OBJECTIVE To evaluate the economic and clinical feasibility of introducing rigid endoscopy and laparoscopy to a small animal general practice.
DESIGN Prospective study.
SAMPLE A single 2-veterinarian small animal practice in southern California.
PROCEDURES In early 2012, endoscopic equipment was purchased, and both veterinarians in the practice undertook training in rigid endoscopic and laparoscopic procedures. Subsequently, information for client-owned animals that underwent endoscopic and laparoscopic procedures during a 12-month period (2012 to 2013) was collected. Cost of equipment and training, revenue generated, specific procedures performed, surgery time, complications, and client satisfaction were evaluated.
RESULTS 78 endoscopic procedures were performed in 73 patients, including 71 dogs, 1 cat, and 1 rabbit. Cost of endoscopic and laparoscopic equipment and training in the first year was $14,809.71; most equipment was financed through a 5-year lease at a total cost of $57,507.70 ($ 10,675.20/y). Total revenue generated in the first year was $50,423.63. The most common procedures performed were ovariectomy (OVE; n = 49), prophylactic gastropexy (6), and video otoscopy (12). Mean ± SD surgery times for OVE (n = 44) and for OVE with gastropexy (5) were 63.7 ± 19.7 minutes and 73.0 ± 33.5 minutes; respectively. Twelve of 54 patients undergoing laparoscopic procedures experienced minor intraoperative complications. Conversion to laparotomy was not required in any patient. There were no major complications. All 49 clients available for follow-up were satisfied.
CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE With appropriate training and equipment, incorporation of basic rigid endoscopy and laparoscopy may be feasible in small animal general practice. However, results of the present study are not applicable to all veterinarians and practice settings, and patient safety considerations should always be paramount.