We get asked a lot about low-cost spay and services. One of the most frequent questions we get has to do with the level of care a pet will get at a low-cost clinic.
Keep in mind that many low-cost clinics are nonprofit organizations and therefore, they are getting grants and donations that help them offset their costs. This is a good thing since it means that they are NOT cutting corners when it comes to your pet’s care – they are just bringing in other forms of “revenue” to supplement their lower service fees.
Still, you want to make sure that the clinic you choose is going to provide your pet with the best care possible. Questions to ask:
- Who is doing the surgery?
Find out the name of the veterinarian and number of years of experience he/she has. You might also ask how long the vet has been working at the clinic.
- Will your pet be given pain medication before and after the procedure?
There is no reason for your pet to be in pain. Ask about clinic protocols when it comes to giving pain meds.
- What protocols are in place for monitoring your pet during the procedure? Monitoring your pet’s vital signs – like heart rate and blood pressure — during the surgery is done to signal any distress while under anesthesia. Make sure that your pet will be monitored during the procedure.
- What does the clinic do to identify any pre-existing conditions that could make surgery risky? Pre-existing conditions such as a heart condition — can cause complications – and even death – during surgery. Ask the clinic how they identify any pre-existing conditions or health issues that your pet may have. In many cases, it’s a good idea to have blood work done as well as an echocardiogram before any type of surgery. Low-cost clinics do not typically offer either of these – so you may want to ask to see if they recommend that your pet be checked first by your regular vet. Your pet’s age will also be a big factor.
- Who should I call if there is a problem after the surgery? Does the clinic provide you with emergency contact information in case there is a problem following the surgery? Can you bring your pet back –and what should you do after regular hours?
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.
Did you know…
- Millions of healthy cats, dogs and other pets are euthanized in the U.S. each year.
- On average, about 65% of animals that end up in shelters are euthanized.
- Purebred animals account for about 30% or more of homeless pets at shelters.
“Fixed” pets are healthier.
- They live longer, healthier lives.
- They have fewer health problems, including some that are serious.
- Females do not get uterine or ovarian cancer and have fewer occurrences of breast cancer.
- Males do not get testicular cancer and have fewer occurrences of prostate disease.
“Fixed” pets are more sociable.
- They are more affectionate.
- They are less likely to spray and mark territory.
- They do not go into a heat cycle, during which females can cry and attract males.
- They have fewer behavior and temperament problems.
- They are less likely to roam, run away or get into fights.
You know what they say about rabbits…
- Pet rabbits need “fixing” too!
- Altering rabbits can reduce behaviors such as lunging, mounting, spraying, and boxing.
- Spaying can prevent ovarian, mammarian and uterine cancers in females.
For more information, visit The Humane Society of the United States website at www.hsus.org and the ASPCA website atwww.aspca.org.
Click here for one of America’s largest directories of low-cost Spay/Neuter directories.
What is NOOTERS Club®? We get asked this all the time. Well, we are a small company that is using our own money to reach out to pet owners. We do not ask for or accept donations. Instead we donate our time, our merchandise and part of our proceeds to as many rescue groups as we can afford to.
You have probably seen our whimsical merchandise – perhaps online ( www.nootersclub.org) or at one of the pet expos that we participate in throughout the Midwest. We are also more than just a bunch of cute t-shirts! While people find our cartoons uplifting and funny, they also carry a serious message. What is NOOTERS Club® doing to help end pet overpopulation? We are:
- Raising awareness though our whimsical cat, dog and rabbit “My Pet’s a Member,” “Heavy Petting “and “Prevent Littering” apparel and gift items. We find that using humor helps us open up conversations and gets people talking about their pet.
- Collecting and posting information and links on many low-cost spay / neuter clinics as we can get our hands on! Go to http://www.nootersclub.org/lowcostspayneuter/ Let us know if you know of any clinics that are not listed and we will add them!
- Partnering with low-cost clinics to help bring more people in their doors. For example, at the All American Pet Expo in Columbus, we handed out flyers and gave away free t-shirts and window decals to pet owners pre-paying for spay/neuter at SOS of Ohio.
If you are with a clinic that would like to be included in our online low-cost spay / neuter directory, or would like to partner with NOOTERS Club® in some way, please contact Lindaw@nootersclub.org or fill out the form at http://www.nootersclub.org/lowcostspayneuter/lowcostspayneuterform/.
Getting your pet spayed or neutered at the veterinarian can be costly. At the same time, you want to make sure that where you take your pet is safe and that they will get proper care.
There are a growing number of low-cost spay / neuter clinics around the U.S. These clinics typically do high volume spay / neuter which means this is all that they do. Their spay / neuter rates are typically under $100 per pet. Some are as low as $20 per pet. This is a huge savings – especially if you have multiple pets or if you are affiliated with a rescue group or do trap-neuter-return work.
There are low-cost spay / neuter clinics in most state – however they may be difficult to find. Because of their low cost, many do not have budgets for advertising or promotions. What is the best way to locate these clinics in your area?
- Contact a local pet rescue group. Many of them work with such clinics and may have a list of them in your area.
- See the Nooters Club® online directory. This directory contains HUNDREDS of low-cost spay neuter clinics around the U.S. and Canada. It also includes clinics that spay /neuter rabbits. Go to http://www.nootersclub.org/lowcostspayneuter.htm
- Contact your local shelter. Some run their own low-cost clinic or may know of one in the area.
- Do a Google search. Look for “low-cost spay neuter services” in your hometown. You may have to widen your search to your metro area or to your state.
- Ask your veterinarian. YES some vets will suggest other resources if you explain that you cannot afford their fees. A few even post low-cost spay / neuter services to their websites.
While most pet owners agree that you should get your dog or cat spayed / neutered, many people are surprised to hear that pet rabbits fall into the same category.
Rabbits that are left intact (not spayed or neutered) will reproduce like, well, like rabbits! Additionally your unsterilized rabbit is at risk of serious illness and could exhibit undesirable behaviors. Getting your rabbit spayed or neutered means your rabbit will:
- Live longer due to less risk of serious illness.
- Avoid certain cancers.
- Be a better companion, calmer and more loving.
- Be easier to litter train and less likely to spray.
See more about the benefits of getting your rabbit spayed/neutered at http://www.nootersclub.org/spayneuterinfo.htm
To get your rabbit spayed or neutered, find a veterinarian who is experienced in rabbit sterilization; many are not. Rabbits are very delicate and need special care under anesthesia. Get a referral from a rabbit rescue group or someone you know who has rabbits. Ask the vet how many rabbit spays / neuters he/she has done. Also check our directory of low-cost spay / neuter clinics around the U.S. and Canada at http://www.nootersclub.org/lowcostspayneuter.htm
Look for the rabbit symbol.