A recommendation of surgery for your dog or cat can be frightening, but sometimes surgery is simply the best diagnostic or treatment option for your furry family member. Fortunately, there are several minimally invasive surgical techniques available that are less painful and offer a faster healing time than traditional surgery. These minimally invasive procedures can also decrease the risk of infection, offer far less blood loss, and result in less scarring.

Pet owners who are referred to The COVE for their pet’s surgery can breathe a sigh of relief, because we have one of the region’s top board-certified veterinary surgeons, Jeff T. Stallings, DVM, DACVS, who is proficient in providing minimally invasive options. 

What is Minimally Invasive Surgery?

In minimally invasive surgery, an endoscope – a thin, flexible tube with a light and tiny camera at the end – is inserted through the mouth, nose, or a very small incision, often along with surgical instruments that can help with diagnosis or provide treatment.

Our surgery department offers several types of minimally invasive surgeries, including:


Laparoscopy is used to visualize the organs inside the abdominal cavity and guide surgical instruments. It is used in cases ranging from tumor evaluation and biopsy to exploratory surgery and spays.


Thoracoscopy performs the same function as laparoscopy, but inside the chest, allowing for a visual assessment of the lungs, heart, lymph nodes, and chest wall. It is used for removing tumors, harvesting tissue samples, treating infection, and other interventions.


Cystoscopy is a very effective diagnostic tool for the lower urinary and genital tracts. It is frequently used when a pet has recurring urinary tract infections, for visualizing and removing bladder stones, and for other diagnostic purposes, (as this area can be difficult to image with radiographs or ultrasound).

The COVE offers additional minimally invasive procedures by our other departments, please see our specialty services page for more information.

Importantly, as with any surgery, make sure you follow post-op instructions and give your pet plenty of rest.

Pet patient Frankenstein all smiles after his laparoscopic gastropexy and neuter.

When Your Pet Needs Surgery – Trust in the Expertise at The COVE

While all veterinarians are trained to perform surgery, only a fraction of them go on to pursue advanced specialty training. If your pet requires surgery – especially if it’s a complex procedure – there’s a tremendous advantage in having it performed by someone with the depth of experience of a board-certified specialist, such as Dr. Stallings.

If you have any questions about our surgery department or would like to schedule a consultation, please call 757-935-9111.

And remember, The COVE is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We are located at 6550 Hampton Roads Pkwy, #113, Suffolk, VA, and welcome your call anytime, day or night.

About Us

The COVE’s veterinarians and staff wholeheartedly embrace the core values of community, collaboration, commitment, compassion, and integrity. This focus ensures that pets, the people who love them, and their primary care veterinarians have as positive and affirming a healthcare experience as possible, regardless of the circumstances that bring us all together.