Dr. Kelly’s Surgical Unit is a low-cost veterinary practice. 

College life can be exciting yet challenging, especially when it comes to managing expenses. For students who own pets, there can be additional costs that can add up quickly. Thanks to inflation, the cost of essentials is going up — food, litter, toys, vet bills, literally everything. 

However, there are ways for college students to save on pet costs while still providing their furry friends with the care they need through several resources and preventative care.

First, there are affordable, low-cost veterinarians that will spay or neuter animals for up to half the cost of regular vets. The procedure doesn’t just save students from the cost of caring for a litter of kittens or puppies in the future, it also prevents very painful, potentially fatal reproductive organ diseases, such as pyometra (an infection of the uterus), ovarian neoplasia (ovarian tumors) and prostatitis (inflammation or infection of the prostate gland). 

“Spaying or neutering your pet is one of the most important things you can do for their health and wellness,” says Dr. Kelly Patriquin, DVM, co-owner of Dr. Kelly’s Surgical Unit, a low-cost veterinary practice based in the Valley. 

“Unfortunately, it’s the price of this procedure that deters people from having it done. With a little research, pet parents will find that there are practices or shelters that perform the surgery at a fraction of the cost.”

Keeping an animal’s mouth clean is another way to save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. Unfortunately, poor dental health doesn’t just cause bad breath. It can have damaging and costly effects on their overall health, such as tooth loss; gum disease; systemic inflammation; and infections that spread to the heart, liver and kidneys. 

“Treating periodontal disease can cost anywhere from $300 to $2,000 depending on the severity of the case and associated treatment,” says Doug Patriquin, co-owner of Dr. Kelly’s Surgical Unit. “Invest in a good toothbrush and toothpaste specifically designed for pets, and make dental care a part of your regular routine. Regular brushing and yearly cleanings can save you big bucks in the long run.” 

Obesity can also lead to a range of health problems, including joint issues and diabetes, that can be costly. Setting aside time for regular exercise, such as walks or playing fetch, as well as monitoring food intake to make sure they’re getting the right nutrition without overeating, is extremely important. 

“Your dog may also enjoy socializing with other pups, so consider trips to the dog park, where they can run free,” Kelly says. “For cat owners, there are a ton of chase toys that will snap them out of nap mode and entice them to be more interactive.” 

Another way college students can save on pet costs is by getting the necessary vaccinations. Skipping out on a $30 vaccination could cost thousands down the road. Vaccinations are the most effective way to prevent a cat or dog from getting common infectious diseases. This applies to indoor pets, too — many contagious diseases are airborne or can stay in the environment for months. 

“If a dog contracts parvovirus, treatment can run an average of $800 to $2,000 or more per pet, depending upon severity. Alternatively, the DA2PPV dog vaccine, which includes protection against Parvovirus, is only $25,” Doug says. 

In addition to vaccinations, protecting pets from parasites is also vital to saving money down the road. Parasites can infect an animal any time of year. External parasites such as fleas and ticks might be less of a problem during some seasons, but internal parasites can be present year-round and have serious consequences. If a dog contracts heartworm disease, the owner may end up paying $1,000 or more to treat it. And if a cat contracts it, the price tag will be much higher dealing with the associated health complications for the rest of their life. 

The key is to be proactive about preventative care, such as dental care and vaccinations, and to take advantage of low-cost services. With a little bit of effort and care, college students can provide their pets with the best life possible while staying within their budget.


Dr. Kelly’s Surgical Unit