The surgery service at North Coast Veterinary Specialist and Referral Centre (NCVS) is run by Dr Richard Mitchell, the practice director and a European and Australasian registered Specialist in Small Animal Surgery. Dr Mitchell is the only registered specialist in small animal surgery working and operating on the Sunshine Coast.
Dr Richard Mitchell leads a highly-trained team of surgeons who offer an extensive service in cutting edge surgery including orthopaedic, soft tissue, neurosurgery and oncology here at NCVS.
Dr Mitchell has also undergone additional training and is highly skilled in non-invasive surgery (key-hole surgery) and hip replacements.
The initial visit to the surgical service involves a comprehensive consultation to help us determine your pet’s problems, outline further diagnostic testing and provide recommendations for definitive treatment and expected outcomes.
There is plenty of time during the consultation to answer all your questions and be sure you are fully educated as to the nature of your pet’s problem and the rationale for recommended treatments.
All recommendations for treatment involve a combination of many years of experience and current knowledge of changes and developments in treatment methods.
We aim to provide a team approach to our patients and as such have access to other disciplines within NCVS, such as medicine, ophthalmology, and dentistry. Should we feel at the initial consultation or during treatment that your pet’s needs are better addressed by one of the other disciplines, then we will discuss these needs and if necessary transfer you to a better qualified clinician.
WHAT IS ORTHOPAEDIC SURGERY?
Orthopaedics is the field of medicine and surgery that treats injury and disease of the musculoskeletal system; that is the bones, joints, ligaments, muscles and tendons of the body. Our Small Animal Orthopaedics service primarily treats dogs and cats.
Our team’s mission is to enhance the quality of life of pets and their owners through effective treatment of musculoskeletal injury and disease. We combine our advanced and cutting technology with excellence in patient care to ensure you and your pet receive the superior treatment and service you deserve.
WHAT ORTHOPAEDIC SURGERIES DO YOU OFFER?
We can treat many orthopaedic conditions, but some of our most common procedures include treatment of:
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?Every patient is unique and the cost of your pet’s care will vary depending on the diagnostic testing required, the type of treatment provided and the severity of their condition. Our surgery team will discuss the cost and medical care options with you, and provide you a cost estimate at your appointment. Visit the hospital’s Financial Information page for general payment information.
WHAT IS MINIMALLY INVASIVE SURGERY?
Minimally invasive surgery is a method of performing surgery by inserting a surgical cameras (telescopic or endoscopic) inside a joint or body cavity, and using thin specially designed instruments to complete the procedure. These instruments and cameras are inserted in through tiny incisions, and in many cases are only 5mm long.
Minimally invasive surgery has become the gold standard for a wide range of operations in humans, but sadly it is not performed nearly enough in animals. Just as in humans, the very small incisions mean a much faster recovery, less risk of post-operative infections, less risks of post-operative wound complications, and most importantly, significantly less pain than with old-fashioned open joint or open body cavity surgery.
Dr Richard Mitchell, our Director Specialist in Small Animal Surgery, is the leading authority in arthroscopic and minimally invasive procedures in Queensland. He has been performing arthroscopic and other minimally invasive procedures for well over 15 years and has made minimally invasive surgery the preferred approach for many procedures that your pet may require.
There are a number of benefits of minimally invasive surgery for your pet, including:
The following is a list of procedures that we can perform using minimally invasive surgery:
WHAT IS PROPHYLACTIC GASTROPEXY?
Large and giant breed dogs with deep chests, such as Great Danes, Weimeraners, and Irish Wolfhounds are predisposed to developing gastric dilation and torsion (GDV) or “bloat”. GDV is a life threatening condition that requires emergency surgery, and even with surgery, can result in death. Prophylactic gastropexy is a surgery aimed at preventing GDV from occurring by tacking the stomach to the body wall. This is accomplished using minimally invasive techniques (one or two small incisions and the assistance of cameras that look inside the abdominal cavity) and can be performed at the time of spay or neuter. We recommend this procedure for any large or giant breed dog that may be at risk, particularly those dogs that have a history of “food bloating” and/ or have a relative that has had GDV.
WHAT IS LAPROSCOPIC-ASSISTED CYSTOTOMY?
Laparoscopic-assisted cystotomy is a procedure for removing bladder stones that allows access to and viewing of the inside of the bladder through a single 20 mm incision. This procedure allows for flushing of the bladder and improves our ability to completely remove all bladder stones present in the bladder and urethra.
WHAT IS PERICARDECTOMY?
Dogs that develop pericardial effusion (fluid around the heart) are at risk for sudden death and emergency treatment is vital to their survival. Following emergency treatment and diagnostic evaluation, a pericardectomy is recommended in many cases to prevent the possibility of fluid building back up. A pericardectomy is a procedure that involves excision of a section of the pericardium (sac around the heart). Traditionally, a thoracotomy (large incision between the ribs) is required to gain access to the pericardial sac. This results in significant pain following the surgery. A thoracoscopic pericardectomy is a minimally invasive method using 2-3 small (5 mm) portals that has been shown to be less painful compared to a thoracotomy.
WHAT IS ARTHROSCOPY
Arthroscopy is the standard method of performing most joint surgeries in humans, and is becoming the preferred method of canine joint surgery as well. The advantages over traditional arthrotomy (open joint) includes improved access to joint structures, magnification of lesions, therapeutic flushing and faster patient recovery. Here at North Coast Veterinary Specialist and Referral Centre Dr Richard Mitchell is considered the expert in this field and offers multiple arthroscopic procedures. Click here for more information on arthroscopic procedures.
If your pet has been diagnosed with one of these conditions or if any of these procedures has been recommended, please contact us for further information.
Soft Tissue and Oncologic Surgery care for small animal patients with a variety of ‘soft-tissue’ disease and conditions. The surgery team at North Coast Veterinary Specialist and Referral Centre (NCVS) works hand-in-hand with the medical team. This integrated approach to treating complex surgical problems is the key to our success and enables us to provide a comprehensive and compassionate service. Because of this, we are able to offer state of the art pre- and post operative diagnostic imaging including CT Scans, MRI Scans, fluoroscopy and ultrasound.
Similarly, the surgical management of cancer rarely stands alone, but instead requires a close working relationship between the surgery and medical team. Therefore, individualised treatment plans for our cancer patients include pre- or postoperative chemotherapy when appropriate.
Soft tissue surgery is not all about cancer, and does cover a broad range of procedures. Some of these surgical procedures are listed below.
Additionally, since many of our patients require 24 hour postoperative monitoring due to the seriousness of their condition, we work closely with the fully staff Sunshine Coast Animal Emergency service to ensure the best possible care for our patients. Our team is committed to helping owners make informed decisions regarding the care of their pet.
Joint replacement is a surgical procedure in which the joint surfaces are replaced with a new surfaces which mimics the anatomy of the original joint.
Canine Hip replacement is usually recommended to alleviate pain and/or disability associated with arthritis, or other joint issues such as hip luxation.
WHAT IS NEUROSURGERY?
Neurological conditions are ones that affect the brain, spinal cord and nerves. The team at NCVS sees a large range of neurological dogs and cats and many require surgical intervention for many reasons. Our multimodal approach utilises both medical therapies and performs surgical procedures where indicated for the treatment of patients with neurological disorders. We commonly work with advanced technology such as MRI and CT imaging and fluoroscopic/arthroscopic guided surgery to provide comprehensive care for your pet.
Surgical procedures of a neurological nature are best performed where specialised aftercare, rehabilitation and 24 hour care is provided. Our dedicated team at North Coast Veterinary Specialist and Referral Centre provide 24 hour care 365 days a year to ensure your pet is given the best care they deserve.
WHAT IS ARTHROSCOPY?
Arthroscopy is the standard method of performing most joint surgeries in humans, and is the preferred method of many canine joint surgeries. The advantages over traditional arthrotomy (open joint) includes minimal invasiveness, improved access to joint structures, magnification of lesions, more precise treatment and faster patient recovery. Here at North Coast Veterinary Specialist and Referral Centre Dr Richard Mitchell is considered a leading expert in this field and offers multiple arthroscopic procedures as listed below but not exhaustive.
ARTHROSCOPY OF THE FORELIMB
ARTHROSCOPY OF THE HIND LIMB
Arthroscopy surgery is minimally invasive, and the recovery is routinely quicker then open joint surgeries. Some of these procedures can be performed as day surgery, whilst other procedures we recommend that your pet is hospitalised overnight to receive ongoing monitoring and management.
If your pet has been diagnosed with a joint condition that requires further investigation please contact our reception team to make an appointment with our surgery team. Please note, we will require a referral from your regular veterinarian.