If you’re anything like me, you’re a sucker for a rescued animal, and your bank account can probably attest to it. Maybe you’ve recently purchased (or have been given) a puppy, and they are “coming of age”; or maybe, you have had your pet for a while and just haven’t gotten it “fixed” yet, due to financial (or personal belief) constraints? In SWFL, you’ve got quite a few options for sterilizing your pet; but what’s really the best option for you, your wallet and, most importantly, your pet?
First, why get your pet spayed/neutered?
- Overpopulation and overcrowding in shelters across the country- It’s not a pleasant topic of conversation, but the truth is that millions of pets are euthanized every year due to lack of homes.
- Health risks-While your pet may be perfectly healthy now, the hormones that are being pushed through their systems by their sex organs can cause some serious damage later in life. Prostate enlargement, mammary cancer, and pyometra (an infection in the uterus that can be fatal if not treated surgically) are just SOME of the risks that an unsterilized pet may face; and while neutering may not completely eliminate these risks, it will significantly decrease them, especially if done while the pet is still very young (preferably before the first heat cycle).
- Behavioral changes-Those same hormones that can cause potential health risks, can also responsible for erratic, dominant, and sometimes aggressive behaviors as well. Sterilizing your pet at a young age can help them to “get a grip”, because, hey, we’ve all been teenagers at some point…..
And now, the options:
A low-cost spay/neuter clinic
There are numerous “low-cost” spay and neuter clinics in our area. Some are privately funded, some are government funded, and some are simply run by some great-hearted people with (now) empty pockets. My point is, not all low-cost clinics are created equal; and you should not expect the same protocols and practice morals from all of them. The majority of low-cost clinics are about quantity (not necessarily quality), but what they contribute to the community by offering their services is SO necessary to keep overpopulation controlled. If a low-cost clinic what your budget calls for, first request a visit. At that visit, find out EXACTLY what you will be paying for and what steps will be taken to keep your pet safe before, during, and after the procedure. Visit the surgery suite (if possible) and speak directly with the veterinarian and technician that will be present on the “big day”. Discuss after-care, pain management, and DNR protocols; will you need to come back to have the sutures removed? Will that visit be covered? What if your pet develops an infection, will that be included in the price-package? Make sure that you are 100% comfortable by the end of that visit; if not, keep shopping! Consider, also, the possibility that the “low-cost” clinic may not be THAT much of a lower cost than your own veterinarian; if you must shop around, shop smart and know exactly what you’re paying for.
A Veterinary Hospital
We have some amazing veterinarians (and support staff) in the Lee County area; I’ve worked personally with quite a few of them over the last 18 years. Hospital Veterinarians, generally, are more meticulous with their craft; preferring quality medicine over mass-quantity-assembly-line-surgery. A good veterinarian will take the time to build a relationship with you and your pet; understanding that ANY procedure requiring anesthetic can be a stressful, and should be approached with care.