Laparoscopy and the acute abdomen

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Laparoscopy is most commonly used in small animal general practice for routine ovariectomy/ovariohysterectomy in bitches. However, it is far from a ‘one trick pony’ and the potential to utilise laparoscopic techniques for a wide variety of abdominal procedures has been largely overlooked. The excellent visualisation afforded through a small 5mm incision, coupled with the ability to perform biopsies or operative surgery provides the clinician with the tools to diagnose and treat many cases of acute abdominal disease with greatly reduced morbidity and minimal tissue trauma in both dogs and cats. Many clients are reluctant to allow their pet to undergo exploratory laparotomy or invasive surgery “just to get a biopsy”. However, they are much more open to a keyhole approach which enables collection of excellent, diagnostic biopsies from multiple tissues with excellent haemostasis. Many, if not most procedures currently carried out by open laparotomy can be performed laparoscopically or lap assisted with lower morbidity and quicker recovery. Even seemingly unlikely candidates for laparoscopy, such as splenectomy, can be carried out lap assisted with some advantages for the patient. This lecture discusses the use of laparoscopic techniques for diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic abdominal conditions in the dog and cat.

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