National Spay Day USA, 2011
As happens every year in February, this year on February 22nd the East Bay SPCA and Bishop Ranch Veterinary Center & Urgent Care will be joining with animal welfare organizations across the country for Spay Day USA. Spay Day USA is a national campaign to promote spays and neuters as a simple, humane, and effective way to end the tragedy of euthanizing homeless pets. The goal of the EBSPCA this year is to spay and neuter 100 Pitt Bulls, Pit Mixes, and cats. In addition to the free surgeries, pets will be given free vaccinations, pain medications, and sent home with e-collars. The EBSPCA is performing this service at no charge for qualifying lower income pet owners from Alameda and Contra Costa Counties.
Last year the event was held at the Oakland Spay and Neuter facility where over 100 dogs and cats received free surgeries and together over the past four years, the EBSPCA and Bishop Ranch Veterinary Center & Urgent Care have spayed and neutered over 400 animals for free. This year, alongside the EBSPCA’s veterinarians and staff will be Dr. Kristi Peterson and her technician Katie McKenna from Bishop Ranch Veterinary Center & Urgent Care who are both helping to make this event possible.During Spay Day USA’s first 12 years, participants spayed or neutered an estimated 1,366,000 animals! When you consider that an unspayed cat can give birth to 18 kittens each year and an unspayed dog can give birth to 20 puppies each year, and that the average cost for shelters to handle each homeless animal is $176, it’s clear that Spay Day USA participants have, potentially, prevented millions of surplus births and saved millions of taxpayer dollars.
Sadly, thousands of dogs and cats are euthanized every year in our local shelters, and nationwide the estimates range as high as 10 million dogs and cats euthanized in the United States annually. Yes, that means 10 million pets were put to sleep last year, and again this year, and again next year, every year. It is really a number that is difficult to grasp.
Unless you have a pure-bred dog specifically intended for breeding, he or she should be neutered or spayed before they have a chance to reproduce. Dogs and cats enter puberty (yes, pets go through puberty just like their owners) when they are about 6 months old.
The spay or neuter surgery is an outpatient procedure, meaning a dog or cat comes in to the veterinary hospital for surgery and goes home several hours later. Most pets receive painkillers for a few days post-op at home, by which time they have generally returned to full activity level. The relative quickness and simplicity of the procedure, and the rapid recovery of most dogs and cats within a day or two, means there is no reason a healthy dog or cat, puppy or kitten, should not be spayed or neutered before they reach reproductive age.