an image taken during the Best Friends 2015 National Conference in Atlanta.

Low Cost Veterinary Services are the new Black.

Best Friends National Conference was in Atlanta this past week/ weekend. I have admired what they do for several years, both at the Sanctuary and in how they help during times of disasters like the rescue efforts during and after Hurricane Katrina.

I believe that dogs and cats need to be neutered. . . I help homeless pets when possible . . .I have foster dogs waiting for a home. . , so it does make me a bit disappointed when Best Friends and some of their rescue partners start blaming the problem of pet overpopulation on veterinarians.

Veterinarians always seem to get painted as “greedy bastards” and labeled as “in it for the money”. We are right up there with Bernie Madoff, OJ Simpson, and Tanya Harding and her pipe-wielding husband. Which is quite absurd, but it seems to have two origins- 800 petmeds and their TV commercials, and rescue organizations.

But, anyway, since the Best Friends National Conference was “semi-local” I wanted to attend and see what it was about. At one point it was announced that over 1400 people were registered and in attendance.

The sessions were divided up into tracks and covered the gamut- organizing a rescue group, working with volunteers, working with animal directly, outreach programs, fundraising, etc.
One session was about an organization that now operate two of the county shelters in the Atlanta area. Someone asked the presenter what they consider “low cost” as apparently another rescue organization were offering “low cost services” but they seemed really high, in the opinion of the person asking the question. The presenter answered but couldn’t really give her a dollar amount saying that ideally if you want to keep pets out of the shelter, by not having puppies and kittens, services should be free.
I realized then that everyone keeps talking about needing free or low cost veterinary care, but no actually knows what that is, and they also can’t recognize quality of care. They can only judge by the price. Veterinary medicine has become a commodity. 100 dollars? Is that low enough for ya? What about 50 dollars? Still no good? Free? is that better? Free it is. Drinks all around. Cheers!

During another session, a lady in the back of the room announced that her rescue just opened a “low cost” spay neuter clinic, a few weeks ago, in Thomasville, Ga. I know where that is- so I make a mental note to google them later.

They charge more for a “low cost cat neuter” than what I charge for a cat neuter. Let me say that again- you pay more for “low cost”, with fewer services, than you would at a traditional veterinary hospital. Is that low cost? Apparently, I am low cost without trying to be. I am “in it for the money” but in reverse. . .

I wonder how many local pet owners call them because “low cost” is in the name? Wouldn’t it benefit one’s pet more to build a relationship with a local veterinary hospital for ongoing care?
Is anyone thinking that far ahead? Apparently not.
I think it was Patrick Henry who said, “Give me low cost or give me death.” No? Something about liberty? I knew it was a mistake to take Coach Joe for US History class.

The other day, I had someone call asking about an ear crop on a Doberman puppy. The puppy belongs to a friend of theirs and lives several hours away. The person was calling around, just checking prices, as they were looking for a “low cost ear crop”.

I can only imagine what that looks like.