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The risks of anesthesia in low cost spay and neuter for dogs and cats … Part 6

By March 5, 2014 April 9th, 2019 Uncategorized

Cutting costs of anesthesia poses higher risks for your pets… Inconvenient questions that must be answered BEFORE submitting your dog / cat to cheap spay or neuter surgery.

You may have been reading this for a while... here we continue our questions:

What you need to know about cheap spay or neuter services. Here are more important questions to ask:

 7. Does the pet receive a breathing (intratracheal) tube with oxygen?

A breathing tube is inserted into the pet’s windpipe and allows giving concentrated oxygen together with anesthetic gas, (do not use the cheaper, but inferior halothane), which allows controlling how deep you want the patient to sleep. Once the surgery is complete, you can turn the anesthetic off and the patient will wake up within a short time. It controls the anesthesia best and prevents aspiration (inhaling) of saliva etc.

 8. How sophisticated is the anesthetic monitoring?

Modern medical technology allows very sophisticated monitoring.  Patients should, in our opinion, be monitored with everything available. In our veterinary hospital in Markham, we are using “old fashioned” parameters, like heart rate, pulse rate, breathing rate, color of mucous membranes, and body temperature, but we also monitor ECG, blood pressure, and oxygen saturation in the blood. This modern technology is now available and comes at a price however. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, low cost services may be inclined to use low cost efforts. Pets’ safety should not pay the price for this.

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”. In this series we hope to educate every pet owner about 14 important details you need to know before submitting your pet to any surgery. With this knowledge, please have a look at many of the Youtube videos about Low Cost spays and neuters. You will notice that a breathing tube and monitoring equipment is completely absent. What about these questions…

 9. Is the surgical equipment sterile and packaged individually – one per patient?

Veterinarians in Markham are almost embarrassed to have to list this question. It seems so obvious… But it is a question you need to ask. We have seen even in human medicine cases where shortcuts in sterility caused serious complications.  If you look closely at some of the promotional youtube videos of low cost providers, you’ll notice that lack of surgical gowns, sometimes regular cheap disposable (and non-sterile) gloves are being used.  One video showed a surgeon with blood soiled scrubs STARTING a surgery! Surgeries should not degenerate into war-style field hospitals.

 10. Are you allowed to see the surgery room?

Any veterinary hospital should be open for you to have a visit, and while you may not be able to step into the surgery room while wearing your regular street clothes, you should be able to see the clinic behind the scenes.

 11. Are vaccines given on the day of the surgery?

Giving vaccines on the day of surgery, in the professional opinion of many veterinarians, borders on malpractice. All animals receiving surgery should be up to date on necessary vaccinations, they should be healthy and they should be free of parasites. This means they have to be checked out ahead of time.

Vaccinations are extremely useful. They protect your pet from becoming ill with certain diseases AND they protect the other pets in the hospital from contracting something your pet may have brought into the hospital. But they don’t protect your pet when they are administered on the day of the surgery…

The day of a surgery is a stress on your pet’s system. Anesthetic, different medications, surgery, wound healing, all combine causing your pet’s immune system to work overtime. If you give vaccines at the same time you risk one of the two undesirable effects: A) The vaccination does not work well, because the immune system is too busy dealing with all the other stressors, or B) the immune system is so worn out that your pet gets an avoidable reaction to the vaccine.

Spaying and Neutering is elective surgery. Proper preplanning is possible and convenience or cost savings is no excuse for vaccinating on the day of surgery. Yes, veterinarians in Markham agree that in feral cat population control situations called “catch and release” programs, most cats are only caught once and that’s the time to do everything, before releasing them again. Most pets however are family members and don’t need a rushed hit-and-run approach.

Read on here…


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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