Low cost spays and neuters – what’s the catch?

By February 3, 2014 April 9th, 2019 Uncategorized

Markham veterinarian explains some ethically questionable pricing strategies for cheap surgeries.

What you need to know about cheap spay or neuter services – Part 3.

Last week we discussed how the real cost of the surgery is often not disclosed.

Some private clinics without access to tax money may be using cheap surgeries as a marketing lure: 

You may be familiar with the “loss leader” model: A grocery store buys, let’s say chicken breasts, at $4.00 per pound and prints a weekend special on their flyer to sell them at $2.99 per pound. They actually sell them below their cost and lose $1.01 per pound before the cost of sales, storage etc. Why would they do that? … To get you to come into the store and buy their chicken… and on the way out pick up a lot of other items that are making them enough profit to justify the money lost selling chicken breast below cost.

At the Animal Hospital of Unionville, a veterinary clinic in Markham, we love animals through and through. Our job is to inform and educate pet owners to facilitate their decision-making. Animals need our and your protection.  Only when you have the right information and take the right action, can you give your pet optimal health.  Low cost surgical services make us cringe… not because they save money, but because high standard quality can’t be “cheap”.

“Loss leader”-  cheap surgeries are a marketing strategy. It is used to draw you into the store and recover the losses with up-sells. We consider this strategy ethically quite dubious and it raises questions about the professionalism of the provider. 

Buying a service like a low cost spay or neuter by itself is not wrong, but you need to be very certain, the discounted service is at the exact standard as a regular priced service. Once you know that the advertised price doesn’t reflect the truth… would you be interested to know what else isn’t true?                                

Are there differences in the quality, service, and level of medicine provided? 

Yes, there is a big difference: Operations can be done on different levels of quality and to compare objectively, we have to look at the different motivations:

When animals are unwanted statistics…

High volume and low cost services have been introduced as a matter of population control. The focus is on getting as many stray animals fixed as possible without costing much. The patients are just strays that need to be stopped from reproducing. They belong to nobody and nobody loves them. They are the unwanted statistics.

In private animal hospitals however, our patients are furry family members. They are loved by their human family and we love them too. They are an important part of the family and they deserve to be treated with the utmost care. We are living our childhood dream. Before we recommend or do anything with our patients we always ask ourselves: What would we do, if this pet were our own?   We do provide a comforting, safe, caring, attentive, pain-free environment for a furry family member. Which family would want anything different?

Of course, it is very easy to make claims such as “safe”, “caring”, “attentive”, etc. but all these terms are quite intangible and very subjective. It is important to back up the intangible with concrete information.

Stay tuned to learn what else you NEED TO KNOW about cheap dog or cat neuter or spay services.


Dr. Ernst Marsig, veterinarian in Markham

Practicing Veterinary Medicine in Markham for a Long and Happy Life of ALL Your Pets.

Animal Hospital of Unionville, a veterinary clinic on the north side of  Hwy 7, serving all pets in Markham, Richmond Hill, Scarborough, Stouffville, and North York since 1966. We are your family vets for dogs, cats, pocket pets (rabbits, chinchillas, gerbils, mice, rats, hamsters, guinea pigs, skinny pigs, etc.), ferrets, and birds (budgies, cockatiel, parrots, amazon, cockatoo, love birds, conures, African greys, finches, canaries, etc.).

Disclaimer: No part of this website constitutes medical advice. Readers are advised to consult with their veterinarian.

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