Submitted by Lisa A. Yackel, CVPM, PHR
Hospital Administrator at Case Veterinary Hospital
As I was doing all of my Christmas shopping this month, a thought occurred to me. When I decided I was in the market for a purchase, I had a number of resources to rely on. I could do internet research, use my smart phone for applications that gave reviews, talk to friends, or ask the sales person at the store. I found that knowing what I wanted was paramount to the decision. When purchasing a camera for example, I needed to define what I was going to use it for and what features did I value the most. I also needed to rely heavily on the reputation of the manufacturer to ensure I was going to get a product that would be reliable and consistent. The light bulb that went off for me was that selecting a veterinarian to perform a surgery was not that different than doing the research for any other “purchase”.
There is one major difference that cannot be forgotten! I can get a guarantee on the camera that will enable me to switch out the product if it does not meet my satisfaction. I cannot get back the health or life of my pet if I don’t choose to select the “features” that will safeguard him during a medical procedure. We as consumers are all looking for a “good” deal these days when we are spending money on a product. However, the old saying that you “get what you pay for” if definitely true when it comes to medicine and surgery.
The best medicine (or even just good medicine) comes with a price. It is not cheap to have quality medical professionals, a clean facility, reliable and up to date equipment, and drugs that are safe and will keep a pet pain free. It is not cheap to run the appropriate lab work to ensure your pet is healthy enough to undergo a medical procedure. In fact, it has always struck me as odd that clients are even given the option of whether they want pre-surgical labwork or pain medication for their pet. It is not an option when I go to the dentist to have a cavity filled without some sort of pain blocker. I cannot fathom why it is offered at other facilities as an option versus a necessary part of the surgery.
At Case Veterinary Hospital, we take our role of being the pet’s advocate seriously. We will not perform a non- emergency or elective surgery unless we know the patient is in good health. We do a complete physical exam on all of our patients; we run lab work appropriate to the age of the pet; we use monitoring equipment throughout the surgery; we assign a technician to monitor anesthesia and recovery; we keep the pet in our hospital until they are fully recovered (sometimes overnight); and we give pain medication both before and after surgery. This may make us more expensive than the discounted, subsidized facilities, but it does give our clients and our team peace of mind that the pet has been given every opportunity to have an uneventful , comfortable, and successful surgery.
I had my new puppy neutered recently and was amazed at his recovery and how pain free he was. I hope this is the only surgery he will have to undergo in his lifetime and I was comforted before surgery to know that his lab work indicated that he was as healthy on the inside as he appeared to be on the outside. If you haven’t seen your veterinarian’s surgical suites, don’t be afraid to ask for a tour. I think you will be impressed at the precautions most hospitals take when they are performing surgery with your precious family member. Medicine doesn’t come with the typical warranty like a product does but there are ways to minimize risk and protect your “ investment”.