DeDe Protests the Protesters!

Oh Dog! It’s Sunday, and it’s time for another visit with me- DeDe!

So did ya ever wonder why there aren’t more low-cost spay/neuter programs available for persons with lower incomes? Well you might want to blame your vet!

It seems that earlier this year, veterinarians protested at a low-cost spay/neuter clinic in Hattiesburg, Mississippi to complain that the low-cost program was hurting their business.

The article reports that, according to a study conducted by Brakke Consulting, veterinarians are most concerned about the competition from low-cost programs in their area.  

So ya thought your vet was all about making sure your pet is healthy? Maybe it’s all about the Benjamins after all. 

We found this article while researching low-cost spay/neuter programs. Ya see, Rumpy’s birthday is next month, and we’d like to do something special for the day.  Jen was researching programs that promote spay/neuter services and ran across this article.

It reminded Jen of when we were in Murfreesboro and it came time for shots. It was a requirement that dogs and cats have an annual rabies shot by law, but there was NO clinic in town that would give that shot without charging for a clinic visit- which ranged from $65 to $200.  But the local Humane Clinic gave shots only, and even told Jen that she should not give June Buggie a distemper shot. They said that shot wasn’t needed every year, and at 15 years, he had plenty of the vaccine built up in his system.  Compare that with our vet’s office that wanted to give Buggie those shots and more.  

So…. do YOU think low-cost spay/neuter and other veterinary services should be provided in YOUR community?  Or should that only be provided by vet clinics in your area?

from Marion, IN County Humane website

73 thoughts on “DeDe Protests the Protesters!

    1. Goose, down where we live now, there is alot of poverty. And there’s alot of dogs and cats. One thing I haven’t found yet is a low-cost spay/neuter program.

  1. At a time when people are having to give up pets because of loss of jobs, etc… There should be no question that low cost spay/neuter clinch should be around! Several of the shelters Herrera offer them & low cost clinics & shots throughout the year! Pet food banks are even poping up in an attempt to keep pets with their families! Shame on those vets! Thank goodness that one clinic told you to stop shots for June Buggie- a friend of ours paid the $ for the blood work on her 14 yr old dog to prove that she did not need vaccinations they kept on insisting she needed! Good post today 🙂

      1. I guess what upset me most about this article was that in rural southern communities the need is great, and these vets should know that. This area is NOT like the Northeast where there are many more resources because there are so many people.

  2. We don’t have any low costs clinics here in Holland. It would be a good idea! As I just know too many people who can’t neuter or spay their cats/dogs because of the finance. (tho, it could be ignorance too).

    1. I think low-cost programs can address both problems. People may choose to spay/neuter if it doesn’t cost much, and can, in the process, be educated on why spay/neuter is so important!

  3. Our vets over here charge a fortune for this – they seem to be able to charge what they like for anything at all, even simple stuff. Great awareness post – thank you!

  4. Rumpy, as you know, we do a lot of work with Home For Good Dog Rescue in New Jersey. We offer free transportation to a low cost spay/neuter program in our area to EVERY adopter, regardless of income. The cost is $140, compared to $400-600 by people’s personal vets. Some of the vets try to discourage people from using this service, saying they can give “one on one” care and trying to make them think it’s not safe because it’s not as expensive. Adopters can drop their doggies off in the morning at our office and pick them up in the afternoon. They get pain meds, a cone and it is 1/3 the price! By the way, for people who do think they need “peace of mind” or have a high risk dog, the big fancy animal hospital will do a low-cost spay or neuter if you bring proof that your dog was adopted from a rescue. Hmmm……your vet will never tell you that either.

    1. If people choose to pay more, and can do so, then by all means, let them do so. But to deny people the choice is obscene, especially down here in the rural south where poverty is so widespread and the euthanization rates are so high.

  5. It depends where you live here – some areas have low cost or even free services run by charity – others you have to pay top prices at the vets.

    Injections is an interesting one – I think there is no need for every year – alternate years is a better option and is all that is needed but the vet would be keen to disagree usually as this is lost income for them – interesting that now I have a dog that tries to bite the vet we have a vet that agrees it is a waste of time to inject every year 🙂 (I’m not a bad owner – I have a rescue dog with problems which are getting better with lots of love and work but do still include going into attack mode at the vets.)

    1. I hear ya. I had a vet once that just gave Jen a certificate and a needle. Told her that as long as she made an effort, he felt that should be good enough for the local authorities. In our case, it was a feral cat that was pure evil.

  6. We use to have a clinic where I live in the UK it offered all services, to people on low incomes, which was great as the animals were cared for, if they needed it. They closed it down. The name VET is just a licence to print money over here. 😦 Have a happy Sunday xx00xx
    Mollie and Alfie

    1. Money it tight for many non-profits and charities. But if a charity has the funds, I don’t think they should be stopped by others who are afraid of the competition.

  7. Good for you DeDe speaking out on this issue….pets are important to people and without low-cost vet services, many people aren’t able to look after the pets they have, or acquire them in the first place….fortunately, here in our little town there are low-cost services available and the shelters give coupons for those adopting which direct them to those vets for free or practically free spaying and neutering.

    Kitty Hugs, Sammy (and his Mom)

  8. Obviously with pet overpopulation, it would be better for the community as a whole to have low cost spay/neuter available. I can understand the business side of it but I would think that the vets could learn to use it to their advantage. Vets, by vocally claiming such services you can bring in new customers. By not raising prices elsewhere or throwing in sneaky fees, you could keep those customers coming back for future services. Animal lovers, if you can find a good vet that offers low cost spay/neuter programs then support them by taking your pets there for all services instead of other vets who don’t.

    1. In our former vet clinic there were 4 vets. Two of the vets were wonderful and worked with me. One of the vets Jen did not like. He told Jen she needed to get bloodwork done for DeDe before we moved so the new vet could have recent information. This was August, and DeDe had just had bloodwork done in May.

  9. Well….very sadly we don’t trust vet…as we lost our precious brofur doggie long time ago because of their wrong diagnosis….we often wonder if there are any vets who really want to care for animals…..not for money….of course we have to go to vet regularly because of shots, tablets for filaria or etc…but still…we can’t see any trustable vet….. 😦

  10. Sadly we haven’t low cost clinics here – we can choose between expensive and very expensive… Most programs and help for people who haven’t enough money are sponsored or donated by private organisations.

  11. In our area, when you adopt from a shelter, the animal is either already neutered or if it’s too young, you pay an extra fee that is refunded when you send in a certificate of neutering. In fact the shelters are neutering at 16 weeks to ensure that the animal is neutered. There are low cost services available and our local pet store does a vaccination clinic once a year for dogs and cats with very reasonable shots ($15). We have a really good vet but she doesn’t make all that much money especially compared to other doctors and she needs to know the physiology of many different animals. I know she volunteers one day a week at one of the clinics. I am grateful that our area offers options. We also have a pet food bank for when people lose jobs and an animal emergency center (which is absolutely outrageously priced but when your pet gets really sick off hours, it’s a Godsend). Lots of animal lovers here.

    1. your community is very fortunate…. and I’m sure that vet who isn’t making much money is a driving force behind much of that… I hope people support her efforts by supporting her. I know I would support her before I would a vet that stood outside of a clinic and protested.

  12. There are numerous low-cost spay/neuter and shot clinics around the Denver (Colorado) metropolitan area. Some will even microchip your pet for a reasonable cost. There’s even a charity to help low-income families with veterinary bills and a food bank for pet food. There’s also a charity that will provide assistance taking care of pets for home-bound individuals (due to illness) so that they can keep their pets with them. Sounds like I live in a pretty pet-friendly community.

  13. There is nothing I can add here that hasn’t Already been said. i do think a low cost spay/.neuter program should be held everywhere. Vets make enough money on all their other things. If ever pet were splayed and neutered, we’d really cut down on the amount of animals wandering loose and having kittens and puppies.

    1. In all fairness, vets do have alot of overhead, especially if they own the clinic. But I don’t think that competing with low-cost services does them any favors.

  14. One of the Guardians works for an organization that provides low cost spay neuter. It’s really disheartening to hear that veterinarians were protesting low cost services. Do human doctors ever protest low cost human healthcare clinics?

  15. Apart from the shelters we don’t have low cost spaying/neutering places in UK as far as I know. That is why there are so many unwanted puppies and kittens, I reckon. People can’t afford it … and often can’t afford the pets either. There are so many abandoned, as I found out while doing research into my camapign nominated shelter.

  16. I believe ther should be low cost clinics on Long Island too!!!
    It would give our Over Priced Vets a chance to compete with for customers.
    Isnt that what capitolism is all about.
    We know Vets are supposed to Love animals, but they are also interested in making monet too.
    If we have Low Cost Clinics around that would give these our current Vets a chance to bring their price their price down.

  17. This is a little off subject, but the auction for Robyn and Mini is still open and I have your bid.
    I totally agree, that we need many more low cost spay and neuter clinics. The vets can make their money in other areas but the spay and neuter are so important to keeping many dogs out of the shelters.

    1. Thanks for letting me know. And I think especially for those who work with rescues, it’s so hard for a rescue to afford medical care for the animals that come in if vets don’t support them with free/reduced cost services.

  18. Of course there should be these programs DeDe. Our vet was recently taken over by a new owner who is all about ‘the money.’ Though I still see our wonderful vet who we have had for 19 years…the owner is changing the face of the vets. We are a small rural community here and they run it like a big city clinic with big city prices – if you are unlucky enough to have to see the owner for a consultation. Recently my kitty Jackie was very sick [lots of tests done – needed yes] but when I asked if I could pay them off I was told I had to have a credit check done and it cost ME $20 extra to do it. I have been going to this practice for nearly 20 years and have never not paid my bill. I was soooooo insulted at this.

  19. Low cost spay/neuter clinics are so necessary and need to be available for every pet parent across the US.For those pet parents that cannot afford neutering/spaying and vaccinating costs-these should be available for free.Low cost clinics combined with no-kill shelters would decrease the cat and dog population, pet abandonment and ensure for a more humane response to the over crowding today in shelters.Pet owners across the globe are becoming more socially conscious and those that cannot afford to vaccinate or spay/neuter would do so ,because cost is no longer an issue.Veterinary costs seem to be increasing especially for emergency veterinary care.Most pet insurance plans do not cover costs right away and one has to pay upfront-sometimes in the thousands or lose a furry companion because of a veterinary emergency.


  20. Low cost spay and neuter are so important! They need to be in every community and especially they need to be available for low income pet owners. In NYC they banned dogs from many public housing units because of problems. A much better solution would have been to provide residents with low cost or free vet services.

    urban hounds

    1. That is so sad. When we were in TN we lived a block away from public housing. There pets were allowed, but they had to be vaccinated and dogs kept on a leash.

  21. I think there is no question… low cost clinics are crucial. It’s all about the pet. If a pet owner cannot afford a spay/neuter, then they are not going to get it done. Same with vaccinations. And we all know what happens then.

    Also, the vet can be more proactive as well. I help with the “Heeling Hearts” program here in Albuquerque and we rescue dogs from the Grants Shelter and take them into the women’s prison to be socialized first and then trained. Then they’re adopted when ready. But all dogs, if not already done, will be either spayed or neutered. When we first started up the program, we were having to pay for the neuters and it was killing our funds. But over time, we have found programs and vets who would help out. We have one vet – a fully functioning vet clinic – who provides free spay/neuters for our program. I’m not positive, but I would believe there is some type of donation tax deduction which they can claim for the procedure. Additionally, it’s not uncommon to have a dog come through that had horribly broken their leg at one point and it healed without ever being set. Therefore the leg is just bad. This same vet has done several amputations and still no charge. LOL… it’s amazing watching the transformation of the “tri-pods” when they come home. We have to keep them here for a few days before taking them back to the prison because of the pain meds. But almost immediately they are up and bounding around happier than they were before the surgery – because the appendage that was causing them horrible pain is now gone. Sometimes we have to potty them on lead because if we don’t they’ll go racing around the yard and risk damaging the stitches.

    These low cost clinics and vets providing freebies is what has helps us keep the adoption fee down, which is $200 and is a tax deduction. We would have to charge double the amount then.

    If a vet wants to grab some of the business back, then perhaps a shot clinic on certain days of the week where an assistance or a tech does the shots – not the vet. If the customer wants to see the vet then they’ll have to pay for the office visit. But just the shots alone. The true cost of the shots are not that expensive – although I’m not sure about rabies. My housemate is a professional breeder and when she has a new litter, she is able to get a full rack of shots for the pups in order to save money (not rabies… too young and rabies have to be given by a vet or clinic). Full price on a whole litter would be so costly. I do not recall the price for the shots, but they’re not that bad. Charging $25 per critter for shots would be profitable.

    I understand the plight of the full priced vets, but they can be more proactive, which often brings in more full paying clients because of a trust and respect factor, and also write off some deductions.

    1. Again, I don’t for one minute blame ALL vets for this, but I think it’s important for us to know that there are a significant number of vets out there that DO think this way. Then we can choose to work with a vet that DOES go above and beyond, which in turn helps support them so they can afford to give the freebies and discounts to the rescues and shelters.

  22. Pet owners generally want to be responsible but when vets make the cost of neutering and other costs too high it rebounds on the animal or it means that loving families cannot afford to have a pet which is very sad.

    1. And I understand that there are some pet owners out there that want something for nothing. It works both ways. When it comes to care for the animals here, Jen talks the vet about what is needed and why, and what she can realistically afford. Such an open discussion works well. But when a vet starts talking about stuff needed that aren’t really needed, that pisses Jen off. She ain’t stupid, ya know.

  23. Vets are just people… Some are wise, some are not. Some are greedy, some are not. Some think of others, some do not… Just people.
    It’s sad when anyone puts dollars before people/animals/love…. etc..
    Sad but true…!
    The best that we can do is to safeguard ourselves (and our loved ones) from the unscrupulous ones, and stick with the good guys… 🙂
    Great post, Rumpy… I’m sure Jen knows best what to do…

  24. In our area, if you adopt from the Humane Society, you must spay or neuter and its at a much reduced cost, I think around $50-75. I haven’t looked into low cost shots because I think all pets should have an annual exam.

    1. That’s a noble thought, but not everyone sees animals the way you and I do. A work dog or barn cat needs to be spayed or neutered and may never see a vet otherwise, even for vaccinations.

  25. Without the low cost clinics there would be far less neutering and spaying going on than there is now. We have them here, our local Humane Society has low cost shot and spay and neuter services several times a year. Hugs and nose kisses

  26. Oh dear. That is terrible. If spaying/neutering weren’t so expensive, perhaps people would be more willing to adopt cats and dogs and less would that to be put down. This is a worthy cause and it’s good you guys are talking about it

  27. With all of the other services veterinarians provide to clients I cannot see why they are so unwilling to give up one type of surgery for the greater good. It disgusts me. Some of them have even been known to file bogus veterinary board complaints in an attempt to shut down a low cost clinic.

  28. I think there should be low cost clinics, for vaccines as well as for desexing. I would still go to my vet, but for those who are struggling financially there should be some way for them to get treatment of their pets. My Dr. does not insist on any vaccines except for the Rabies. 🙂

  29. Great post! I think we have low cost clinics in our area, Michigan Humane Society. I am thinking about not vaccinating my older dog for that reason too, they have those immunities built up in their systems so I might do a titer to see where their at and for go the vaccines.

  30. Thanks for the share, once rescued a dog, was told by vet he would spay her for 1/3 of what he tried to charge once the operation was done. I paid the third and reminded them of their commitment to rescued animals. I only had the third anyway so it wouldn’t have mattered. I couldn’t have paid what he asked in any case. But it was the principle that upset me. Don’t commit to helping if you don’t mean it and don’t pretend benevolence if you are secretly hinky about giving. Sigh. Double standards everywhere. Good post.

  31. I guess we’re lucky in NY. The Toby Project was founded by a vet and it’s whole purpose is to go into the poorer neighborhoods and spay and neuter dogs. This is done at no cost or very low cost.

  32. I haven’t looked into it here in my area because all my animals are older and all are fixed. My two cats are from Singapore, I adopted them from a pet store which is different in Singapore they were both from a shelter, both kittens and both had certificates to be fixed when they were old enough. It was a free service as part of the cost of their adoption.

    Singapore is very good that way.

  33. DeDe it might surprise you to know that I whole heartily agree that cheaper neutering is a good idea! Here the pet shops are also part of the problem in respect that they buy and sell pups and kittens making them a commodity that helps make the (here it comes) back street breeding profitable……

    In the UK there are organisations that help towards neutering and many rescues will the ones they re-home if not already neutered but unless you are on certain bennifits you get no help at all. Thats something I wish they would look at … if it was means tested regardless of bennifits the people who are really broke but working could still get help.

    When all is said and done vets are a business…. now with a lot of animals being insured the prices have got silly though neutering is still under a £100 for a cat dogs are charged by weight and even the lightest female is £100 and something Slurps size is £250 which is a lot of money for a ten min op…..

    Ok tyime to shut up and hope your all settled and Jen is well? x

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