The DIFFERENCES in a Cheap Spay/Neuter at a Rescue vs. What We Do
So, this might surprise you. Did you know there are no required standards of care in veterinary medicine? What does this mean to you? It means that standards of care for your pet vary wildly between veterinary hospitals. That is why prices vary wildly as well. What you get at one veterinary hospital is not what you will get at another even when the procedure or treatment is called the same thing. Dirty secret of the industry? Maybe. What it does mean is you have to be a smart consumer. I’m here to help you with that.
Let’s talk about a spay first. A spay surgery is a major surgery even though the term spay is thrown around like we are just trimming nails. If you have ever heard of women having a hysterectomy and the recovery associated; a spay is virtually the same thing. Luckily for women, less invasive means are utilized like laparoscopy (which is rarely available in veterinary medicine).
What are we doing that makes our spay/neuter more expensive than the cheap places?
Bloodwork is done to ensure that the pet is healthy and organs are functioning well before we do anesthesia. Healthy organs are a requirement for the anesthesia to work as designed and for the body to be able to rid itself of the anesthesia following.
Because we are looking for heart enlargement (cardiomegaly) or other structural anomalies and making sure lungs are clear. This is not required for pets under 7 but is still recommended for all pets regardless of age. Dr. may require these diagnostics on some pets if he has concerns of any kind or the pet has any pre-existing conditions or on medication for chronic conditions.
Why electrocardiogram (EKG)?
We perform an EKG because this will alert us of any potential problems with heart rhythm. Additionally, the EKG is sent to a board certified cardiologist for review. Many times the EKG will uncover minor cardiac issues that had they not been discovered pre-anesthesia and medications changed could have been big problems under anesthesia. Sometimes, we have to ‘pre-treat’ with drugs recommended by cardiologist and repeat the EKG and send back to cardiologist to ensure problems have been resolved and anesthesia can be given safely.
Sevoflurane is a much safer gas for anesthesia than the more widely used isoflurane gas used. It is about 5 times the cost of isoflurane. The cheap spay is usually done using only injectable drugs which are cheaper and often have some unpleasant side effects like nausea and dysphoria. Sevoflurane and the use of pre-meds (drugs given before anesthesic gas is started) help to calm the patient and make the placement of the IV catheter less stressful. Think of it like you get a valium prior to surgery. I don’t know about you but I get a little stressed before a surgery. Imagine a pet that has no idea why or what we are doing to them.
Dr. is doing the surgery and our veterinary technician is monitoring the patient’s temperature, heart rate, respiration rate, CO2 rate, oxygen saturation, blood pressure and overall appearance to maintain a good even plain of anesthesia for the patient so they don’t experience any pain or discomfort during the surgery. Cheap spays don’t usually monitor anything. They give the injections to knock them out, do the procedure and wake them up.
Same surgery packs, same surgical gloves, no sterile gown, no masks, no hair covers, no sterile surgical suite. They don’t do an IV catheter, they don’t place an endotracheal tube. If things go wrong they are going to go really wrong with little ability to intervene. Yes, I am serious.
Propofol sedates the pet to unconsciousness so we can place the endotracheal tube (protects the airway during surgery). Once the endotracheal tube (single use ; not reused) is placed we then start the anesthetic gas. The anesthetic gas keeps your pet asleep through the entire procedure. Your pet will receive IV fluids during the entire procedure.
Temperature decrease will happen while pets are under anesthesia. Low body temperature can cause a cascade of effects including poor oxygen saturation, blood pressure and heart rhythm issues to name a few. A warming device which provides warm air around the patient helps to combat this and aids in speedier wake up following anesthesia.
This helps flush out the drugs and gas given. This aids in faster recovery so your pet can get back to themselves sooner.
We have memory foam rugs for your pet and cover them with blankets and ensure their transition from anesthesia to consciousness is a smooth transition. Small pets we hold and larger pets we comfort and pet.
So now you can make an informed decision. Maybe you will decide that a rescue procedure is acceptable for you but I hope that knowing everything that I have explained will make you want to give your pet the safest and most comfortable experience.
If you still have questions please feel free to call and make a no charge appointment to discuss further.