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Arthroscopy, Laparoscopy & Rhinoscopy

Sky Canyon Veterinary Hospital is one of the only hospitals in the area offering minimally invasive surgery. This is the same technique and technology offered at the human hospital. It provides superior visualization inside the joint or abdomen. They use needle size instruments to look inside areas of the patient to remove a torn meniscus or cartilage. This technology reduces blood loss along with postoperative pain and potential for infection.


As part of our continuing effort at Sky Canyon Veterinary Hospital to provide the best, and least invasive medicine, we are pleased to offer arthroscopy.

Arthroscopy is a surgical technique used to visualize, diagnose, and treat intra-articular (in the joint) problems.  It is a minimally invasive method to perform joint surgery using a very small high definition camera and small instruments.  Working at a magnification of 25 times, it allows us to conduct a more thorough examination of the joint cartilage and important structures than a conventional open surgical approach.  Since there are only two small (3-5mm) incisions made into the joint, there is significantly less intra-operative tissue trauma and post-operative pain for the patient.

Most joints in our patients can be examined arthroscopically for various diseases and treatments that are specific to that joint.  The most common joints that we use arthroscopy for in our canine patients are the shoulder, elbow, and stifle.

Shoulder Lameness – Many shoulder problems can be diagnosed and treated arthroscopically, including osteochondrosis (OCD), biceps tendon disease and shoulder instability.

Elbow Lameness

Most of the time, lameness is the canine elbow is due to one or several components of Elbow Dysplasia.  Elbow Dysplasia has 3 main components: osteochondrosis dissecans (OCD), fragmentation of the medial aspect of the coronoid process (FMCP), and ununited anconeal process (UAP). All 3 of these can be treated arthroscopically.

Stifle Lameness 

Cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) tears are the most common cause of discomfort in the canine stifle (knee).  While these tears are generally easy to visualize with a conventional open arthrotomy, other damage may be missed. Arthroscopy gives us the opportunity to see related structures and ensure the whole joint is treated as necessary.  It is critical to examine for a damaged meniscus in a patient with a cranial cruciate ligament rupture, as these lesions often occur together.


As part of our continuing effort at Sky Canyon Veterinary Hospital to provide the best, and least invasive medicine, we are pleased to offer laparoscopy.

Laparoscopy  is a minimally invasive surgical technique that is used in diagnosing certain diseases, for biopsy of tissues, and for many surgical procedures.  The visualization and magnification of laparoscopic equipment allows a more precise surgery with ultimately less trauma and pain. Reduced pain typically requires less anesthesia during the operation.  In addition, the multiple smaller incisions have less risk of infection and heal more quickly.

The technique uses a small high definition camera and small instruments that are inserted through 3 incisions that are 8mm each in length.

While the list of surgeries that can be performed with this minimally invasive technique is constantly growing, the ones most commonly performed at our hospital are listed below.

Laparoscopic spay (LOVE spay)

LOVE spay is short for a Laparoscopic OVE (ovariectomy). This is a minimally invasive spay that removes the ovaries from healthy animals and has been shown to be a less painful alternative to traditional spays.

Prophylactic gastropexy

Prophylactic gastropexy is recommended for all canine breeds that are at-risk for gastric dilation and volvulus (GDV).  A gastric dilation and volvulus typically occurs when the stomach fills with air and then rotates.  This constitutes a surgical emergency, and is typically fatal If not treated immediately.  When a prophylactic gastropexy is done, the stomach is sutured to the abdominal wall, preventing the stomach from inadvertently rotating.  Laparoscopy allows excellent visualization, ease of the procedure, and very quick recovery times.

Cryptorchid Neuter

When one or both testicles of a male dog fail to descend into the scrotum, the retained gonad is referred to as a cryptorchid testicle.  Sometimes the testicle can be palpated in the inguinal canal.  When it is located deeper in the abdomen, locating it can be a “needle in the haystack” surgery.  When laparoscopy is used, this procedure becomes quick and requires no additional incisions to remove the retained testicle.

Laparoscopic biopsy and exploration

With the visualization and magnification of laparoscopic equipment, abnormal abdominal tissues can not only be located, but their color and texture can also be appreciated.  Tissues that warrant further testing can be biopsied laparoscopically, often providing superior samples than those provided by ultrasound guided needle biopsy.


As part of our continuing effort at Sky Canyon Veterinary Hospital to provide the best, and least invasive medicine, we are pleased to offer rhinoscopy.

Rhinoscopy is a surgical technique used to visualize, diagnose, biopsy, and treat problems within the nasal passage.  It is a minimally invasive and uses a very small high definition camera and small instruments.  This modality allows us to visualize and access the expansive folded tissue that is found in the nasal cavity.

The most common indications for rhinoscopy in our patients are acute irritation caused by a foreign body (like grass awns) or chronic nasal discharge suggestive of a tumor or chronic infection.

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