Minimally invasive sugical techniques, and so-called "keyhole surgery" procedure hold numerous clear benifits for both free raning and captive wildlife surgical patients...

Here is a video of keyhole surgical removal of diseased gallbladders in Asiatic black bears (also called "Moonbears") rescued from illegal bile farms in Vietnam. This recently pioneered operation (laparoscopic cholecystectomy) in bears is so much less painful for the bears than old fashioned open abdominal surgery, and bears take a couple of days to recover, instead of taking 4-6 weeks to recover with the old type of surgery. The initial results were published in the journal "Veterinary Record" in 2011 (see abstracts and references).
If interested in learning more about keyhole surgery in all animal species, and the benifits for animals, visit the internet portal for all aspects of minimally invasive surgery:
These videos demonstrate different minimally invasive "keyhole" surgery procedures performed in a variety of wildlife species
  Keyhole surgery (Laparoscopic ovariectomy) in an obese captive sloth bear (Melursus ursinus) using 3 ports [view video]
   Diagnostic keyhole surgery and multiple organ biopsies,  in a bush dog (Speothus venaticus) with chronic diarrhoea and abdominal pain [view video]
   Keyhole surgical emoval of an ovarian remnant in a pet ferret [view video]
   Endoscopic (Keyhole surgery) ovariectomy (neuter) of an adult green iguana (Iguana iguana) with 3mm instruments [view video]
   Laparoscopic artificial insemination in a Jaguar (Panthera onca) (RZSS) [view video]
  Laparoscopic cryptorchidectomy in a Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) in a zoological collection (RZSS) [view video]
  Surgical endoscopic examination of the lung in a carpet python (Morelia spilota) snake with chronic respiratory disease  [view video]
   Laparoscopic vasectomy in a yellow-breasted capuchin (Cebus xanthosternos) (RZSS) [view video]
   Exploratory laparoscopy in a wild grey seal pup (Halichoerus grypus) in a wildlife rehabilitation centre (SSPCA) [view video]

Laparoscopic ovariectomy in an obese captive sloth bear (Melursus ursinus) (Zoological Society of London) [Return to top of page]

Diagnostic laparoscopic surgery in a bush dog (Speothos venaticus) at Edinburgh Zoo (Royal Zoological Society of Scotland). [Return to top of page] 

Laparoscopic removal of an ovarian remnant in a Ferret. A neutered female 3 year old ferret presented with severe bilateral alopecia and weight loss. Ultrasonography demonstrated a cystic mass caudal to the left kidney. This ovarian remnant (confirmed via histology) was removed via laparoscopy with a 3mm 30degree laparoscope and 3mm instruments. [Return to top of page] 
Iguana endoscopic ovariectomy. An endoscopic surgery neutering of a female iguana. Also referred to as minimally invasive or keyhole surgery, endosurgery results in small wounds, a faster recovery, and less post-operative pain in veterinary patients, just as in humans. [Return to top of page]
Jaguar laparoscopic artificial insemination. This video demonstrates the technique of laparoscopic artificial insemination in a Jaguar. This female was a confiscated circus animal, that had had her canines and front claws removed, and was inprinted on humans. Attempts to get her to breed naturally with male jaguars had been unsuccesful, and she had to be separated to prevent her being seriously injured or killed. While artificial insemination is not the ideal for breeding of endangered species, in select cases such as this, it has the potential to allow a genetically valuable individual to reproduce. (The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland). [Return to top of page] 

Laparoscopic cryptorchidectomy in a Reindeer at Edinburgh Zoo, (Royal Zoological Society of Scotland. [Return to top of page] 

Carpet Python surgical lung endoscopy. This video shows a surgical lung endoscopic examination in a 2kg Carpet Python (Morelia spilota) that was suffering from chronic lower respiratory tract disease. The long narrow trachea makes the use of a standard flexible bronchoscope difficult in snakes. In this technique a long rigid endoscope is surgically inserted in the air sac region of the caudal lung. Snakes have a faveolar lung structure, unlike the mammalian alveolar lung, with most of the spongy faveolar structure surrounding the lumen of the cranial lung, gradual reducing caudally to a thin membranous air sac. Some organs can be seen through the thin air sac walls. In this examination no fungal plaques, parasites, or granulomas were evident, just small beads of mucopurulent material that were samples for bacterial culture and sensitivity (Zoological Medicine Ltd). [Return to top of page] 

Capuchin Laparoscopic Vasectomy. This video demonstrates a laparoscopic vasectomy in a juvenile Yellow-breasted Capuchin (Cebus xanthosternos) weighing 1.1kg, using a 3mm paediatric instruments. This animal was a brother-sister progeny, but was need as a companion for another individual. Traditional vasectomies in primates are prone to wound interference, dehiscence and delayed healing, and may need individuals to be seperated from the group, interupting the normal social structure. This minimally invasive abdominal technique (in this case despite the very small size of the individual, only taking less than 12 minutes operating time), has the benifit of allowing reintroduction to the group only a couple of hours after surgery, no need for excercise restriction or separation from the group, smaller wounds (3mm) and no wound interference. This individual was back in the social group and interacting normally within 2 hours (Royal Zoological Society of Scotland). [Return to top of page]


An exploratory laparoscopy in a grey seal pup was performed and liver and mesenteric lymphnode biopsies taken (R Pizzi, SSPCA), as part of investigations during an outbreak of disease in a group of seals in a well maintained rehabilitation centre in Scotland. Due to the thick blubber layer, even in this young seal, access was with a verres needle used for insufflation, and blind placement of a primary 5mm cannula with a guarded cutting trocar. An open approach would have been difficult. This approach had previously been validated in more than 10 seals at post-mortem, which were also used for familiarisation with normal abdominal anatomy before this laparoscopy (SSPCA). [Return to top of page]