Todays diary entry is sponsored by Pet Hair Remover
Recently I have seen a lot of posts on social media comparing the prices for things like spays and castrations for different animals. Sometimes it is really easy to fall into the trap of looking just at the procedure, for example lets talk about castration of a rabbit (I had an interesting conversation on surgical techniques here the other day)…
So prices ranged from around £40 right up to £120, whilst there is some influence on the area that the person lives and the size of practice lets look at possible reasons why there is such a big difference.
Getting new clients through the door
Some vets will use castration and spay surgeries as what is known as a loss-leader, basically they lose money as a way to attract new clients. Afterall if you have a great first experience you will likely use them regularly in future.
A package deal
It depends what else is included in the castration “package”. Some vets will include the followup appointments and any aftercare medications. Others may also include microchipping, free insurance and more to get your pet of to a great start!
Now there is considerable variation in the type of surgery protocol between vet practices. There are different ways to anaesthetise an animal so the cost of the drugs used may vary. Sometimes a inhalation anaesthetic may be used as well which may require intubation, here in cats and rabbits there are options as to how this is done either using a endotracheal tube or a special device called a V-Gel. Then there is whether a cannula (a injection port into a blood vessel for drug and fluid administration) is placed, and if IV fluids are given. Also the way the animal is monitored may vary, it may be done manually, or the vet practice may have invested in special monitors which give more advanced notice when something is going wrong!
The Surgical Technique
There is then the surgical technique employed which is dictated by the vet performing the surgery. As I said the other day it was a interesting discussion as there are many different approaches. Sometimes there may be one or two incisions, the sac containing the testicles may or may not be opened, the incisions may be sutured, glued or even left open. Suture material is rather surprisingly expensive (especially if it is absorbable) so the surgical technique can in turn affect the pricing.
Follow up careResearch has shown that many animals can feel pain, so its important to consider surgery to be painful to animals as well. Especially with small mammals this can lead to stress and then onto major complications like gut stasis and so forth. I personally believe that any animal should be given adequate pain relief after surgery. It is also important that patients are monitored properly after the surgery as well!
There are loads of different ways to do things and no one way is the best, however it is important to dig deeper than the title next to a price in a list. Vets will be happy to explain things to you, and if you have questions you should never be scared to ask. Question how things are cheaper, and more importantly question how your pet will be looked after during the procedure!