Surgery & Laser

Veterinary laser surgery offers advanced technology for many surgical procedures.  Consider laser surgery for your pet if possible; pets recover more quickly and post-operative infections rarely occur.  The risk of infection is minimal.  Nerve endings seal off during the procedure, minimizing pain and swelling.  Pets return home faster and are quickly back into their routine.  In addition, faster healing will reduce the stress your pet feels while recovering from the surgery.003.JPG

Less Pain - Laser light energy seals nerve endings as it moves through tissue.  Your pet feels less pain post-operatively.

Less Bleeding - The laser seals small blood vessels during surgery which allows the doctor to perform surgeries with extraordinary precision.  This also speeds some procedures reducing the need for anesthesia.

Less Swelling - Laser energy does not crush, tear or bruise because only a beam of intense light contacts the tissue. 


Incision Care

Keep the incision clean and dry.  A small amount of redness and swelling is normal.  You must keep your pet from licking the incision.  Licking the incision after surgery is the most common reason for sutures (stitches) to break down.  The tongue is very rough.  Sutures cannot withstand the tongue and can be licked out in a matter of minutes.
If non-dissolving sutures are used, the sutures will need to be removed in 10 to 14 days.  We will contact you for a follow-up appointment to remove the sutures.  There is no charge for this service.


Animals that undergo laser surgery experience less pain, and so they try to resume normal activity sooner.  This can cause problems if the incision has not healed completely.  Please follow our instructions for restricting activity post-surgery.


Laser surgery minimizes the chance of bacterial infection, but your pet may still receive antibiotics after his or her surgery.  Give the full course of antibiotics, even if your pet seems to be fully recovered.

Problem Signs

Check the incision site regularly for extreme redness, swelling, bleeding, or oozing.  After the first day or two post-surgery, if your pet is lethargic, has vomiting or diarrhea, or doesn't want to eat, he/she should be seen by Dr. Ricci.


The Belle Plaine Animal Hospital offers the most advanced veterinary surgical techniques and technology.  We perform all soft-tissue surgeries, from routine spay and neuter procedures to more complicated surgeries, including tumor removals, cystotomies, splenectomies and more.  Dr. Kelso has been performing surgery for over 20 years and especially enjoys eye surgery, dental surgery and extracapsular repairs on ACL tears. We also perform some orthopedic procedures or have the surgeons from Twin Cities Veterinary Surgery perform more extensive surgeries. All veterinary patients are carefully screened with anesthetics and pain medications specifically tailored for your pet's needs.  Surgical services and facilities include a fully-trained veterinary and technical staff, ensuring the safest, state-of-the-art surgery for your pet.

  • Safe, gentle, and well-monitored anesthesia.
  • Heated surgical table for greater comfort.
  • ECG and oxygen saturation monitors.
  • Pain management techniques.
  • Intensive post-surgical care.

Veterinary Orthopedic Surgery

We are pleased to offer advanced veterinary surgical procedures that are often only performed at specialty referral practices.  These surgeries are performed by the veterinarians from Twin Cities Veterinary Surgery at our Belle Plaine location.  This offers you the knowledge and convenience of a referral service along with our caring and outstanding nursing staff.

Laser Surgery

We are proud to offer laser surgery at the Belle Plaine Animal Hospital.  The advanced high-frequency wave reduces surgery time by safely cutting and coagulating tissue simultaneously, thereby minimizing blood loss and post-operative discomfort.  We use the laser on many routine surgeries, finding it especially helpful for abdominal surgeries. Techniques like surgery for brachycephalic syndrome have been revolutionized with the laser. (Most people are not familiar with the term brachycephalic, but if you own a Pug, Boston Terrier, Pekingese, Boxer, Bulldog, Shih Tzu or any one of the other breeds with pushed in or short faces, you would be familiar with this word.) 
The laser makes surgery less painful, helps to reduce blood loss and manage pain for all types of surgery.

Before Your Pet's Surgery

Prior to surgery, each patient undergoes a thorough physical examination and blood tests.  Based on blood work results, age and physical condition, we then develop an anesthetic protocol specifically for your pet. Anesthesia is administered in a safe, highly-monitored environment.

During Your Pet's Surgery

surgery.jpgOur surgeries are performed in a sterile operating room used only for surgery.  During surgery, we monitor your pet's blood pressure, oxygen saturation, body temperature, heart rate and ECG. Your pet's vital signs are recorded throughout the surgery and subsequent recovery period.  Every patient is wrapped in warm blankets or put under our Bair Hugger (warm air blanket) in order to maintain body temperature.  Following surgery, pet owners are called with an update on their pet's condition.

After Your Pet's Surgery

Intensive Care

The Belle Plaine Animal Hospital features an intensive care ward where patients can be seen and monitored at all times by our caring staff.  Our nurse technicians regularly record vital signs, temperature and fluid levels for all patients post-surgical, ill or injured, in our ICU.  A Bair Hugger (warm air blanket) also is used to keep patients warm and comfortable.  We are equipped to provide oxygen therapy when needed.

Dr. Ricci also uses energy healing and healing touch techniques to help clear the anesthesia from her patients' bodies as they are beginning to wake up after surgery.

Pain Management 

Veterinary patients feel pain and discomfort under the same circumstances as people.  We know that recognizing and alleviating pain in our patients is the essence of quality care. A laser seals off nerve endings as it cuts, which minimizes pain and swelling at the incision site.  However, pain medication is still administered before, during and following all surgical procedures, often in tandem with essential oils, herbs, and energy work therapy.  Pain relief medication is sent home with your pet at the time of discharge.  Many times a combination of medication is used for optimum effect. 

Pain management, as with many things, is best approached with a multi-modal method that uses traditional medications, nutritional supplements and essential oil as well as energy therapies.  We begin pain management before surgery with pre-operative pain medications. We approach that with intra-operative (that is, during the surgery) pain relief, which includes local blocks, IV injections, and IV constant rate infusions. Post-op pain relief, which includes local blocks, IV injections and IV constant rate infusions. Post-op pain relief continues with energy work, therapeutic (cold) laser treatment, application of essential oils, and further conventional pain meds as necessary. We are happy to discuss our multi-modal approach with you.  

Pain management can also be a quality of life issue in cases of arthritis, injury or other chronic debilitating diseases. Please ask Dr. Ricci or hospital staff member at the Belle Plaine Animal Hospital how we can help.

Therapy Laser Treatment

In addition to the surgical laser, we have a therapy laser (sometimes called a cold laser) to help with pain management. The therapy laser uses laser light to reduce swelling, stimulate healing, and reduce pain. The therapy laser is used after surgery but we also use it for many other things, from sore knees to ear infections to abscessed anal glands.