Keyhole Spay

We now offer the convenience of keyhole bitch spays, as an option for neutering here at Shepton Vets. Keyhole surgery has been used for many years in human medicine and this technique has been adapted for use with animals.

This newer keyhole spaying technique offers: smaller wounds, less internal manipulation and a faster recovery time versus a normal spay procedure.

Why we neuter?

Spaying (neutering of females) has become a common procedure because of the health benefits it can offer your bitch.  Spaying can prevent pyometra, a life threatening uterine infection, and mammary (breast) cancer in your bitch and as such on average spayed bitches live longer than those not spayed.

Spaying also prevents bitches from breeding or coming into season and so helps with management where there are multiple dogs and prevention of unwanted puppies.

vet operating keyhole sugery

What happens in a normal spay?

A normal spay procedure involves a surgical incision into the abdomen, large enough so that the veterinary surgeon can have full view of the uterus and ovaries. During the procedure both the uterus and ovaries are removed.  To do this the associated tissues are pulled into view to be clamped and tied, to stop blood flow to the organs.  At the end of the procedure the abdominal muscles and skin are sutured to close the abdomen.

What happens in a keyhole spay?

In a keyhole spay three small incisions are made  into the abdomen, two 1/2cm and one of a 1cm.  These incisions are used to place the endoscope into the abdomen. Images from the endoscope are transmitted onto a screen in the theatre to enable the veterinary surgeon to view the uterus and ovaries.

The ovaries are elevated and an electrosurgical device is used to seal the blood vessels and remove the ovaries. In a keyhole spay only the ovaries are removed. At the end of the procedure the three small incisions are closed as usual.

 What are the advantages of a keyhole procedure?

  • Smaller wounds – the procedure is conducted through 3 small wounds whatever the size of the patient.
  • Less internal manipulation – as the instruments go to the ovaries, this procedure avoids larger surgical incisions and less stretching of the muscle tissues. This causes less pain for the patient.
  • Quicker recovery time – patients generally experience less discomfort and blood loss during a keyhole procedure and so tend to recover more quickly from the anaesthetic and look happier when they go home.

What happens on the day?

  • On the morning of the procedure each  patient will be seen in and examined by a Vet to ensure they are well and there is no medical reason to prevent or delay the spay.  The  procedure will be discussed with owner and any questions can be answered.
  • Patients are given a pre-medication injection that helps to calm any fears, provide pain relief and also helps to reduce the quantities of further  anaesthetic medications that are given.
  • The procedure is performed under anaesthesia and once finished patients are recovered in the kennels under the supervision of a hospitalisation nurse.  We like to observe our patients for several hours after surgery to ensure they are alert, comfortable and are eating.
  • In the afternoon patients are discharged by a nurse.  The nurse will talk owners through the post op care required at home including exercise levels, the use of a collar and also giving the on-going pain relief that is dispensed in all cases.

Nurse discharging patient

After the procedure:

We like to examine patients at two further post operation checks at 2 days and 10 days post procedure.  The wounds will be monitored, any further advice will be given, and sutures will be removed in the final check.

Producing hormones takes energy and so after being spayed the energy demands of the patient are often lower.  As such they generally need less food in order to maintain their healthy body weight. 

We offer FREE weight monitoring checks in our nursing clinics to ensure we can monitor weight and body condition score for our patients and ensure that any feeding adjusts that need to made can be spotted early.


What our clients say about the Keyhole Spay:


We would like to take this opportunity to thank all at Shepton Vets for the great treatment that our Springer Spaniel Pip received recently when we had her spayed. We decided on the keyhole method as it was explained that it was far less invasive and allowed Pip to recover much more quickly. Indeed, the following day, she was more than back to her normal self! Over the past three weeks , her three small wounds have healed beautifully and, to be honest, she is more bouncy, exuberant and playful than she was before the surgery.

We would highly recommend our vets in Shepton Mallet for their skill, compassion and care and anyone considering having their bitch spayed should definitely consider keyhole.                                                 Cath & Will Dunscombe


Speak to your vet about your options for neutering and for more details on our keyhole spay procedure. 



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Shepton Veterinary Group Limited
Allyn Saxon Drive
Shepton Mallet BA4 5QH

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