The Hidden Dangers of Low-Cost Spay and Neuter Clinics

Low-cost spay/neuter

Thanks to breeders, veterinarians, animal shelters and others, most new puppy/kitten owners now understand the benefits of spaying or neutering their pet.

Knowing how and where these procedures can best be performed, however, is not as widely understood.

This post is to encourage you to make an informed, thoughtful choice when you decide where to take your pet for spaying/neutering. It could save your pet a lot of pain and reduce the risk of post-surgery complications.

Three points I’d like to share with you:

  1. A number of new, low-cost spay/neuter clinics and mobile units have opened up in this area. Some focus on efficiency and cost savings over the compassionate care of your pet.
  2. Several years ago, the Association of Shelter Veterinarians (ASV) published guidelines to help low-cost clinics understand the optimal protocols for safely performing spay/neuters while also providing humane, quality, individualized care for each pet. The 13-page document addresses surgery settings, anesthetics, pain management and other concerns (Go to for guidelines).
  3. However, although these guidelines are in place, there is no one monitoring or enforcing them so patient care can vary dramatically from clinic to clinic. It’s up to you to inform yourself about the inherent risks of low-cost spay/neuter procedures.

I invite you to watch the following video of the professional, loving care each and every one of our patients at Animal Hospital of Rowlett Veterinary Clinic and Animal Hospital of Heath receives when undergoing a surgical  procedure:

What can you do to ensure that your pet receives the care you want?

Find out exactly how your pet will be treated before, during, and after surgery. Ask tough questions. Learn the facts. Then decide what’s best for your pet. All surgeries have risks – but your research can minimize them and ensure that your pets get the care they deserve.

P.S. If you’re stuck on how to start your spay/neuter inquiry, here are some questions you can ask the person doing the surgery on your pet:

  • What pre surgery precautions do you take to ensure that my pet does not have any hidden health issues that could complicate the surgery?
  • What pain medications will you provide before, during, and after surgery?
  • What types of pain medications will my pet receive?
  • What monitoring systems do you use during surgery? After surgery?
  • What steps do you take to ensure that my pet is as stress-free and comfortable as possible?
  • Where will my pet wait and recover?
  • Who will be monitoring and delivering anesthesia?
  • What anesthetic parameters will be monitored?
  • How many days will it take my animal to fully recover?
  • How many of these surgeries have you done, what is your complication rate?
  • May I have a copy of my pet’s veterinary record?

Kim Downes, DVM
Animal Hospital of Rowlett Veterinary Clinic
Animal Hospital of Heath

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