The decision to spay or neuter your pet is a personal one. We will certainly support you if you choose not to, however as your vet, we highly recommend you choose to spay or neuter your pet. The benefit is a longer, healthier life for your pet. In fact, a study of 2.2 million dogs and 460,000 cats concluded that neutered male dogs lived 18% longer and spayed female dogs lived 23% longer. Spayed female cats in the study lived 39% longer and neutered male cats lived 62% longer.
If you are spaying/neutering, generally we recommend doing so between 5-6 months of age. For large breed male dogs, we do recommend waiting until after growth has completed, around 12-15 months. Certain behavioral factors may play a role in the exact best time to neuter and you will want to discuss what’s best for your specific pet with your doctor.
Once you’ve decided to spay or neuter, we realize that you have options for where to have this procedure completed, some of which may be cheaper than we are able to do it for. While we’d prefer you have this procedure with us, we’d rather you have it somewhere else than not at all. We’d like to explain why the difference in cost and why we feel strongly that we are still the best choice for your pet.
- A spay or neuter procedure at one facility versus another is not necessarily the same just with a higher price tag at one. Here are some questions to ask:
- Is pre-surgical blood work provided? There is a reason why baseline blood work is performed before all human elective surgeries and this step can allow us to avoid any unexpected complications during the procedure. At CHV we always recommend and build pre-surgical blood work into our pricing. In certain situations if the pet recently had blood work we can refer to or if cost implications risk the procedure from happening, we will consider removing this expense, however it is our standard of care.
- What type of maintenance anesthesia is used? Injectable drugs are cheaper but far less safe than inhalant anesthesia, which can be adjusted continuously throughout surgery. Recovery from inhalant anesthesia is also smoother and safer for the pet. Our surgical suite is equipped with inhalant anesthesia which we use in all our spays and neuters.
- Are pain medications required? If not, this is a red flag. Surgery is painful and there are no excuses for not prescribing pain meds. Pets are notorious for hiding pain, but that does not mean we should allow them to suffer.
- How is the pet’s progress monitored before, during, and after the surgery? Continuous blood pressure and pulse oximeter monitoring helps keep complication rates low. Further, if there is monitoring, how many patients does one nurse oversee at a time? At CHV, your pet has their own surgical time assigned with a dedicated surgical nurse and continuous blood pressure and pulse ox monitoring throughout their stay with us. There are no assembly lines or stressed out staff trying to do too many things at one time.
- Is an IV catheter placed before surgery, and are IV fluids provided throughout surgery? Using IV fluids is a sign of a high quality surgery. At the minimum, we strongly encourage you to use a clinic that at least places an IV catheter for all routine surgeries. This gives the veterinary team immediate access to the patient’s blood supply should an emergency arise.
- Will a sterile environment and supplies be used for each unique pet? Some low-cost surgical programs just don’t have the funds to provide their surgeons with sterile gowns and gloves for each surgery nor are they sterilizing their instruments in an autoclave between each procedure.
- Are the costs being supplemented by local donations intended for the care of lost or homeless pets or for those who truly cannot afford it? Local animal shelters and low cost facilities do an enormous service to our community and we are so grateful for their existence. That said, they often struggle with funding and the money they receive should be used for those who are truly in need. When individuals use these discounted services who could afford otherwise, they are potentially limiting the facility’s ability to serve others. Please know that at CHV, while we aim to always practice the best medicine possible, we are almost always willing to work within the constraints of your budget and will help you afford the care your pet needs. We also have a charitable fund called the Safe Harbor Fund that we are fortunate enough to have many generous donors for. We’d be happy to consider you for a grant from this fund should you and your pet be in need.
We first hope that you’ll choose to spay or neuter your pet and second hope that you’ll consider doing it with us knowing your pet is getting the best care possible. When you find a lower price spay or neuter, please be sure to understand why that’s the case. Our intention here is never to artificially inflate the price of things, but rather to place the right value on the services that we provide.
Why you should spay/neuter your pet – The Humane Society
Low Cost Spay/Neuter Clinics vs Your Local Vet – Embrace Pet Insurance
The Difference Between Low Cost Spay/Neuters and Regular Clinics May Surprise You – Dr. Randy Roark.com
Why Do Some Vets Charge more for Spays and Neuters than Others – Vet Street