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Maplewood Animal Hospital


A laparotomy is a type of surgery that is performed on the abdominal region for exploratory reasons.


An exploratory laparotomy is a surgical procedure that involves opening the abdomen to examine the abdominal organs. It is usually used a last resort procedure when other methods of finding the root of the problem are inconclusive.

When should I consider a laparotomy?

When other diagnostic tests fail to indicate the underlying issue for abdominal disease, a laparotomy may be considered. Some of the most common indicators for an abdominal exploratory include, chronic vomiting, penetrating abdominal wounds, abdominal pain, abdominal fluid accumulation, urinary bladder disease, abdominal masses, and intestinal diseases.

Surgery & Recovery

General anesthesia is required for your pet before a laparotomy to ensure complete unconsciousness and relaxation. The surgery begins with the dog or cat laying on their back and having the abdomen area shaved or trimmed. An incision is made to open the abdominal cavity, and the organs are examined and evaluated. In some instances, other procedures such as a biopsy, cystotomy, gastrotomy, or a spleenectomy may be conducted as well. Stitches will usually be removed within 10-14 days, and your pet may need to remain hospitalized for a few days depending on their overall health.

As always, refer to your veterinarian for any other questions or concerns regarding a laparotomy.