In my line of work, the expression, “you get what you pay for”, couldn’t be more true. This is most applicable to surgical procedures, especially a common spay or neuter.
Let’s say that clinic A charges $100 for a spay and clinic B charges $225 for a spay. Does this mean that clinic B is just a bunch of crooks, trying to steal your hard-earned money? Well…it’s possible, but not likely.
When you get a quote for surgery, you have to find out what that price includes. Does your pet get an IV catheter, IV fluids, blood pressure monitoring, pain relievers, etc. Does this include pre-anesthetic bloodwork?
An IV catheter is the most important thing to consider. If YOU were having surgery, even a minor procedure, I can guarantee that you would have an IV catheter placed prior to surgery. This allows IV fluids to be given before and during surgery, which is important for maintaining good blood pressure and keeping your major organs happy while you are under the effects of anesthesia. Equally as important as this however, is that if something starts to go wrong during surgery (like your heart rate starts dropping), the appropriate medications can be given immediately through the IV to fix the problem. The same is true for your pet.
A lot of clinics make the IV an optional item. However, I firmly believe that most people are NOT able to make a truly informed decision. They usually aren’t really told why an IV is a good thing and they don’t have the medical training to fully understand why it is necessary. If I was a client, I might think “if it’s made optional, then how important can it really be?”
Another thing that drives me crazy is when pain relievers are made to be optional. People think of a spay surgery as being a minor “snip, snip”, when in fact it is a major abdominal surgery with post-operative pain similar to a C-section. However, it’s hard to get clients on board with this when a LOT of veterinarians still aren’t. It’s sad. If your vet doesn’t send home pain medications for your dog after they have been spayed, then ask for them!
DO NOT let anybody tell you that it’s good for animals to be in pain after surgery because it means they won’t move around as much. That thinking may have been fine 25 years ago but we now know that pain relievers and anti-inflammatories help to speed up the healing process.
Most clinics make pre-anesthetic bloodwork optional for young pets. I have no problem with this, as long as it is explained to pet owners why we recommend it. It is a tool that veterinarians can use to determine if your pet is healthy enough to undergo an anesthetic procedure. In a young, healthy dog, it will be normal 90% of the time. In the other 10%, depending on what is wrong, we will either postpone surgery to focus on the medical issue that we just diagnosed OR we will go ahead with surgery using an altered anesthetic drug plan.
Now, please do not be angry if your pet has normal bloodwork. Yes, this has happened to me. A client said, “See, I told you it would be normal. Now I’ve wasted all that money”. Actually sir, the fact that it is normal is a good thing! Plus now, we have a baseline for your pet to compare to in the future. It is most definitely NOT a waste of money!
So, clinic B is probably not just trying to steal your money. They are probably trying to make surgery safer for your pet, reduce recovery times, complications and relieve post-op pain. Clinic A probably doesn’t put in an IV catheter or give IV fluids (obviously – the two go hand in hand), doesn’t monitor blood pressure (or other important parameters that I didn’t get into) and doesn’t give appropriate pain medications before and after surgery.
It’s 2013. Your pet deserves these things.
And you deserve these cupcakes.
Martha Stewart sure knows how to make good cupcakes. I got this recipe from her cupcake book and have made them many times. These are amazingly creamy, delicious and they look super cool. They make you look like you’ve slaved away in the kitchen all day, when the truth is, they are really easy to make. They are my husband’s favourite.
Oreo Cheesecake Cupcakes
From: Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes
21 Oreo cookies (6 coarsely chopped and 15 for the cupcake bottoms)
2 packages of 250 g (8oz) cream cheese at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs at room temperature, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup sour cream
A pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 275 F. Line standard muffin tins with foil or paper liners. Place a whole Oreo cookie in the bottom of each cupcake cup.
Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat cream cheese until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Gradually add sugar and beat until combined. Add vanilla.
Add eggs a bit at a time, beating to combine and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in sour cream and salt. Stir in the chopped Oreo cookies by hand.
Divide batter evenly between the cookie-filled cupcake cups, filling almost to the top. Bake about 22 minutes, until filling is set, rotating the tins halfway through.
Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely. Refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving. Enjoy!