Minimally Invasive Surgery

Minimally invasive surgery is accomplished through small portals (incisions that are approximately 5-20mm long) using cameras that can look inside the body cavity and instruments that can be inserted through the portals.

Studies have shown that dogs have less postoperative pain following minimally invasive surgery when compared to traditional surgery. Consequently, many of these procedures can be performed on an outpatient basis, which is beneficial to patients easily stressed in a hospital environment.

Although not all surgeries can be performed in this manner, Whitefish Animal Hospital is currently performing minimally invasive surgeries using state-of-the-art portals that allow multiple instruments to be inserted through a single 2cm portal, thereby increasing the number of surgeries that can be performed using these techniques. The following is a list of procedures that can be performed using minimally invasive surgery:

  • Liver biopsy
  • Spays (ovariohysterectomy and ovariectomy)
  • Cryptorchid castration
  • Prophylactic gastropexy
  • Abdominal exploration and intestinal biopsy
  • Gastrointestinal foreign body removal
  • Adrenalectomy
  • Lymph node biopsy
  • Cystotomy



Our state-of-the-art endoscope can help our veterinarians visualize internal organs and body parts without invasive exploratory surgery. The endoscopy equipment allows our doctors to perform minimally invasive techniques for a variety of common surgeries, including ovariohysterectomy, prophylactic gastropexy, and abdominal exploration.

Prophylactic Gastropexy:
Large and giant breed dogs with deep chests, such as Great Danes, Weimaraners, and Irish Wolfhounds are predisposed to developing gastric dilation and torsion (GDV) or “bloat”. GDV is a life threatening condition that requires emergency surgery, and even with surgery can result in death. Prophylactic gastropexy is a surgery aimed at preventing GDV from occurring by tacking the stomach to the body wall. This is accomplished using minimally invasive techniques (one or two small incisions and the assistance of cameras that look inside the abdominal cavity) and can be performed at the time of spay or neuter. We recommend this procedure for any large or giant breed dog that may be at risk, particularly those dogs that have a history of “food bloating” and/or have a relative that has had GDV.

Laparoscopic-Assisted Cystotomy:
A procedure for removing bladder stones that allows access to and viewing of the inside of the bladder through a single 20 mm incision. This procedure allows for flushing of the bladder and improves our ability to completely remove all bladder stones present in the bladder and urethra.

*Some info courtesy of The Small Animal Hospital College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Florida