Spay/Neuter: More Important Than Ever

February is Spay/Neuter Awareness Month, which promotes the importance of spaying and neutering pets to decrease stray animal populations. According to the Humane Society of the United States, one un-spayed female dog and her offspring can produce more than 11,000 puppies per year. Likewise, one un-spayed female cat and her offspring can produce more than 60,000 kittens in their lifetime.

Dakin understands the importance of spaying/neutering and is a leader in Massachusetts in providing this surgery in large numbers. Since our Community Spay/Neuter Clinic opened its doors in 2009, we have performed surgery on over 122,000 animals. Our patients include pets who live with their families, shelter animals, family pets brought in through our Moms Fixed Free program, and many feral cats humanely trapped for spay/neuter surgery by Dakin’s all-volunteer Kitten Street Team, before being returned to their outdoor colonies, or adopted out to families.

Access to spay/neuter services is vital to any community to contain its pet population, and to work towards keeping companion animals where they belong; alongside their people, and living safely in their homes. This was one of the goals Dakin addressed by opening our Clinic. While many veterinary practices may face restrictions in the number of patients they can see, or not accept new patients, our Community Spay/Neuter Clinic is accessible to all. Its popularity usually results in a wait time of several weeks between booking the appointment, and the surgery date, so it is advisable to plan ahead and book surgery as soon as possible, even if pets are currently underage or underweight for the surgery, as they will likely mature in time for the procedure.

In addition to producing unwanted litters that families cannot manage, un-spayed or un-neutered pets face certain health risks including cancers that can strike reproductive organs, pyometra (when a female dog has an infected uterus and needs urgent care), and dystocia, an emergency when dogs or cats can’t expel newborns through the birth canal from the uterus.

More and more animals face rehoming and are entering shelters across the country. Some shelters, especially in the southern states where access to spay/neuter services can be very limited, are overwhelmed with homeless pets. Dakin’s Spay/Neuter Clinic is fortunate to have the support of two significant organizations as we help those in our community.

The Massachusetts Animal Coalition (MAC) directs proceeds from the sale of its “I’m Animal Friendly” license plates to a program that supports statewide spay/neuter efforts for cats, dogs, and rabbits, while the Massachusetts Animal Fund offers free spay/neuter/vaccine resources to dogs and cats in need in our state. You can support their efforts by donating the amount of your choosing on Line 33f on the Massachusetts resident income tax form.

We are grateful to both organizations, plus the private foundations and individuals who support our Spay/Neuter Clinic. We also hope that the importance of curbing pet overpopulation is felt and understood not just during Spay/Neuter Awareness Month, but all year round.

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