I Saved $75 – and my beloved pet never made it home from surgery

I Saved $75 – and my beloved pet never made it home from surgery.

Every day across the country animals go under sedation for a number of reasons – to get Spayed or Neutered, have a Dental procedure, get Lumps and Growths removed, have a Break or Fracture repaired, – the list is endless.  What isn’t endless however, is the number of pets that don’t come home from their surgical procedure.

While any type of anaesthesia can be a risk to your pet, it is often the monitoring or post-surgical care that results in a pets death – not the anaesthetic drug itself.

Too often, veterinary clinics that charge less for their surgeries can do so because they are operating on fewer staff or less medically trained staff than they should be.

There is often a large difference between Certified or Registered Veterinary Technicians than “regular “vet techs”. Technicians that are Registered or Certified have graduated from a recognized college or university program and have passed the gruelling medical exams at the end that gives the Registered or Certified designation. In addition they must also maintain on-going training in order to keep their status or it is revoked. Regular vet technicians on the other hand are often graduates who did not pass the Designation Exams, or are “home grown”. Home grown refers to staff who have learned all their skills on-the-job. While many of them are great at what they do, others have been taught by other less-skilled technicians and other staff members. Also, in many clinics high school and other co-op placement students are often over-used for monitoring patients under anaesthetic and recovering from surgery without direct and constant supervision by trained veterinary workers. It only takes a moment for a sedated pet to stop breathing, or to aspirate (choke on vomit coming back up from the stomach into the lungs), or to fall from a surgical table onto the concrete floor. When your pet is in the fine balance between “life and death” (under anaesthetic) who do you want watching your pet – fully trained technician, or a student that has never seen an emergency under sedation or who would have no clue that your pet has stopped breathing?

Too often this is what happens when clients are lulled into a false sense of security and don’t know why all the other vets wanted more money for the “same” surgery. The “same” is in the “behind-the-scenes” expenses which include an adequate number of skilled staff monitoring and assisting the procedure, proper lifesaving drugs and monitoring equipment.

Saving $75 or $100 at a less experienced clinic can cost you a lot more than the small amount you saved on the procedure itself. It can cost money in extra medication for infection, it can cost for different treatments for a misdiagnosed problem, it can cost going to a specialist or another veterinarian to repair a botched surgery or it can cost the life of your pet.

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