Laser lithotripsy is a minimally invasive procedure to remove your pet’s bladder, urethra, and ureteral stones. As opposed to traditional surgical approaches, laser lithotripsy allows for stone removal through the use of cameras without surgical incisions. Not every patient with bladder stones is an appropriate candidate for this procedure and careful selection is required.
Why it’s done
Your veterinarian may recommend a laser lithotripsy if your pet has:
- Radiographic or ultrasound evidence of stones in your pets urinary system
How to prepare for your pet’s procedure
Before your pet’s laser lithotripsy, you will meet with one of our specialists to talk about the procedure and what to expect.
When you meet with our team, please bring a list of all medications that your pet is currently taking, including over the counter medications, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Before your pet’s procedure, you may be asked to discontinue giving certain medications that can increase the risk of bleeding.
This is a good time to ask questions about the procedure and make sure you understand the risks and benefits.
Preoperative diagnostics and tests
Before your pet’s lithotripsy procedure the following may be indicated:
- Abdominal ultrasound
- Comprehensive blood tests
- Urinalysis and urine culture
General Instructions for the Day of Surgery
- Give your pet nothing by mouth after midnight the night before. This means that all food and water should be withheld.
- Please arrive for pet’s admission promptly at your scheduled arrival time.
- You will be asked to sign both a Surgical Consent Form as well as an Estimate, indicating your understanding of the procedure, risks, and associated costs.
What happens during a laser lithotripsy procedure
Your pet will be given a general anesthetic. A lighted instrument with a camera on the end, called a cystoscope, is used to help locate the stones. The laser fiber is advanced within the scope and breaks the stones only with direct contact. Once small enough, the fragments are removed with a small basket or flushed out through the urethra using saline.
Complications associated with a laser lithotripsy can include the following:
- Discomfort while urinating
- Bladder rupture (exceedingly rare complication)
After the procedure
- Following the procedure, you will be given a phone call with an update on your pet’s recovery. A scheduled discharge will be coordinated at that time.
- Please remove the bandage from your pet’s intravenous catheter site 10 to 15 minutes after arriving home.
- Some abdominal tenderness is common for 3-5 days following laser surgery.
- It is important to restrict your pet’s activity for the next 1-2 days while your pet is healing. Walks should be short and your pet should always be on a leash. Please do not let your pet rough house with other animals during this time.
- Many patients will not eat the night following anesthesia. If your pet has not eaten after 24 hours of returning home, please call Salt River.
- Some patients will vomit or have diarrhea following anesthesia. If the vomiting or diarrhea persists more than 24 hours, please call Salt River. In contrast, some patients may be constipated or may not have a bowel movement for up to 72 hours following anesthesia. If your pet is straining to defecate after 72 hours, please call Salt River.
- Suture removal is not necessary since no incisions are made.
- Scooting and more frequent urinations are common for 1-3 days following the procedure, but generally improve with each passing day. If the issues continue beyond 3 days, please call Salt River.
- An e-collar may be necessary if your pet is licking at their penis or vulva excessively.
The samples are submitted to a number of specialized laboratories for evaluation including the following tests:
- Stone analysis
- Bacterial cultures
The final stone results can take up to 3-4 weeks. Once the final results have returned and a treatment plan has been devised, our specialists will call you to discuss the findings and recommendations.
A recheck appointment is required 1 month following the procedure.