Common Questions about IHA’s Spay and Neuter Clinic

Why are your surgery costs so much less than a regular veterinarian?

Our primary focus is to perform spay/neuter surgeries as a means to address the animal overpopulation crisis and end euthanasia of healthy adoptable animals. This targeted approach has many advantages that help minimize our costs.

Some of these advantages are:

  • Our equipment is basic and limited to only what we need to perform these routine surgeries.
  • We keep just the necessary medical supplies on hand eliminating the cost of excessive drugs and provisions.
  • We have a firm routine that we adhere to which enables our clinic to perform 30-45 surgeries per day. This efficiency allows us to keep our average surgery cost at a minimum.
  • As a non-profit organization, we are eligible to apply for grants that can help subsidize the cost of surgical services.

Do you hire real veterinarians?

Yes. The veterinarians that perform surgery at our clinic are licensed Doctors of Veterinary Medicine and are paid for their services.

Do you use gas anesthesia?

Yes. All patients are fitted with a mask or intubated and then placed on a gas anesthesia machine with oxygen and isoflurane.

Is surgery safe?

Yes. There is no more or less of a risk than at a full-service veterinarian. IHA’s mortality rate is 00.03% which is comparable to or less than a full-service veterinary clinic. We are spay and neuter experts and some benefits of choosing our clinic are:

  • Efficiency and speed of our veterinarian and support team

    • Extremely short prep/surgery time (cat average 4-10 minutes, dog average 10-20 minutes)
    • Less risk of contamination
    • Decrease in anesthetic risk
    • Less body heat lost
    • All of the above benefits reduce the chance of complications
  • Extremely familiar with what is normal during a routine surgery
    • Able to identify abnormalities or oddities quickly (hermaphrodites, unicornuate uterus, adhesions, ovarian remnants, or prior trauma)
    • Routinely perform cryptorchid surgeries (undescended testicle)
    • Able to identify if patient has already been spayed or neutered
    • Routinely perform pyometra surgeries (fatal infection of the uterus)
  • Your pet is monitored constantly. Each team member has a specific task during the surgery process and that is the only task they perform, focusing their attention on your pet.
  • A pre-surgical exam is performed on your pet to inform our veterinarian of:
    • Any concerns that need to be relayed to you before surgery
    • Alert our veterinarian of any conditions that might require us to alter our drug protocol or surgical routine to accommodate your pet’s needs.
  • Your pet receives any necessary supportive care (IV catheter, fluids, antibiotic for secondary infections).
  • Your pet receives a small green tattoo identifying them as being spayed or neutered.
  • A community cat receives an ear tip.

Are your surgeries sterile?

Yes. An autoclaved instrument pack is used for each patient’s surgery. Our veterinarians wear sterile gloves for each surgical procedure. The patients are shaved and then prepared for surgery using a sterile technique.

What if my dog or cat is scared?

We take precautionary measures to ensure that your pet is comfortable and do all that we can to minimize their stress. We interact with numerous patients every day and realize that each one has their own personality. Some might be scared and may want to bite or scratch, others might just talk to their roommates all day, while some just relax and take in the change of scenery. Regardless of how your pet perceives their visit, we are prepared to meet their needs.

What if there is a problem once I get home?

We provide all pet parents with written aftercare instructions to review plus we have a post-surgical video for them to watch. If you have questions regarding your pet’s surgery, we have a phone number (319) 826-0201 for you to call. A team member will be happy to address any concerns you might have.

Why do you spay cats on their side?

Our veterinarians prefer to spay cats through an incision on the cat’s right side which is also referred to as a flank spay. The procedure has numerous benefits:

  • The incision doesn’t interfere if the cat is nursing kittens so she can be spayed before coming into heat again.
  • The incision site is extremely visible which allows an owner to check the site daily to insure proper healing.
  • Some clients report that their cat seems to be more comfortable after surgery and that they experience less pain.
  • There is less stress on the incision. Gravity naturally pulls the internal organs down upon a spay incision that has been performed on the belly. This is not a concern with a flank spay.

Should I have blood work done on my pet before surgery?

This is your decision. We do not require or offer blood work before surgery. We would highly recommend that blood work be performed if you have any concerns about your pet’s health, or if your animal is a senior pet. Your veterinarian can perform blood work and review the results with you. These results can be faxed to our clinic so we have this information on hand when your pet arrives for surgery.