An independent Isle of Man veterinary practice, Strand Vets, which recently became the first on the island to offer laparoscopic surgery, commonly known as keyhole surgery, has already completed its 250th procedure and is now offering the service to cats and even pigs.
The practice also recently became one of the first in the world to perform a laparoscopic spay on a pet pig, after Greenhills Animal Sanctuary brought in a pair of domestic black pigs for the operation. The procedure reduced their recovery time from a fortnight to a couple of days.
Dr Ciara Tinkler, clinical director at Strand Vets, said: “Becoming the first veterinary practice to offer laparoscopic surgery on the Isle of Man follows a significant investment in new equipment and training, and it’s a very exciting proposition. We have pet owners traveling from Ramsey and Douglas to seek out care and have now completed more than 250 successful procedures using the technology.
“It’s already common place in human medicine and there’s no doubt this is the future of pet surgery because it’s far less invasive and causes less bleeding and trauma, as well as fewer complications.
“There are still misconceptions in the veterinary industry surrounding keyhole surgery. One is that because we make more incisions for keyhole surgery, it is more painful. However, making very small incisions allows for a small camera to provide a much clearer visual to the inflated abdomen.
“Tissues can then be cauterised with precision and not torn, which results in less pain and a much faster recovery time. The tiny incisions can often be closed with a single skin stitch and in some cases, none are even necessary.
“In most cases, after undergoing keyhole surgery, pets will only require one check-up, two days after the operation and by this time, they are usually back to normal, compared to a typical 10-to-14-day recovery period after a traditional spay.”
Ciara added: “We’ve now even carried out laparoscopic spays on a pair of pet pigs, which we believe to be one of the first in the world. The procedure was like a dog operation, with a few subtle differences, such as the canula going in the pig’s ear veins, rather than the leg. Afterwards both pigs made a very quick recovery.
“We’ve also just invested in extra equipment that lets us perform the procedure on cats – everything is the same, just a little smaller!”
Strand Vets has a long history in Port Erin and has been owned by clinical director, Ciara Tinkler, since 2009, with brother, Geoff Tinkler becoming managing director in 2018. As well as treating pets in its progressive practice, Strand Vets also has specialist farm and equine divisions.