Why Best Practice can’t compete with Low Cost Vet Care
In these times when many budgets are tight it’s only natural to try and get the best price for anything we buy. Whether that be groceries, phone services, Clothing, Car repairs, Hairdressers, products, Insurance premiums or anything else – we all look to compare providers to make sure we get the best deal possible.
Getting the best deal on products of course is easy – especially if you can compare the item from one store with the price at another. Same product – different price. Why wouldn’t you buy from the store with the cheaper price. The products can be directly compared.
However – when it comes to “Services” – the comparison of a particular service offered by different service providers isn’t quite so clear. That’s because we now have some variables to consider.
Products vs Services – comparisons
Let’s take a mechanic for example. We all book our cars in for regular check ups and servicing because we don’t want them breaking down or causing accidents while we drive to work or drop the kids off at school. But do all mechanics charge the same amount for a Regular service? No they don’t. They might be similar or they could be substantially different. Does that mean you would always choose the cheapest?
Now you’re probably going to compare Value instead.
Some things you are likely to consider include:
- Is he / she a Good / experienced mechanic? Do they run a reputable business?
- What parts / services / tests are included in the cost? Do they use good quality parts?
- What are they going to be testing on my car? Have they got modern equipment to run those tests?
- What will they be replacing during a standard service? Oil filters? Oil? Windscreen / brake fluids?
- Do they offer some sort of after service guarantee?
- Will they update the service log?
- Will they give me an honest report of what things need to be done?
So – moving on to Veterinary Services, we’re in the same boat as the mechanics , the dentists, the electricians, the physiotherapists, the podiatrists, the hairdressers and all other businesses that make their money by providing services.
None of us work for free so labour costs will always be included. This means the differences in costs will be mostly due to all other things.
To show how costs can be lowered in a commonly compared service let’s use the Dog Spey procedure as an example
Our fee estimations for Dog desexing include:
- Pre-Anaesthetic blood tests – to check for any internal issues that could affect Anaesthesia safety
- Intravenous fluid therapy – to help maintain vital blood pressure and temperature throughout the procedure. Also helps them wake up more smoothly without feeling nauseous and dehydrated.
- Pre and post op pain medications
- Dedicated Anaesthetic assistant
- Sterile surgical kit (single use)
- Sterile Operating Theatre
- Pre-meds for gentle induction
- Gas Anaesthesia – (Safest)
- Sterile attire (gloves, gowns and masks)
- Anaesthesia monitoring equipment (Blood pressure, Oxygen, Breathing, pulse)
- Supervised recovery
- Follow up check and stitch removal
By removing items 1 and 2 alone – we have already reduced our fees by around $130.00
So where else can we save money?
- We can remove nurse supervision of your pet under Anaesthsia. (Save labour costs)
- We can buy cheaper Anaesthetic drugs. Save a few dollars.
- We can leave out pain relief medications included in the sedation beforehand. Save another few dollars.
- We can save on individually prepared sterile surgical instrument kits by sharing one kit among many patients or just disinfecting them instead. Save at least $20
- We can remove vital electronic monitoring of your pet which shows vital signs such a breathing rate, heart rate & blood pressure throughout the procedure
- We can remove the cost of vets wearing sterile gloves, masks and gowns which help minimise contamination of the open wound we create. Save another few dollars.
- We can save on pain medications by not giving any to send home with your dog after the procedure. Another few dollars
- We can use cheaper suture materials
- We can leave your dog to recover after the procedure without nurse supervision. Again save on labour costs.
The sad fact is that you – the pet owner doesn’t have a clue what happens behind the scenes.
None of what is listed above will be obvious to you when you pick up your dog after the procedure. You accept the fact your dog will be a little groggy and painful after the procedure – even when it doesn’t have to be that way.
You’re happy because you just got a good deal however – your dog pays the ultimate price through unnecessary suffering.
We are sorry if this all sounds a little harsh but there’s really no other way to get this point across. Too many times we hear people sing the praises of low cost providers saying how caring and compassionate they are simply because they are so cheap.
In our opinion – there’s nothing compassionate about cutting corners that directly impact the safety & welfare of the animal under veterinary care.
But what about Laws?
The only requirements for surgical procedures is that they are performed under Anaesthesia and in a clinic environment. The rest is optional and based on individual vet choices and how they want to position their practice in the marketplace.
Ultimately – the final choice is yours. You decide the level of care you want for your pet and what matters to you.
Just don’t expect those practices that invest in modern equipment, ongoing education for their employees and commit to providing to high standards of care for their patients to come in at the same prices as low cost centres.