Caption: Veterinarians and veterinarian nurses (L-R) Dr Caitlin Mack, Dr Louise Bird, Melissa Lindert, Dr Erika Meler and Katrina Honeyman with their new laser lithotripsy technology.
Caption: Veterinarians and veterinarian nurses (L-R) Dr Caitlin Mack, Dr Louise Bird, Melissa Lindert, Dr Erika Meler and Katrina Honeyman with their new laser lithotripsy technology.

New technology to save animals’ lives at UQ vet clinic

NEW laser technology at UQ Gatton will be able to treat dogs in a less invasive way, speeding up recovery time at the animal hospital.

Versions of the technology have been used on humans since the 1980s, but this will be a first for Australian animal patients.

The technology will predominantly be used to treat medium to large dogs with urinary tract stones.

The laser will “pulverise” the stones, using the animals’ “natural passages”.

UQ veterinary specialist and lecturer Erika Meler said the technology lowered the pain scores for the pet, as well as allowing for a quicker recovery.

“Pulsed laser energy destroys the stones under the guidance of endoscopy, removing the need for a scalpel blade or surgery,” she said.

The Laser lithotripsy is now being used at the Gatton-based veterinary hospital.

Surgery for urinary blockages will continue to be the standard treatment, but for dogs that fit the criteria, laser options will be discussed with owners.

Dr Meler said cats unfortunately would not meet the criteria as their passages were too small.

“Ideally you need medium to large sized dogs where the passages are wider and open,” she said.

Its unknown what the cost of treatment will be, but Dr Meler said the faster recovery would cut back hospital administration fees for owners.

She said the technology could also be used for removing abnormal tissues associated with urinary issues in dogs – similar to cancer treatments in people.

“Its technology that’s been used on humans in the US and Canada, and they’ve been using it for a good 10 to 15 years,” Dr Meler said.

“We’re just trying to introduce it into Australia to make it another option.”


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