your animal post-vaccination, please do give us a call and let us know.

All rabbits (indoor and outdoor) should be vaccinated against Myxomatosis and Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease (RHD). There are two strains of RHD, and for this reason, rabbits must receive two vaccinations each year at least 2 weeks apart. Both cause death fairly rapidly after infection and are rarely treatable. Myxomatosis is also a fatal disease which causes blindness and in-appetence – some rabbits will die within 48 hours of showing signs of illness.

All of these disease are preventable, annual vaccinations are a critical part of maintaining good health in your fluffy friend. If you have any further questions about vaccination, please feel free to discuss them with a vet, nurse, or member of the reception team.

Written by Jazzmin.

Do I need to treat my pet for fleas?

Fleas seem to be a problem that many people encounter with their pets all year round. It is a myth that fleas are only seen in the warmer months! While prevention is better than treatment, we can sometimes find ourselves struggling in the home as they’re often a persistent pest, so we’ve put together a guide to help!

Just one flea can lay up to as many as 50 eggs a day. If your pet has fleas, these eggs will be laid in multiple sites in your house. If conditions are right, these eggs then hatch and go on to find their host (your pet). These fleas will continue to lay eggs on your pet and in your house and the cycle will continue unless they are stopped. It doesn’t take long for an infestation to occur but it can take a long time to remove the infestation from your house once it does occur…

When treating fleas, a multi-pronged attack is the best. Only 5% of them are living on the pet on the pet as adults, meaning that the other 95% of the population are living in the home environment in their immature stages, which are the eggs, larvae and pupae. A household spray, normally containing an insecticide, is strongly recommended to treat the eggs and larvae. When spraying the household, care should be taken to spray all floor spaces in all rooms. Make sure to move furniture/spray underneath, as flea larvae like to retreat to dark places. All bedding/blankets should be washed in a 60°C or above wash, and this will kill any fleas, eggs or larvae living within them.

The pupae in the environment are resistant to the insecticide sprays. Frequent hoovering encourages the pupae to hatch through the vibrations caused which will then be treated. Warmer months are often thought to be the worst for flea problems, but winter can be troublesome as well, as any flea eggs in the environment will hatch in response to the central heating being turned on, so be vigilant all year round.

Making sure we stay on top of our pets flea treatment is paramount, as missing just one dose means your pet isn’t covered anymore. Fleas also carry the potential to pass worms onto your pet, so by protecting your dog from fleas it can also somewhat prevent worms. However, de-worming treatment must also been given to ensure your pet is free of all types of worms. All cats and dogs in the house should be treated, and allowed to roam the house if fleas have become a problem. They will act as a magnet for any fleas in the environment, and while it can be irritating for them to be bitten, fleas that jump on a treated pet will die.

The final step is… waiting. It can sometimes take up to three months to clear a flea infestation in the house. However, by following the steps above, you should see a gradual decline in numbers once the flea life cycle is broken & eventually a flea free home!

Obesity in our pets – when does an extra bit of weight become an issue?

We all love our pets and want to make sure they are happy and healthy; but sometimes, we can love them a little too much. It is important therefore, for owners to understand what is the correct weight and what the impact of being overweight is having on their pets.

According to recent studies 1:14 dogs in the UK are overweight – but what impact is this having for your pet and for us as vets? Just like people, carrying a little too much can be detrimental to the health of your dog and their quality of life so we encourage owners to keep their pets slim and healthy. Overweight dogs are much more likely to suffer from: arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, respiratory disease, high blood pressure, cancer and are at an increased risk during anaesthetics. In fact, a 2006 study revealed overweight dogs had as much as two years reduced from their life span!

So what causes a dog to become overweight? There are some predisposing factors that make your dog more susceptible to weight gain: dogs who are middle ages, being neutered and their lifestyle. These things increase the likelihood but do not directly cause your dog to become overweight. The cause itself is too many calories and/or not enough exercise.

So how can you avoid your dog getting a little too chunky? Always research breeds of dog and ensure you can provide the right amount of exercise for that breed. If you struggle to get the walks in you can always try looking into a dog walker to help get you dogs step count up. Feed an appropriate diet and always read the bag to check how much food your dog requires per day, try to always weigh the food out so you know you aren’t overfeeding. There is nothing wrong with giving your dog treats but just remember not to over do it (as much as your dog might give you those big, sad eyes) and if you give treats daily remember to take that out of their daily food allowance. When neutering your pet, we advise monitoring your dog’s weight and reducing food if needed post-surgery to prevent weight gain.

Is my dog the right weight? It is important owners know how to tell if their pets weight is appropriate. With overweight pups becoming more and more common it can warp our view of how our dogs should look. When you feel your dog their ribs should be easy to palpate with a minimal amount of fat covering them (but shouldn’t be visible from a distance). When looking from above, the waist should come in nicely behind the rib cage and from the side view the waist should come up behind the ribs but hip bones and spine should have coverage. If you aren’t sure if your dog’s weight is right – just ask us.

What to do if your dog has gained a few too many kgs? Please come and see one of our nurses for advice on weight loss. We will help you work out a plan that works for you and your dogs lifestyles. We all know how tricky getting that perfect figure is for our pets so please never feel judged – we do understand and we will do our best to help you. We know they love their food, just remember they don’t know the consequences so as much as saying no might feel mean – you’re doing them a kindness and they will still love you after.

Written by Georgie RVN