Minimally Invasive Procedures

Diagnostic Endoscopy

Whether your pet has a respiratory, urinary, or gastrointestinal problem, our clinicians might discuss endoscopy (also called rhinoscopy, bronchoscopy, or cystoscopy) as a possible next step in investigating their health problems. This procedure involves the use of a camera to gain access to the organ of interest and get samples for analysis. Though endoscopy does require anesthesia, no incisions are performed and most of our patients go home on the same day or the following day with no activity restrictions.

In addition to allowing us to see and sample organs we are inspecting, endoscopy can also be used to remove foreign bodies from the stomach or airways without resorting to surgery.

Bone Marrow Sampling

In some cases, your pet might require sampling of the bone marrow. This is typically performed when we suspect either an infectious or cancerous disease is attacking the bone marrow and preventing the normal production of blood cells (white and red blood cells and platelets). Depending on the size of your pet and the type of sampling that is required, this procedure can be performed with only a mild sedation but in some cases might require a full anesthesia.

Urethral Stenting

For dogs affected by certain cancers of the urinary tract (transitional cell carcinomas, prostatic carcinomas), the continued growth of the tumor can eventually make them unable to urinate with life-threatening consequences. Though in the past this complication required either surgery or euthanasia, these obstructions can now be temporarily relieved by implanting a small metallic stent. While this procedure is performed under general anesthesia, placement of the stent is performed using fluoroscopy and does not require surgery.

Ureteral Stenting

Placement of a small tube (stent) inside the ureter(s) is occasionally required in some dogs when a stone, blood clot or mass is blocking the flow of urine from the kidney to the bladder. Placement of the stent can provide temporary or permanent resolution of the obstruction. This procedure can be performed surgically or in a minimally invasive manner using cystoscopy with your pet under anesthesia.

Laser Ablation of Ectopic Ureters

Ectopic ureters are the leading congenital cause of urinary incontinence in dogs. This condition is caused by an anatomical abnormality in the tubes connecting the kidneys to the bladder (ureters). When dogs are born with this condition, it causes urine to empty directly into the urethra instead of the bladder, causing incontinence.

Luckily, in most cases this can be corrected without the need for surgery. Using a small camera that goes into the urethra and bladder (cystoscope), we can both diagnose this condition and correct using a small laser. Approximately half of dogs that undergo this procedure will be continent afterwards. For those that remain incontinent, slightly less than half will become continent with the addition of medications.

Laser Lithotripsy

Stones of the bladder and urethra can cause pain and discomfort to our pets, predispose them to infections and even be life-threatening. Though most bladder stones are still treated with surgical removal (when they cannot be dissolved), minimally invasive options are available. Using a small camera (cystoscope) and a laser, we can break these stones into smaller pieces that can be removed or flushed out without the need for surgery (anesthesia Is still required).

Tracheal Stenting

Tracheal collapse is a condition most commonly seen in Yorkshire Terriers and Pomeranians (though other toy breed dogs can be affected) where the windpipe (trachea) looses its rigidity, resulting in its collapse. This most commonly manifests itself in dogs as a goose honk-like cough that is triggered or worsened with excitement. Though most cases can be adequately controlled with aggressive medical management (anti-tussive and anti-inflammatory drugs), some cases do eventually require the placement of a mesh tube (stent) in order to keep the trachea open and control symptoms. Placement of the stent is not a cure for tracheal collapse and medical management is still required in these cases, but tracheal stenting can dramatically improve the quality of life dogs with severe tracheal collapse that is not controlled with medications.

Placement of the stent does not require surgery but is performed under anesthesia with the assistance of fluoroscopy.