NOOTERS Club® is an advocate for pet spay and neuter. You knew that. But because of the position we take, we are often asked about where to go for affordable pet spay and neuter. That’s why we created our online directory. We ask each pet spay/neuter clinic to provide standard information about its services along with contact information. But it’s up to each pet guardian to decide whether or not a particular clinic is right for his or her pet.
We also get asked, “Where would you go?” Here in Michigan – it’s an easy answer. (See who I go to here in Michigan in a later blog.) But it’s more difficult when it comes to clinics with which we have no experience.
How can you tell if a low-cost clinic is reputable? You can ask the standard questions – like, “How long have you been in business?? Or, “How many procedures have you done?” These answers should tell you something about a clinic’s experience and longevity. But I would dig a little deeper.
- How does the clinic fare in reviews? Search online reviews just as you would for a restaurant or other business. For example, the clinic I work with here in Michigan rates 5 stars in many reviews and close to 5 in others. Good enough for me. Read reviews carefully. Sometimes even a few negative comments – if they are serious enough – will be cause to go elsewhere.
- Are there any complaints filed against the clinic or its veterinarians? This is easy to find out but takes a little digging. In each state, complaints against veterinary hospitals and veterinarians are filed with a state department of licensing and regulations. Here in Michigan it’s called the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs at http://www.michigan.gov/lara/0,4601,7-154-63294_27647-67393–,00.html. The name could be slightly different in each state – check on your state’s official website – or call for assistance. In any case, such a department posts disciplinary actions taken against healthcare institutions and professionals including physicians, nurses, dentists and veterinarians. Locate these lists on your state’s website and search, by name, for the clinic and its veterinarians. (Of course, you’ll need to obtain a list of the clinic’s veterinarians in advance.) If your state’s like mine, you’ll be surprised at the number and nature of medical professional complaints!)
- Check out the clinic’s website. Is the website professional looking and does it provide useful information about procedures, preparation, post-surgical care at home, etc.? If a lot of care and attention went into developing the site, this sends a good message about the clinic. At the same time, do not trust JUST what you see on the site.
- How helpful are they on the phone? Granted, many low-cost clinics have limited staff and may have a difficult time answering the phone. For me, what I hear on the phone is a HUGE gauge of how I can except to be treated at the clinic, veterinarian’s office, physician’s office and so forth. Clinics may be upset with me for suggesting this, but I would give them a call. Double check hours, protocols for appointments and walk-ins, cost of services and so forth. How they treat you on the phone will likely be similar to how you are treated in person.