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Surgery

Performing over 2500 surgeries per year, your beloved pet is in safe hands with the world class surgery specialists at SASH.

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Help your pet with specialist surgery at SASH

SASH Surgery highlights:

  • Some of Australia’s leading Specialist Surgeons overseeing the surgery, using latest techniques for best possible outcomes
  • Specialist Anaesthetists to ensure the safest possible anaesthesia and best possible welfare
  • Diagnostic Imaging Specialists for clearer diagnostics
  • 24/7 vet care for recovery and Critical Care Specialists for complex cases
  • On-site physio & rehab for orthopaedic & neurological surgeries

Sometimes pets need surgery that is particularly complex or requires advanced knowledge and specialised equipment. The Surgery team at SASH is highly skilled and experienced in performing these types of operations. With the benefit of in-house facilities (many of which are the same as you would find in a human hospital) we use our expertise to achieve the best possible outcomes for pets and their families.

It is very important to us that our patients always receive the highest possible standards of care. We constantly review the latest surgical advances, often sharing information with our global network of specialist colleagues, so that our patients and their families can access the options best suited to their needs

SASH key hole surgery dog

About the SASH specialist Surgery team

In the Surgery team at SASH, we are fortunate to have specialist surgeons trained in Australia and around the world, with many decades of combined experience in various types of surgery, both soft tissue and orthopaedic. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Cruciate repair (e.g. TPLO)
  • Surgical biopsies
  • Tumor removal (more on our Surgical Oncology page)
  • Foreign body removal
  • Airway (e.g. BOAS)
  • Organ removal (e.g gall bladder, spleen)
  • Fracture repair

For all surgeries, the most up to date techniques are used (including laparoscopic or “key hole” surgery where possible) to ensure the best possible outcome for the patient.

The right specialist for the right surgery

At SASH, we understand not all surgeries are the same. That’s why we are fortunate to have one of the country’s largest team of Specialist Surgeons, trained by leading Australian and international institutions. The broad and diverse range of skills available means that you will be more likely to find the right Surgeon for a particular surgery, regardless of its complexity.

Other specialised surgeries are also performed on-site at SASH, albeit by a team of other specialists including Ophthalmologists (eye specialists) and Neurosurgeons (brain & spine surgeons), which are found in few other places in Australia. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Eye surgery (eg. removal of cataracts or the entire eye)
  • Spinal surgery
  • Brain surgery (eg. removal of the pituitary gland)


Our team is highly collaborative, with several surgical specialists often conferring on the best approach for an individual pet. Depending on the needs of the patient, we also work closely with specialists in other departments at SASH, such as 
Diagnostic ImagingNeurology and Internal Medicine, to develop the most appropriate management plan. If a pet is diagnosed with cancer, the SASH Cancer Centre work together to make sure families have the information they need to decide on the best treatment option for their pet.

Cutting edge facilities & technology​

SASH is committed to investing in innovation and technology that improves clinical outcomes. For this reason, in addition to industry leading veterinarians and nurses, SASH also has facilities and equipment found in few other veterinary hospitals in Australia. From state-of-the-art, purpose built surgical theatres to specialised equipment:

  • Near-infrared fluorescence (NIRF) imaging for biliary, vascular, urinary, and lymphatic structures
  • Electrosurgery (e.g. Caiman & Ligasure)
  • Urethral & ureteral stenting
 
“Keyhole” surgery is important for the diagnosis and treatment of many conditions. Our comprehensive suite of minimally invasive equipment includes:
  • Arthroscopy (joint surgery) e.g diagnosis meniscal injuries, elbow dysplasia and various shoulder and knee diseases
  • Fluoroscopy (video x-ray) e.g for fracture repair and urinary system stenting and diversion
  • Laparoscopy (abdominal surgery) e.g. gall-bladder removal, liver biopsies, gastropexy and keyhole desexing
  • Thoracoscopy (chest surgery) e.g. pericardectomy (removal of the sac around the heart), tissue biopsy
surgery at SASH using NIRF
Near infrared flurescence imaging used for surgery at SASH

During surgery

SASH is one of the few veterinary hospitals in Australia to have its own in-house team of specialist anaesthetists. At the time of surgery, our patients are overseen by specialist anaesthetists to ensure that the anaesthetic for each surgical procedure is as safe as possible and is optimised for the needs of each patient. The specialist anesthetists at SASH are also experts in managing pain, employing the full suite of pain control options that we would expect for ourselves or our loved ones in hospital.

After surgery

Post-operative care is crucial for a speedy and comfortable recovery. At SASH, surgical patients receive 24 hour a day care from expert nurses and vets, with specialist vets in Critical Care and Internal Medicine on hand for patients with complex needs.

Particularly for our orthopaedic and spinal surgery patients, our in-house Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation veterinarians and therapists are available to assist with a faster recovery and help pets return to a high quality of life.

This team-based, integrated approach means that often, up to five different specialists can be overseeing a single surgical patient, to ensure that pets undergoing surgery receive the best possible care to help them go on to lead happy and healthy lives.

While specialist surgery is what we do every day, we understand that it is new for many families and can be a daunting prospect. From the time that a pet is first referred to us at SASH, we do our best to make the families feel as welcome and supported as possible.

At the initial consultation, we assess the patient, taking into account information provided by the referring veterinarian, and talk to families about their concerns and goals for their pet.

Drawing on our extensive experience, we do everything we can to determine the most appropriate surgical plan for each patient, to clarify the risks and benefits of surgery and to explain what surgery and rehabilitation will involve. Our priority is to empower families to make informed decisions on behalf of their treasured companion.

Some patients presented to the SASH Emergency Department require surgery as part of their treatment. We understand that this can be a stressful situation and communicate clearly with families to support them in deciding how best to proceed.

Many patients referred to the Surgery team at SASH will have had some form of diagnostic testing, such as blood tests, X-rays and ultrasound. Depending on the nature of surgery required, it may be necessary to repeat some of these tests (e.g., taking X-rays from additional angles) and/or to conduct more advanced diagnostic imaging such as CT or MRI. For pets diagnosed with cancer, further tests may be required to determine the type and stage of disease, as this is very important for determining the best form of treatment.

Good communication is paramount for the Surgery team at SASH. We understand that families wish to be kept informed and follow their pet’s journey with us. When a pet is admitted for surgery, we provide families with timely updates on their progress, both on the day of surgery and throughout the recovery period.

Referring veterinarians receive an assessment from us after a pet’s initial consultation at SASH. When pets proceed to surgery, we provide their local veterinarian with updates on their progress and a report at the time of discharge. 

No pet or disease condition is identical to another, which means pricing and estimates can vary significantly. If you would like to obtain a rough guide, call us on 02 8874 9994 or email clinicalservices@sashvets.com to speak to a Clinical Services Consultant, who will do their best to provide you with as much information as possible. Please note these contacts are only monitored between 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday to Friday.

Our Surgery Team

Specialist in Surgery & Fellow in Surgical Oncology
Resident in Small Animal Surgery
Registrar in Surgery
Specialist in Surgery and Sports Medicine & Rehabilitation
Specialist in Surgery

Dr Alex Lai

Registrar in Surgery
Resident in Surgery
Registrar in Surgery
Specialist in Surgery
Specialist in Surgery
Specialist in Surgery
Specialist in Surgery
Specialist in Surgery