November 18, 2009

The Kindest Cut

A Bengal tiger is one of the first to undergo minimally invasive spaying at the Foster Hospital in Grafton

Spaying an animal is serious surgery, but now veterinarians at the Cummings School’s Foster Hospital for Small Animals have started to use laparoscopic methods, which are minimally invasive. One of the first patients to experience the new procedure wasn’t so small at all. It was Kya, a 180-pound Bengal tigress from Southwick’s Zoo in Mendon, Mass.

Kya, a Bengal tigress, undergoes laparoscopic spaying surgery at the Cummings School’s Foster Hospital for Small Animals. Photo: Andrew Cunningham

Using laparoscopic surgery entailed making three small incisions, each requiring only a single suture. The limited number of stitches meant Kya would not need to be anesthetized again to remove the sutures when her wounds healed.

The Foster Hospital started using laparoscopic procedures for spaying because it reduces complications, damage to surrounding tissue and post-operative pain, according to clinical staff. Soon the hospital will be offering the procedure for large dogs.

Kya, which the zoo did not have plans to breed, has fully recovered, and another tigress is expected to undergo the same procedure.

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