High-Quality, High-Volume Spay/Neuter Surgery: Making a Difference For Homeless Pets

Tuesday, May 20, 2014
An effective way to fix the problem

veterinarian with catAnimal shelters across North America are faced with tough decisions when their facilities become overcrowded with homeless pets. An estimated 8 million cats and dogs enter U.S. shelters every year. Only half will go on to find their forever homes. 

Pet overpopulation can be directly attributed to the number of unaltered dogs and cats. As a veterinarian, I look at this information as an opportunity to “fix” the problem, literally.

In an effort to reduce the number of unwanted pets, animal welfare professionals are focusing their attention on the power of spay/neuter surgery. High-quality, high-volume spay/neuter (HQHVSN) clinics offer accessible and affordable services for pets who otherwise might not receive veterinary care.

The goal of HQHVSN is to end pet homelessness by targeting pets who are most likely to contribute to the overpopulation problem.


High-quality, high-volume spay/neuter clinics provide high-quality medical and surgical care for pets undergoing spay/neuter surgery. HQHVSN clinics are highly efficient and follow set protocols to maintain safety and standards.

Humane Alliance (HA), a national spay/neuter education center, provides specialized training in spay/neuter surgery to veterinarians, veterinary students and technical staff. The HA model focuses on efficient spay/neuter techniques and processes that enable clinics to perform a large number of safe, high-quality surgeries at low cost.

HQHVSN facilities can be stationary hospitals, or mobile surgical units designed for traveling to different parts of the community. Regardless of their location, these clinics deliver safe, high-quality services.

Why Is HQHVSN Important?

HQHVSN clinics play a vital role in saving pets’ lives. Thousands of cats and dogs enter shelters every day. Many of these pets are faced with uncertainties because space is limited or funds are sparse. Shelters are often forced to make difficult decisions when there is a lack of available resources. Euthanasia is a grim reality.

However, HQHVSN can help save pets’ lives. By preventing unwanted litters of cats and dogs, the number of pets entering shelters will decrease, and ultimately, so will the rate of euthanasia.

HQHVSN clinics target their efforts toward pets most likely to produce unwanted or unintentional litters. A focus of HQHVSN clinics is pets in low-income households that cannot afford routine veterinary care.

HQHVSN clinics not only provide lifesaving efforts, but they can also improve the quality of life for their patients. Spay/neuter surgery has been shown to eliminate the risk of certain cancers and significantly decrease the risk of others — for male and female pets, for cats and dogs, regardless of age. It has also been shown to lessen roaming activity, aggression and sexual behaviors that are undesirable.

Is HQHVSN Really High Quality?

High volume leads to high quality. In 2008, the Association of Shelter Veterinarians (ASV) published veterinary medical care guidelines for spay/neuter programs. They provide practical standards that promote high-quality medical and surgical practices for HQHVSN clinics.

A team of 22 veterinarians created the guidelines. These diverse medical professionals included board-certified anesthesiologists, internists, surgeons and shelter veterinarians. Their recommendations are well recognized for being based on published evidence and expert opinion.

In addition to the ASV guidelines, all HQHVSN clinics adhere to legal and professional requirements based upon individual state and veterinary practice laws. 

What Can You Do to Help?

You can help save pets’ lives by supporting HQHVSN clinics. Their success depends on dedicated individuals who recognize the importance and the lifesaving capacity of spay/neuter surgery.

  • The most important thing you can do is to have your own pets spayed or neutered. Find a HQHVSN clinic near you.
  • If you can give your time, consider volunteering.
  • Donate. PetSmart Charities has funded more than 2 million spay/neuter surgeries since 1994, preventing an estimated 7.5 million births. 



Thank you for visiting at our last 2 spay/neuter cilcins. It's been a joy having you there to capture images of our collective effort. Serena (volunteer in charge of intake and discharge)


Appreciate the recommendation. Will try it out.


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