We are your pet's surgical center and perform a variety of surgical procedures including spay and neuter, soft tissue surgery and orthopedic procedures such as cranial cruciate and fracture repair. Anything beyond our scope of expertise may be referred to a veterinary surgery specialist. Your pet's safety is our number one concern therefore all patients are prepared for surgery and recovered in our ICU under the watchful eye of trained health care team members. Your pet's vital parameters, heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen, CO2, respiratory rate and temperature are continously monitored by our trained anesthetic assistants. Our in house laboratory allows us to run pre-anesthetic blood tests the day of surgery. IV fluids are used to maintain blood pressure and help speed the recovery process. Pain control is provided for all surgical procedures and we employ a variety of pain management methods including local nerve blocks, injectable and oral pain medications depending on the type of surgery and individual patient assessment. PBMT laser treatment is including in our multi-modal approach to pain control and is performed on every surgical patient. See PBMT
Our team of veterinary surgeons posing as the April 2017 New Yorker Magazine cover - read more about this picture challenge: #ILookLikeASurgeon
What is Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIS) ?
Minimally Invasive Surgery or MIS for short, is a relatively new area of veterinary medicine that traditionally has only been available in veterinary specialty practices and teaching hospitals. Used routinely in human medicine, MIS utilizes a surgical high definition camera called a laparoscope, and specialized equipment to perform a variety of surgical procedures using very small incisions compared to traditional surgery. If you know of anyone who has had gall bladder or knee surgery, chances are it was performed using these methods. MIS speeds recovery time and has been scientifically shown to be less painful then traditional surgery. As the surgical incisions are smaller, there is less chance for incision complications in the healing period and patients are often more active in the healing period. If it is time to have your pet spayed, this is an alternative to the traditional method of surgery. We are pleased to be able to offer this cutting edge technology at our hospital and to have our veterinarians and health care team trained to perform laparoscopic procedures. Please do not hesitate to contact our hospital if you would like to find out more about this type of surgery and if it is right for your pet. We offer a free Pet Telehealth consultation with one of our veterinarians to discuss the procedure. New patients and referrals are welcome!
Length of incision needed for a traditional spay
Smaller incision using a "port-hole" to perform a Lap spay = less pain & faster recovery
See Lap Spay Q and A for more information. The fur is clipped higher for a Lap Spay but the incision is much smaller.
Laparoscopic Spay or "Lap Spay"
Laparoscopic Liver Biopsy
Laparoscopic Exploratory Surgery
Laparoscopic assisted GI, pancreatic Biopsy
Laparoscopic assisted Cystotomy
Laparoscopic Retained Testicle Removal
Dr. Pankatz performing a laparoscopic spay or "lap spay".
Laparoscopic view of the liver and gall bladder
View of the ovary, uterus and kidney during a "lap spay"
Ovariohysterectomy (OVH) vs Ovariectomy (OVE)
When it comes to spaying your female cat or dog, there are two methods that achieve the same outcomes of prevention of pregnancy, uterine infection (pyometra) and decreased risk of mammary cancer. Traditionally in North America, veterinarians have been trained to perform an ovariohysterectomy (OVH) which involves surgical removal of both ovaries and the uterus up to the cervix. Ovariectomy (OVE) involves the surgical removal of the ovaries only leaving the uterus in place. OVE's have been performed in Europe for many years and are being performed more and more in hospitals offering laparoscopic surgery. The advantage of OVE's is that there is less tissue removed which can translate into decreased risk for complications and quicker surgery times.
At MVVH we perform BOTH types of surgery depending on the patient and owner's preference. To read more about OVH vs OVE, click the following link:
What's the difference between a low cost spay/neuter clinic and a full service hospital?
Pet owners have choices when choosing where to have their pet spayed or neutered however it is best to be fully informed when making those choices! We are here to support you in which ever choice you make. Having your pet spayed or neutered has many health benefits and is an important part of pet ownership. Low cost spay/neuter clinics play an important role in making this important procedure accessible to all pet owners and are generally very safe and staffed with experienced veterinarians. Spay/neuter clinics operate on volume and are designed to offer fast, "no frills" surgical care to get as many patients through the door as possible at the lowest cost possible. If you are looking for individual care geared toward your pet then a high volume low cost spay/neuter clinic may not be for you. It is best to educate yourself before choosing a surgical option for your pet. The saying "you can't compare apples to oranges" holds true when comparing a high-volume, low-cost clinic to a full service veterinary hospital.
1) Low-cost clinics do not typically require or offer bloodwork before surgery.
One main reason for this is because most young, healthy animals do not have any underlying metabolic issues. But there are always exceptions. If the clinic provides a bloodwork option, your cost will go up. But if you decline the bloodwork or if the clinic doesn’t offer it, if your pet has an underlying medical issue (liver or kidney disease, bleeding disorder, etc.), the vet and staff will not know and the risk for surgical and post-op complications will go up. Bloodwork helps your vet and staff know what risks are present, what anesthetic drugs to use and/or whether your pet can even safely have surgery. This is also a great time to establish what is normal for your pet and create a starting baseline should your pet become ill in the future.
2) Low-cost clinics do not usually place an IV catheter or give intravenous fluids to your pet during surgery.
One of the reasons for this is that most high-volume spay/neuter veterinarians are able to perform surgery in a fraction of the time (as long as an experienced veterinarian is performing the surgeries). But why might an IV catheter and fluids be important? Fluids provide assistance with blood pressure stability and perfusion to organs. If your pet has trouble with blood pressure, decreased perfusion to important organs may cause them to fail, typically not seen for days or weeks after your pet goes home. Most young, healthy animals will not have this problem and typically the surgery is quick, but not always. If your hospital provides this, your cost will go up. ALL patients undergoing and spay and neuter procedures in our hospital have a pre-placed IV catheter and fluids given during the procedure.
3) Low-cost clinics have limited staffing and cannot provide constant attention to your pet before, during and after surgery.
There are often only one or two veterinary technicians or assistants on staff during a typical surgery day, and they are commonly multi-tasking. The most consistent time we see complications or accidental death is right after surgery, in recovery—this is true for any hospital or clinic. If your pet is not directly monitored by a technician at all times, if they have any difficulty in surgery or recovery, it is possible that a minute or two (or more) may go by without this difficulty being noticed. This is not intentional, of course—it has to do with the number of staff available. If a hospital provides constant nursing care and monitoring for your pet, your cost will go up. The highest risk for an anesthesia problem in veterinary patients has been shown to be in the recovery period.
4) Low-cost clinics do not routinely monitor CO2 levels, ECG, blood pressure and constant body temperature for your pet during surgery.
A pulse-oximeter is usually the only monitoring device present, revealing heart rate and oxygen perfusion in the blood, which are important. But other vital signs can be important too. Hypothermia can make recovery long and difficult, ECG readings help determine any heart abnormalities, abnormal CO2 levels can be deadly, and I’ve already explained what low blood pressure can do. Again, the the most common reason for not monitoring these things is that the surgery is geared to be as fast as possible and it takes time to gook monitors. If your hospital provides these other monitoring devices, the equipment costs money and the trained/certified staff member must be paid to be there, use them and know how to manage any complications.
5) Low-cost clinics do not provide a full, comprehensive physical exam and vet consultation for your pet before surgery.
Exams are limited due to the number of surgeries that must be performed in a day. You do not have an opportunity to discuss your pet’s health and concerns with a vet before the surgery is performed. There may be an area on your drop-off sheet where you can write your concerns, however you likely never see or meet your veterinarian. If your hospital provides time and an opportunity for a comprehensive exam and discussion with your vet, that’s right, your cost goes up.
6) Low-cost clinics are not the best option for higher-risk pets: large and giant breed dogs, senior pets, brachycephalic breeds (those with flat/smashed faces), obese, in-heat, pregnant and aggressive dogs and cats, those with a history of medical issues, etc.
Low-cost clinics are not typically set up to handle emergencies if they arise or hospitalize animals overnight for additional care if necessary. They lack the proper equipment, training, staffing and time to handle anything outside of a normal, healthy patient surgery and recovery. If your hospital is set up for this, your cost will go up.
So, you see where the costs are cut? There are liability waivers to be signed and information is provided to help owners make reasonably informed decisions, however, most places do 30-50 surgeries in a day and shelters and low-cost clinics simply cannot afford the time and staffing to have lengthy discussions with every owner about the differences in what they do and what full-service clinics do. And 99.9% of the time, pets recover well in these facilities and there are no issues, so these discussions do not typically take precedence. That being said, owners should take some responsibility and do their own research—-if a surgery is $400 in one place and $100 in another, you must use common sense and ask questions to discern this difference (this information is also true for places that offer dental procedures for $250 versus your vet who quotes you $800—ask questions because there are definitive differences.)
7) Enquire about pain control when considering using a low-cost clinic
Surgery hurts and each patient can be very different to their response to pain. Older patients can take longer to recover and may need more pain control. Assessment of pain is best when it is individualized. Low cost clinics may provide minimal pain control techniques or none at all. Will your pet be going home with medications after the surgery? Can you call the hospital if you are concerned about pain? Do they perform a PBMT laser treatment after the surgery?
Endoscopy utilizes high definition camera technology (ie. "endoscopes") to examine various parts of the body in a minimally invasive manner. Endoscopy can be used to examine the upper and lower gastrointestinal tract (larynx, esophagus, stomach, intestines and colon), the trachea, the urethra, vagina and urinary bladder in female dogs, the nasal cavity and the ear canal. We have flexible and rigid endoscopes as well as a video otoscope (special scope to examine the ear) to help diagnose many conditions in our patients decreasing the need for more extensive surgical intervention. Biopsy samples can often be taken at the same time allowing for the accurate diagnosis of a variety of conditions. Some indications for endoscopy in veterinary medicine include:
Stomach foreign body removal
Chronic gagging, vomiting or regurgitation
Blood in the urine
Chronic nasal discharge
Images captured with our Karl Storz endoscopy equipment
We are a declaw free hospital
The scientific evidence can no longer be disputed - declawing your cat can cause long-lasting, irreversible physical and emotional harm. Now illegal to be performed in British Columbia and Nova Scotia, declawing is also deemed illegal in Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Brazil, the United Kingdom, parts of Europe and some cities in California and Colorado. Think you can't live with those little daggers? Don't despair as there some great new products available along with lots of tips we can give to help!