What Is Laparoscopic or “Keyhole” Surgery For Dogs?

As a veterinary practice that is prepared to meet any veterinary need your dog may have, Summer Creek Vet is equipped with a laparoscopic unit. We take pride in the fact that our dogs undergoing laparoscopic surgery experience up to 65% less pain and a significantly reduced recovery time (only 2-3 days!) versus many types of classical, open abdominal veterinary surgeries.


To perform veterinary laparoscopy, a veterinarian cuts a small incision, the size of a keyhole, in the dog’s belly. A special miniature laparoscopic camera is then inserted into the hole. Real-time photo images from the camera are displayed on a large monitor, allowing the veterinarian to view individual organs inside the dog and to guide the surgical instruments. This provides significantly improved visualization of the abdominal organs compared to a typical open surgical procedure. 

What Is Beneficial About Keyhole Surgery For Dogs?

Laparoscopic surgery, also sometimes called "keyhole surgery," or “minimally invasive surgery” is increasingly being used in veterinary medicine because it is less invasive. It has several distinct advantages over open abdominal surgery, including:

  • Smaller incision sites (2-3)
  • Less postoperative pain (up to 65% less in spay procedures)
  • Reduced need for pain medication 
  • Quicker recovery time (2-3 days instead of 10-14 days)
  • E-collar use for only 2-3 days, a massive benefit for some pets
  • Better visualization of the entire abdomen
  • Generally less risk of hemorrhage (bleeding)

What Procedures Are Candidates For Laparoscopic Surgery?

Laparoscopic surgery for dogs is used for procedures including:

  • Liver biopsies
  • Stomach-tacking in larger dogs to prevent bloating/twisted stomach
  • Spaying of female dogs (LOVE Spay - Laparoscopic Ovariectomy)
  • Intestinal biopsies
  • Neutering of male dogs when the testicles are stuck in the abdomen
  • Bladder surgery to remove bladder stones
  • Rhinoscopy (evaluating the nasal passages)


Ideal candidates for laparoscopic surgery are lean and weigh at least 20 pounds, although some procedures can be performed on smaller animals.

Is Laparoscopic Surgery More Expensive Than Open Surgery?

Laparoscopic surgery for dogs is more expensive than open abdominal surgery due to the significant amount of equipment and additional training needed, but the substantial benefits to your pet often outweigh the cost.

Is Laparoscopic Surgery Covered By Pet Insurance?

With all of the advantages of laparoscopic surgery for dogs, it is refreshing to learn that in many cases pet insurance treats the procedure the same as open surgery. However, laparoscopic surgery for dogs might not be covered the same by every pet insurance company, so it is important to check your policy or contact your insurer to ensure that you are covered.

Laparoscopic spaying for dogs is an elective procedure and, whether open or keyhole, is not covered by pet insurance. However, the cost of laparoscopic spaying for dogs is usually only slightly higher than traditional spaying. The surgical neutering of male dogs that have a retained abdominal testicle (called a cryptorchid) is often covered by pet insurance, and this too may be performed by laparoscopic surgery for dogs.

Talk To One Of Our Veterinarians About Laparoscopic Surgery Options At Your Next Appointment


Please contact us here at Summer Creek Vet to learn more or to schedule an appointment to discuss laparoscopic surgery for dogs with one of our veterinary team members today.