What Questions should you be asking?
WHEN PRICE SHOPPING, ARE YOU REALLY COMPARING APPLES TO APPLES?
Who do you trust your pet's care to... do you have a relationship with your vet?
Questions Worth Considering
- What is included in your service fee? What will be extra?
- After researching your clinic of choice, would you feel right leaving your cherished pet in their hands?
- Have you met the doctor's? Do they help you to understand what treatments your pet will need to stay healthy?
- Have you had a tour of the hospital to see where surgery takes place and what monitoring equipment they have?
- Why are your fees higher or lower than another clinic ?
- Have you met the support staff that will be looking after your pet during their hospital stay?
- Are the staff monitoring your pet during surgery Registered Veterinary Technicians?
- Do you charge extra for IV fluids or pain medication for a spay or neuter ?
- What are your business hours? Are you open on weekends if I need care? How late are you open?
- Can you guarantee me a same day appointment when my pet is sick or injured ?
- Do you have an in-house lab station for quick blood work results in case of an emergency or does all blood work get sent to an outside lab?
- Do you take x-rays on film or by digital radiography for increased detail ?
- How many doctor's do you have on staff?
- How safe are the anesthetics you use ? How often do you have an anesthetic emergency?
- Do you perform any difficult surgeries like cystotomy's, cherry eye repair, orthopedic repair, FLUTD ( Unblocking cat with urinary crystals) ?
- Do you perform dental cleanings and dental surgery ? What kind of pain control do you use for dental extractions? Do you have digital dental x-rays ?
- How clean is the clinic ? Is there a smell when you walk in the door - good or bad ?
- Can I come in for a tour anytime I want?
- How often does the staff undergo training or continuing education?
- Do you have a Facebook page for important pet information at your hospital ?
- How will you protect my private information?
- Do you have a policy in place for Accessibility Compliance ?
- Do you offer nutritional counseling for my pet ?
- Does your clinic offer professional pet grooming?
- Can I have my pet's food delivered to my home or office? Do you have a WEBSTORE ?
- Does your clinic rescue ill or injured pets and once they are recovered offer them up for adoption ?
- Do you provide in home appointments?
- Do you offer micro-chipping ?
Not every business is the same. The surgical procedure might be the same, but the anesthetic time, surgical nursing care, skill level of the surgeon, and pain prevention methods can vastly differ from hospital to hospital! You as the owner need to feel comfortable in your decision for your pet's care.
We are always happy to answer any questions you may have, and invite you for a tour or to call us at 519-624-9760.
How do you monitor my pet during the anesthetic procedure?
Do you recommend pre-surgical blood work or IV fluids?
We highly recommend pre-surgical blood work to screen your pet's kidney and liver function, as these organs metabolize and filter medications/some anesthetics used.
If there are any abnormalities, we will inform you before proceeding. All patients will receive free fluids during a spay or neuter -- we feel no pet should do without, as it provides a direct access to their bloodstream should an emergency arise, allowing emergency medications to be administered right away. Fluids also help replace any fluid loss from fasting or blood loss during the procedure. Pets who have had IV fluids tend to wake up smoother and with less of a "hangover" type feeling.
We monitor blood pressure, temperature, pulse, mucous membrane colour, and respiratory rates, both with special equipment and manually with the trained eye of a Registered Veterinary Technician. Our trained technician will make sure your pet is at a safe and comfortable surgical plane throughout the procedure, so that they will feel no pain.
We have a veterinary surgeon dedicated to performing surgery and 2 designated veterinary nurses (RVT) monitoring, assisting, and charting all of these vital signs to make sure everything runs smoothly and safely. We offer exceptional patient care and boast an incredible anesthetic safety record because we choose to provide only Registered Veterinary Technicians to monitor your pet while they are under general anesthetic. Our doctor's have many years of experience performing surgery and continually update they skills through continuing education. We are happy to show you what monitoring equipment we have and how it works. We have also added safety devices to our anesthetic machines to provide extra safety when your pet is anesthetized.
In order to ensure no patient care is compromised, we always have a 3rd Registered Veterinary Technician, as well as an animal care aide, on-site to provide extra care and monitoring for those patients in recovery from their procedure. Your pet will be closely watched as they recover from surgery, and we will make a call to you with an update once their procedure is complete. If you would like, we can text or email you a photo of your pet while they are in recovery. Be sure to let the Registered Veterinary Technician know when you drop your pet off in the morning. We promise to treat your pet like one of our own, and comfort them as they are waking up. Be sure to leave us a contact number/email where you can be reached.
How and when do you provide pain management?
We like to prevent pain before it starts by administering a pre-operative combination of pain medications that will help provide a sedative effect. This assists in reducing your pet's anxiety, and reduces the amount/level of anesthetic required during the procedure.
Because not every patient is the same (age, breed, and species are important considerations), we will provide an anesthetic protocol based on your individual pet. After the chosen induction agent is given, your pet will be maintained at a comfortable surgical plane with oxygen and isoflurane (one of the safer inhalant anesthetics). We have our isoflurane vapourizers tested by Dispomed on an annual basis to make sure they are delivering the appropriate percentage of anesthetic.
At the end of the surgery, we will administer a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication called Metacam or Onsior, provided their blood pressure is normal. We will send each patient home with some oral medication (NSAID = anti-inflammatory/ pain reliever) for a few days or so, to ensure your pet remains comfortable at home. Often they feel so good it is hard to keep them quiet!
Our hospital feels very strongly that animals should not feel pain following a surgical procedure. If at any time you are worried during their recovery at home, please call us immediately at 519-624-9760. We may extend the oral pain medication for a few extra days, and will be happy to assess their surgical incision to give you peace of mind. Pets feel pain just like we do, and no pet should have to suffer unnecessarily.
Will my pet stay overnight after surgery?
This will depend on what surgery was completed. For example, spays, and any cats having a declawing procedure, will stay overnight (declawing patients will stay for 2 nights).
Often after an anesthetic, your pet will be groggy and can benefit from the cage rest they will receive. If we feel your pet needs overnight monitoring, or if you would prefer they have that, your pet can be transferred to the emergency veterinary clinic (for additional fees). In most cases for elective procedures this is not required.
We are open late 7 days a week. Often, we will pop in to check in on our hospitalized patients after regular business hours. In the morning we will have the doctor assess their incision site and provide more pain medication. Follow-up care will be discussed with you during a discharge appointment.
Does my pet require antibiotics after a spay or neuter?
No, the procedure is performed on a healthy pet. The surgical room has been properly disinfected and the surgical instruments of each surgical pack have been previously cleaned with MetriZyme and verified by a steam strip indicator to be sterilized in our autoclave for sterility. Each month we run a sterilization test in our autoclave to verify the performance is 100%. This special indicator is evaluated at an outside lab. We maintain our equipment and can show you the test results.
Owners who prefer their pets to come home after a spay may do so by request, but we ask that the pet be brought back the next day for a quick assessment to ensure the pet is comfortable and the incision is healing nicely.
Is there anything additional you may do differently?
At Animal Hospital of Cambridge, we will keep your pet's body temperature up by keeping them warm during surgery, using a warm water circulating mat. We also do this after surgery with warm towels and snuggle-safe heating pucks.
We will make sure your pet's eyes are lubricated with eye gel multiple times during the procedure and during recovery, and we will trim your pet's nails at no extra charge!
A microchip is available for a small fee of $30, and we will register the microchip for you.
How many doctors and how many staff members do you have at your hospital?
Our staff consists of 10 full-time doctors, 10 receptionists, 13 veterinary technicians (nurses), and 5 animal care aides. If you prefer to see one vet in particular, you may request to do so!
The benefit to having a larger hospital is you can often have 3 or more medical opinions for the cost of one during your visit. The vets on staff have many years of experience, and we are able to provide extensive week & weekend hours to our clients -- and we will always fit you in! You and your pet are important to us, and we realize your pet may need to be seen at any time. Therefore, we are open 7 days a week until 9 PM !
After the Questions are Answered...
So, it comes down to trust. Cheaper is not always better when it comes to the care and safety of your pet. We hold ourselves to a high standard of pet care and will not waiver even if it means our overhead costs will be more. In March of 2015 we became an accredited AAHA hospital, meaning in addition to our regular CVO inspection - we had to pass AAHA by over 900 of their hospital standards. Patient care is our number one priority. The level of detail to our care and services, extensive hours of operation, and provision of verifiable trained and certified veterinary professionals may mean some of our fee's cost a little more but at Animal Hospital of Cambridge - we guarantee you get what you pay for.
Our staff annually attends Continuing Education Seminar's and Conference's in order to stay on top of the most current recommendations in pet care, so when you are calling around, be sure you are truly comparing apples to apples.
Additional questions? Please feel free to call us at 519-624-9760.