Following the successful implementation of a veterinary training program to introduce high-quality surgery and best practices in Bolivia (see Strengthening veterinary capacity in Latin America), HSI developed a low-cost spay/neuter program that offers both affordable and accessible services to dog and cat owners.
Making the case for low-cost services
Initially, the request for low-cost services is met with incredulity. Many veterinarians have difficulty accepting that high quality and low cost can, in fact, coexist. This is only possible, however, if veterinarians have experience in performing minimally invasive spay/neuter surgeries.
Once veterinarians have the knowledge and the skills to perform safe, high-quality spay/neuter, the cost of the supplies used and the amount of pharmaceuticals utilized, during anesthesia for example, will decrease, enabling professionals to charge less for the surgery and still cover costs.
The HSI spay/neuter program in Bolivia follows that concept. Veterinarians and technicians were trained in high-quality, minimally invasive surgery, reducing surgery time and cutting costs while new methods of working as a team were introduced to increase efficiency and maintain safety and care throughout the process.
As a result, animals fare better during and after surgery, and their recovery is faster and pain-free. Clients accessing our services notice the difference and recommend our veterinarians to other pet owners/carers. Our program has grown due to word of mouth which is a good indication that people are satisfied with the quality and results of our team’s work.
Veterinary services, like every other service, have associated costs. Respecting those costs allows us to help elevate the veterinary profession and increase the demand for these services. Dog and cat owners do not expect these services to be free of charge, but many are unable to pay the costs charged by some veterinarians and, as a result, forego services needed for the well-being of their pets.
Helping veterinarians deliver quality services at an affordable price while still covering costs paves the road to more sustainable, ongoing programs.