Why Does it Cost so Much?
When you get a new puppy or kitten one of your biggest expenses is usually the spay or neuter surgery. (See our post on Spay/Neuter for more detail on what is involved.) Your pet will be evaluated by a vet the morning of the surgery, weighed and sedated with an appropriate pain medication and anesthesia for his age, weight, general health and type of procedure. We will monitor your pet while she is sedated, maintain her body temperature with our warming system, we use a laser for the incision and a technician will remain with your pet until she is awake and breathing on her own. We will then monitor her for the rest of the day and send her home with pain meds for the next morning.
There are spay/neuter clinics in our area that are an option. Many times you will need to bring your pet to a drop off location where he will be picked up and driven to the clinic where the surgery will be performed. These clinics generally do not require the same vaccines that we do, which makes it cheaper to use them, but it also means your pet will be traveling with and spending a day and night around unvaccinated pets. In just the past few weeks we have had to treat several dogs who caught contagious diseases while at the spay/neuter clinic. The owners are responsible for these vet bills, unfortunately. We have also had to treat several pets who have had complications from surgery. These do happen, even when the pet does not have to travel for several hours and spend the night in a strange place, but we treat our surgery patients at no charge. This is not the case for surgeries done elsewhere.
The Big Picture
Before you schedule your pet's surgery, find out what is covered and what your real costs are. Compare the real differences in price, based on what you are actually getting. For the cost of a nice dinner out your pet can have what will hopefully be his only surgery at a local hospital. Here the doctors and technicians know your pet and she will get one-on-one care, backed up by service after the surgery if needed. The high volume clinics are generally subsidized and non-profit. They were started so that low income people could keep their pets from producing more pets and now they are open to everyone. Getting the best care for your pet is probably more affordable than you realize.