The owner asked a lot of questions testing the patience of the vet.
"Does it mean that your quotation for a neuter of a 5-15-kg male dog of $200-$250 is proportional to the weight of the dog? If my dog weighs 5 kg, does it mean I pay $200?"
"No," I said. "The cost depends on the time taken and complications. The quotation is a guideline."
He asked other questions like whether the dog's behaviour will be quieter and lazier after neuter and whether it is possible to neuter without changing the dog's personality? This retiree must have done his research as there is the vasectomy which is equivalent to the traditional neuter in that the spermatic cords are cut off and the male dog is unable to make female dogs pregnant.
When he cancelled the appointment to neuter, I said it was OK. No questions asked. No hard pressure sales talk. Suddenly he appeared with the cross-bred inside a medium sized kennel. "I had to use a treat to coax him inside this kennel," the senior citizen said to me. I could see that the dog was nervous and so I did not take him out till later. The man drove a hard bargain including the e-collar.
I did the vasectomy with Dr Daniel on Jun 27, 2013. Vasectomy is rarely done in Singapore dogs and I had done only a handful of cases over the past 40 years of practice. So Dr Daniel was considered fortunate to get a case. "I had advised him to neuter by removal of the two testes," Dr Daniel had also spoken at length with this retiree the day before.
"Give what the client wants," I advised. "If he wants vasectomy, there must be reasons. It should be a quicker operation than the usual neuter.'
I was mistaken. For this big dog, I was the mentor and Dr Daniel was the operating surgeon. The location of the first spermatic cord was difficult to find. There was the artery next to it and this must not be cut. The large veins of 8 mm across were easy to see and must not be cut as the blood supply to the testes would be gone.
We got 1.5 cm of the spermatic cords ligated and cut off. The dog weighed 20 kg, not 5-15 kg but I did not hustle the retiree for an additional cost. The retiree had fixed the cost as $260 with the e-collar and medication and I let sleeping dogs lie. It was a learning experience for me as regards costing and I am sure Dr Daniel had benefitted from this rare type of surgery operating together with me. Over the years, I hope he would have honed his skills and be a top a veterinary surgeon of diverse surgeries in pets. Unlike human medicine, the surgeon may just specialise in one system such as the heart surgery but in vets, they are supposed to be able to operate on many systems.