ASPCA Endorses New Guidelines For High Quality, High Volume Spay-Neuter Programs

January 8, 2009

NEW YORK, January 8, 2009—NEW YORK--The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today announced its endorsement of The Association of Shelter Veterinarians’ (ASV) Veterinary Medical Care Guidelines for Spay-Neuter Programs, a milestone in the animal welfare industry.

A task force of 22 veterinarians, representing academia, private practice, and all models of spay-neuter programs, was convened by ASV to create guidelines for various aspects of high quality, high volume spay-neuter programs and set the bar for spay-neuter programs nationwide.

“The ASPCA encourages both pediatric spay-neuter and pre-adoption sterilization of shelter animals,” said ASPCA President & CEO Ed Sayres.  “Therefore, we endorse the guidelines document as a means to ensure the welfare of individual animals when they undergo sterilization procedures, regardless of where such surgeries occur.  We also strive to educate communities regarding the many public benefits of spay-neuter for cats and dogs.”

The guidelines, first published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA; July 1, 2008; Vol. 233; No. 1), discuss standardization of animal care regardless of where sterilization occurs, for example, in mobile units, stationary clinics, humane societies, or via MASH programs.  They include information regarding patient selection, pain management, surgical procedures, anesthetic monitoring, record keeping, and identification of sterilized animals, and provide a much needed reference for state boards of veterinary medicine. 

“The existence and diversity of numerous high volume spay-neuter programs created a need for guidelines that addressed appropriate veterinary care for patients.” said Dr. Kathleen Makolinski, the ASPCA’s Director of Veterinary Outreach who is part of the task force. “By drafting these guidelines, the task force was able to make practical recommendations that are attainable by all programs.”

The Association of Shelter Veterinarians convened the task force with funding provided by the ASPCA and PetSmart Charities in order to advance high quality, high volume spay-neuter with the ultimate goal of reducing the number of unwanted animals that are euthanized in U.S. shelters each year.