The "Why" of Wellness Costs

We are often being questioned about our prices for our wellness surgeries (spays/neuters); why does ours cost this when theirs cost that?  I cannot testify as to other veterinary practices prices. I can only attest to ours. So, let's get started. I will refer to ovariectomy (spay) costs.

First, we do not simply pull out a figure from the air. Our fees are thoroughly thought out, taking into consideration our costs so that we can offer a fair fee for our clients.  We absolutely do not want to charge a low fee that would be considered a loss leader. In retail business, loss leaders are created to get customers through the door. The loss is made up by the retailer in either 'surprise' fees not included in the original quote or by inflating other fees not related to the procedure. Examples of surprises for a spay fee could be a required pre-op Dr's exam not included the quoted fee, or medications to go home on, or required blood work. 

Now let's discuss our expenses. Medical expenses include induction anesthesia, passing a 'trach' tube into the trachea [wind pipe] and placing onto a gaseous anesthetic machine. Then she is hooked up to monitors that check heart rate and ECG, oxygen levels in her blood, and respiration rate. Despite this great technology we still have a technician monitor the patient throughout the procedure.  IV fluids are recommended and antibiotics are administered followed by pain meds via injection. This finally gets us to the procedure. The dog is surgically prepped by a Technician and covered with sterile drapes and sterilized packs of instruments are opened.  The surgeon places his magnifying goggles on, then gowns, gloves and proceeds. The surgery involves a midline incision, locating the ovaries, resecting them out, tying off all arteries involved, and closing the incision in 3 layers. Before coming off the anesthetic more pain medications are administered. Then she is monitored until safely recovered and placed back into her kennel. The surgery room is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. All instrumentation is soaked, cleaned, rewrapped and sterilized in a high temperature pressurized chamber called an autoclave by an assistant.  

In addition to everything done before, during and after the surgery we also keep a thorough patient record of everything done in hospital while your pet was with us, medications administered, vital signs, and more.

 So to spay a dog, our costs include, oral and injectable medications, IV and gaseous anesthetics, surgical drapes, instrumentation, autoclaving, disinfectants, the surgical room itself including stainless steel tables and trays and monitors. Then we have to pay the team including a tech, assistant, receptionist and the surgeon himself.  The cherry on top is cost of heating, electric and maintenance of the building.

 We do all this for an average fee of $205.00 for a 20 to 40 pound dog! 

 If you have any questions about our fees feel free to call and please do not hesitate to ask what is entailed in that fee.  If you still aren't satisfied ask to speak with the hospital manager or myself. We are here to answer all of your questions and help your pet have a safe procedure while with us.

Dr. Jerry Miller graduated from The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine and has been serving Southern Ohio for his entire career. 

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