FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Most of your concerning questions are answered here. If you do not see your question listed, please feel free to contact us.
Q: What’s the big deal about spaying/neutering?
A: Pet overpopulation! Most people do not realize how serious this problem is. To say that there are too many pets and not enough homes doesn’t convey the magnitude of the problem. The leading cause of death in pets in the United States is not disease or illness or injury. It’s being killed in our nation’s pounds and shelters. Millions of dogs, cats, puppies and kittens are killed just because there aren’t enough homes to go around. So PLEASE spay and neuter your pets! Encourage everyone you know to do the same.
Q: How can you charge so little?
A: Determination, Specialization & Efficiency! Our clinic is adequate but not elaborate. We do not have the equipment, staff, or facilities to handle complex medical cases. Therefore, our fixed costs are lower than in a full animal service hospital. Our non-profit spay/neuter clinic is subsidized by our vaccination and outpatient clinic. Our doctors have special training, which allows us to keep costs down by performing more surgeries in less time. Our staff also has special training, and their skills are fully utilized to help keep costs down, while sterilizing as many animals as possible, as quickly as possible.
Q: Does the quality of care suffer?
A: Absolutely not. We use the best anesthetics, mostly isoflurane. A technician is monitoring each patient during anesthesia. Because we have done over 100,000 procedures, our staff is among the most experienced anywhere. Our complication rate is significantly less that the average.
Q: Do you require lots of blood tests and vaccinations before you do surgery, so that it ends up costing much more?
A: We strongly recommend that all pets are well vaccinated, wormed, and tested for heartworms or leukemia before surgery. This is for their own well-being and protection while in the clinic. Owners of older pets may want to consider blood work before anesthesia to check the overall health status. The only thing we actually require is a current rabies vaccination and, for patients over 5 years of age, a negative heartworm test. We do not believe that any pet should go without being spayed or neutered if his/her owner is unable or unwilling to pay a substantial veterinarian bill.
Q: How long do they have to stay in the hospital?
A: Just for the day, they do not have to stay overnight. Anesthetics are much better than they used to be, and pets are awake and stable by the afternoon of the surgery. They are much less stressed at home than they would be in a hospital overnight surrounded by strange animals and sounds. They will get more attention at home than they would when we all go home for the evening. It also is one way that we keep costs down, by avoiding the expenses associated with overnight care.
Q: What do you do besides spaying and neutering? What don’t you do?
A: We see patients for anything that can be handled on an outpatient basis, such as routine testing, vaccinations, worming, minor illnesses or injuries. If a patient requires hospitalization, intensive care, extensive diagnostic procedures, or complex surgery, we normally refer you to a larger hospital that has the equipment, facilities, and staff to give these cases the attention and care they deserve. Specializing in this way is part of what allows us to keep our overhead cost down and our prices low.
Q: At what age do you recommend spaying/neutering?
A: As soon as possible. We schedule our patients to be spayed or neutered at the time of their last puppy or kitten vaccinations (3 – 4 months). We routinely spay and neuter orphans for humane societies and rescue groups as early as eight weeks of age. The younger the patient, the less anesthesia required, the faster the procedure, fewer complications, and a short recovery period.
Q: Shouldn’t my pet have one heat/litter first?
A: No! Absolutely not! This is the most harmful misconception we hear. Spaying a female before her first heat cuts her chance of breast cancer by over 96%. Breast cancer is very common in older females. Allowing her to have “just one litter” only increases her chance of medical problems, adds to the horrendous overpopulation problem, and causes both her and you a lot of aggravation and expense.
Q: My vet/sister/whoever says you can’t spay/neuter pets that young, is this true?
A: Decades ago, that was a common belief. Numerous studies have proven that our initial concerns about possible ill effects are unfounded. It has been well documented that these procedures are safe, with no detrimental effects either short/long term. In fact, complication rates are actually lower at eight weeks than at six months. However, with “some” large breed dogs we may recommend waiting longer.
Q: Question above: That’s not what my vet says.
A: It is not humanly possible for any veterinarian to keep up with all the new research and studies, in all areas, for all species. As veterinarians we all tend to keep up with our particular areas of expertise. This is our area; the research has been done and the facts are in. Pediatric spay/neuter is now covered in standard veterinarian textbooks and many veterinary college curriculums. It is the state of the art. Please note that spaying and neutering young puppies and kittens is different that performing these procedures on other animals. It does require some special training and adjustments to the techniques normally used.
Q: I’d like to have my pet spayed/neutered. I am worried about the anesthesia. Is there a risk?
A: There is always some risk involved with general anesthesia for animals as well as humans. Our loss rate is less that one tenth of one percent. The important thing to realize is that the risk of not spaying/neutering is much higher. To lose a pet during a spay/neuter is rare, especially healthy pets. Un-spayed/un-neutered pets commonly die from cancer or infections of the reproductive tract. Pets have their own sexually transmitted diseases, some fatal. Many males are killed or injured roaming to look for females or fight over them. And, dogs and cats can die from complications of giving birth. The risk of not spaying or neutering is far, far greater than the risk of losing one during the procedure.