We have been trialling recently a different way of applying ligatures in our surgical patients. Ligatures are knots of thread that are tied around blood vessels to stop them bleeding. Different thread materials have different characteristics, and there is no ideal material.
Knot security is obviously extremely important, as without it the ligature will come off and the blood vessel start bleeding again. There are some procedures in which this is not only a significant risk, but a very serious one as well. The main one vets worry about with knot security is speying, especially of dogs.
The ovarian arteries in the dog can be very difficult to get at, particularly in large breeds of dog. Learning the trick of getting to the artery and securely ligating it is a skill that takes years to perfect. Even for us older vets with many years of experience and hundreds or thousands of procedures behind us, facing an overweight Labrador spey can be a daunting prospect.
Vesocclude® clips are small lengths of titanium, which can be bent over a blood vessel to clamp it permanently closed with a very simple applicator. The titanium is non-reactive, and sits comfortably in the abdomen for the rest of the patient’s life without them feeling it. These clips have been used in vascular surgery in humans for decades, but are now coming into the veterinary world for more routine surgery.
Vesocclude® clips offer us superior security on the blood vessel, and far greater ease of application than thread in most cases. They are also normally quicker to apply.
At Pukekohe, we have used these clips now on cat speys, dog castrates and speys, and a nephrectomy (kidney removal). For the last patient it made this very difficult procedure very much simpler. We have been very impressed with these clips and have ordered a large stock for routine use.
The clips are not free of course, but we will not be increasing the price of our routine surgeries. We feel using these clips is a quality decision that fits within the standards of care of Franklin Vets and are happy to shoulder the cost of these ourselves.
The titanium is not a risk should your pet later in life require an MRI procedure.
If you have any questions about this new piece of equipment, please contact me at the clinic in Pukekohe.
Paul Eason BVM&S MANZCVS (Surgery; Emergency and Critical Care Medicine)