What to Know If Your Cat Requires Laparoscopic (Keyhole) Surgery
If your cat needs surgery, your veterinarian might consider a laparoscopic procedure. These procedures use a series of one or two small openings into the cat's abdomen in order to perform a procedure, such as an ovariohysterectomy (typically referred to as a spay). It may also be used to biopsy samples from organs such as the liver or the intestines. A laparoscopic procedure allows your cat's veterinarian to visually examine the tissues as well as collect samples that may be used to get a diagnosis.
Contact a local veterinarian about the possibility of performing these procedures laparoscopically, as minimally invasive procedures lessen the amount of tissue trauma. And as a minimally invasive type of surgery, laparoscopy has become the standard in many cat surgeries. Here is what you need to know in preparation for your cat’s laparoscopy.
Benefits of Laparoscopic Surgery for Cats
Laparoscopic procedures include laparoscopic keyhole surgery. This procedure is done because it is less invasive, although not all surgeries can be performed this way. One of the main benefits of laparoscopic surgery is that it’s a smaller incision, making it a less invasive way to get samples and perform surgeries. Many pets will have a quicker recovery time because of the minimally invasive nature. There is also the potential that having smaller incisions means that there is less chance of surgical infection. The main reason for performing a laparoscopic procedure in a cat is to obtain biopsies of tissues.
Preparing Your Cat for Laparoscopic Surgery
In preparation for performing the procedure, there are different things that the surgeon may recommend. For instance, most cats should be fasted for 12 hours prior to the surgery, but you should discuss that recommendation with your veterinarian. Some patients may need to eat within that window, such as diabetic cats who receive insulin.
Recovery from Cat Laparoscopy Surgery
Once the procedure has been completed, the cat is recovered from anesthesia. They are generally monitored for a period of a few hours, and then they are sent home unless there is a medical reason for the cat to be hospitalized. This is the same approach that traditional surgeries generally take.
After you take your cat home, you will have post-op care instructions from your veterinarian, and you should follow them carefully. If your veterinarian has prescribed any medication such as pain medicine, you should give it following the prescription. Post-op care will usually involve monitoring the incision sites, and your veterinarian may make recommendations about wound care that you should adhere to. For routine laparoscopic procedures, your cat will generally be fully recovered and back to their normal selves within 12 to 24 hours after the surgery.
Regardless of how they are feeling, they should not be running around for the next several days, even though the incision is smaller than one from traditional surgery. Talk to your veterinarian about how long your cat's activity should be restricted, as that is very dependent on the type of procedure they have. During this period of time, your cat should stay indoors and have their activity limited: no running around chasing after toys or hopping on and off of the counters.
Your cat's recovery may also be determined by what health issues they have that led to the need for laparoscopic surgery. While some cats may be back to their normal selves within 1-2 days, sicker cats may need a couple of weeks of careful exercise restriction and remaining in the house. Remember to discuss the post-op care with your veterinary medical team, as the different procedures that could be performed will dictate the different types of care needed.
If your pet has an upcoming procedure, reach out to a veterinarian near you to find out if cat laparoscopy might be a possibility.