A dog looking up over the edge of a tableOver the past decade, the number of low-cost spay and neuter clinics has dramatically grown. There are low-cost spay and neuter clinics in most cities across the nation. Although some of these facilities are good ones, and appeal to those who need to spay or neuter at a low cost, they oftentimes lack the necessary skills and equipment to provide the best surgical options and care.

At Harris Parkway Animal Hospital, we still believe that spaying and neutering your pet with a full service, private practice veterinarian is the best option for the safety and comfort of your pet, and we’re here to explain why.

What Is Low-Cost Spay/Neuter?

Low-cost spay and neuter clinics assume a noble cause to decrease the homeless pet population through sterilization. Sadly, more than 2 million pets are euthanized every year, simply because there aren’t enough loving homes to go around. Some of these clinics perform between 30-50 surgical procedures each day.

Many of these clinics receive donations and operate on volunteer labor, so their costs are much less than a private veterinarian. And, unfortunately, many of them offer a less-than-high-standard procedure.

Reasons to Spay or Neuter at the Veterinarian

Your veterinarian has a different focus and philosophy, and although our goal is the same – a safe, effective spay or neuter procedure – our approach is different. Maybe you’ve seen or heard that a spay or neuter at your veterinarian is between $200-500, but your local spay/neuter clinic is $50. Why the incredible cost difference?

Here are some specifics:

Full service hospitals routinely examine your pet before surgery – As your veterinarian, talking to you about your pet’s health history and providing a complete physical examination before surgery is important. It’s amazing what we can catch on a pre-surgical physical exam, that either might cause us to postpone surgery, or to be more aware of what we can do during the procedure to minimize problems.

Full service hospitals require preoperative blood work – Can you imagine going in for abdominal surgery without baseline blood work? This can help us see if there are kidney, liver, or other- problems that might alter our anesthetic plan for your pet.

Full service hospitals place an IV catheter before surgery – IV access is crucial if your pet suffers an anesthetic medical emergency. Although anesthesia is very safe, there are instances when, even with pre-surgical exam and blood work, an unforeseen anesthetic event occurs, and we need to administer life-saving drugs immediately. That can’t be done without IV access, and we’d save precious minutes with an IV line already in place.

Full service hospitals administer fluids before, during, and after surgery – IV fluids are a critical way to keep your pet’s blood pressure stable during anesthesia, and ensure organ function. If your pet has trouble with blood pressure, a lack of blood supply to their organs may cause them to fail, often not seen until days or weeks after surgery.

Full service hospitals monitor your pet closely before, during, and after surgery – We employ qualified, trained, and dedicated veterinary technicians to effectively monitor your pet. We use human hospital grade equipment to do so, and rely on our knowledge and experience to keep your pet safe and comfortable.

Full service hospitals don’t skimp on pain medication – Just like in human medicine, new drugs are always becoming available, and we can choose the pain medications that work the most effectively and are the safest for your pet. These medications cost money, of course! But we want to make decisions based on what’s best for patient care, not on what’s the cheapest option.

Full service hospitals are equipped and prepared to handle emergencies and complications – Although we never anticipate an emergency or a surgical complication, they can happen. At a full service veterinary hospital, there is the staffing, training, equipment, and facility to handle an emergency and to provide for overnight care if it becomes necessary.

Full service hospitals are the best options for high risk pets – We are experts at taking care of not only young, healthy pets, but also those who need more time and attention before, during, and after surgery: large and giant breeds; obese, brachiocephalic (short-faced) dogs; aggressive or fearful dogs and cats; pets with existing medical problems.

We hope you’re starting to see where some of the cost differences come from when researching spaying or neutering your pet at a full service veterinary hospital, as opposed to a low-cost spay and neuter clinic. It’s great for you to understand some of the differences so that you can ask the right questions and be prepared for the decision with your own knowledge and understanding.

If we can be of further assistance in answering any questions about spay or neuter, or if you’d like a tour of our hospital and surgery suites, please don’t hesitate to call us.