As mentioned in last month’s blog, the Top 10 Questions to Ask Your Vet, many people wonder what goes into the pricing of their pet’s spay/neuter procedure. Why does it cost more for certain dogs and cats, or why is it less expensive at certain facilities? As a pet owner, it’s important to understand what services you may be omitting if you choose a less expensive procedure. At Patton Chapel Animal Clinic, our number one goal is to provide the ultimate comfort and safety for your pet. To ensure this goal, we employ best surgery practices based on experience as well as the most up to date and trusted veterinary science. As a team of people who go to work because we have a passion for animals, we ask that you as a pet owner educate yourself on exactly what you are paying for before scheduling your pet’s spay or neuter procedure, or any elective surgery. The following is a list that covers what we believe to be essential parts of the surgical facility you choose, whether it’s your own veterinarian, or a walk in clinic.
- Pre-Anesthetic Profile: At Patton Chapel Animal Clinic, a physical exam and bloodwork are required prior to surgery. This crucial step tells us if your dog or cat can handle anesthesia, is infected with parasites, has an unknown heart problem, or has another issue that may not allow them to endure surgery. Older pets may require more testing. Skipping this step may cause unforeseen emergency during surgery or a harder recovery for your pet.
- Prep area: Your dog or cat should be prepped for surgery in a separate area from the surgical room. Here is where your pet’s surgical area should be shaved and disinfected, as well as any loose hair on your pet removed, prior to surgery.
- Pre-procedure medication: Your dog or cat should be given medication to calm him prior to surgery. This ensures that your dog or cat will be relaxed going into surgery, and will prohibit abnormal heart rhythms caused by stress.
During the Surgery
- Separate Surgical Room: The facility you choose should have a separate room utilized only for surgical procedures. This ensures that the surgical area will remain sterile and free of pet hair or other germs stemming from frequent use.
- Anesthetic & Pain Management: All pets undergoing surgical procedures should be intubated, put on oxygen, and provided inhalant anesthesia. This provides control of the airway in case of emergency.
- IV Catheter & Drip Set: This tool helps maintain blood pressure, supports internal organs, and prevents dehydration during surgery provides medication during procedure in case of emergency. It is optional but highly advised at Patton Chapel Animal Clinic.
- Sterile Instruments: Do not use a facility if you are not absolutely sure that your pet will receive his very own sterile instrument pack.
- High Quality Sutures: Don’t be afraid to ask the facility what type of sutures they use. You want to make sure they are using high quality and strong sutures that are intended for single use. This ensures that your pet’s sutures have a better chance of staying in, as well as reducing the chance of unnecessary inflammation and longer recovery due to movement of weak sutures. Also ask if the surgeon will be using hidden sutures that will dissolve themselves or sutures that will have to be removed by the doctor, which will cost you another trip to the facility.
- Warmth: Your pet should be kept warm while pet under anesthesia to keep pet comfortable and prevent heart problems. This can be accomplished by using warming blankets or warming tables.
- Overnight Stay: At Patton Chapel Animal Clinic, we require all post-surgical pets to stay overnight for additional monitoring. This ensures that your pet will get the pain medications they need, as well as the rest they need to recover from surgery. Many pet owners think that their pet would be better off at home, only to find that going home produces a lot of excitement in their dog or cat. This can be detrimental in keeping your pet’s sutures intact. Staying overnight ensures your pet gets the rest he or she needs for better pain management and wound healing.
- Pain Medications: Pain medication should be provided to prevent pain after surgery as soon as the anesthetic wears off and when your pet comes home from surgery. Spaying and neutering is a common procedure, but it is still painful. Your pet needs rest and adequate pain medications. Your vet will provide you with instructions on how much pain medicine to give your pet.
At Patton Chapel Animal Clinic, all of the above items are required for your pet’s spay and neuter except for the IV catheter and drip set, although we do believe they should be utilized in most cases. We have seen many bad outcomes in pets who had surgery at facilities that did not adhere to the steps listed above. You are your pet’s advocate, make sure he receives the best quality care and that all of the above is offered or required at the facility you choose. If you have any questions or would like to tour our surgical facility, please contact us.