Community Spay / Neuter Clinic

Everything You Need to Know About the Dakin Community Spay/Neuter Clinic

ABOUT MY PET’S SURGERY

DO I NEED TO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT TO HAVE MY PET SPAYED OR NEUTERED?
Yes! Call 413-781-4019 to make an appointment! Office hours are Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Due to the high demand for our services our phones lines may be busy. Please leave a message and we will return your call as soon as possible.

WHEN IS SURGERY PERFORMED?
Surgery is performed Monday–Friday, and pets are dropped off at 8:00 a.m. Depending on the type of appointment scheduled, pick up is either 3 p.m. the same day or 9 a.m. the next morning- when you schedule your pet’s appointment, we will tell you what time you’ll be picking up your pet to take him/her home. Please read our pre-operative instructions carefully.

WHERE IS SURGERY PERFORMED?
We are located at 171 Union St., Springfield, Massachusetts. We are in the same building as Dakin’s Springfield Adoption Center- we have a separate entrance on the left side of the building. This building was formerly the MSPCA/Angell West/Rowley building, prior to the MSPCA’s Western Massachusetts closing in the spring of 2009.

IS THE SURGERY SAFE?
Yes, the clinic specializes in spay-neuter surgeries. We use modern equipment and quality materials and medicines. Your pet will be examined by our veterinarian before surgery and closely monitored during all steps of surgery and recovery.

Keep in mind that any time an animal is put under anesthesia there is a slight risk, just the same as with a person. If your pet shows signs of illness, or the veterinarian discovers any issues during the exam, we will not perform the surgery and will refer you to a private veterinarian who has access to more diagnostic tools.

We strongly recommend that your pet be current on vaccines before s/he comes to the clinic for surgery. Furthermore, it is your responsibility to follow the pre-operative and post-operative instructions to ensure your pet’s safety during surgery and quick recovery.

DO I TAKE AWAY FOOD & WATER?
Yes, if your pet is over 4 months of age, you must take food away from your pet at midnight the night before surgery. They may have water. If your pet is 4 months of age or younger, please offer a small meal at 6:00 a.m. on surgery day. They may have water. Read all pre-operative instructions here.

WILL MY PET RECEIVE PAIN MEDICATION?
All patients receive an injection of a pain medication. DO NOT give your pet any people medicines such as aspirin or Tylenol for pain – these drugs are toxic to pets.

HOW YOUNG OR OLD CAN MY PET BE AND HAVE SURGERY?
Puppies and kittens should be a minimum of 8 weeks and 2 pounds. The young animals have very small incisions and recover so quickly! We recommend that your puppy or kitten have shots (vaccinations) before coming to the clinic to be spayed or neutered.

No pet is too old to be sterilized. If your pet is over 8 years of age, we will perform surgery but will require a signed consent form. We strongly recommend that you take your pet over 8 years of age to a full service veterinarian to have blood tests done before surgery; this will tell us that his/her liver and kidneys are working properly. Please call us at 413-781-4019 for more information.

WHAT IF MY FEMALE PET JUST HAD BABIES?
Female cats may become pregnant again while they are still nursing kittens. If you are 100% sure that you can keep her indoors only AND away from all intact males, wait until her kittens have stopped nursing for 2 weeks before bringing mom in for surgery. If there is any chance that she may be around intact male cats, or if she may go outdoors, then we should spay mom when her kittens are 6 weeks of age. There is no extra charge if she is still nursing kittens.

Female dogs: Your female dog may be spayed 12 weeks after she has her puppies. She will not become pregnant again in this time. Dogs who still have milk present will be declined for surgery and rescheduled.

Please consider bringing the litter of pups or kittens to the clinic for surgery before placing them in new homes. Call us at 413-781-4019 for information about discounts available for a litter of puppies or kittens!

WHAT IF MY FEMALE PET IS PREGNANT OR IN HEAT?
Female cats: We will perform the surgery for a pregnant cat, or cat in heat, at no extra charge.

Female dogs: Your dog must have finished her last heat at least 8 weeks before her surgery date. Dogs in heat at your appointment will be declined for surgery and rescheduled. Pregnant dogs can be spayed- call for more information.

WHAT VACCINES ARE REQUIRED?
Rabies is the only vaccination that is required. Massachusetts law requires that all dogs and cats have a current vaccination for rabies. If your pet already has a current rabies vaccine, bring a certificate or veterinarian’s receipt with you to your pet’s appointment as proof of vaccination (a rabies tag is not proof of vaccination). If you do not bring proof of current rabies vaccination with you to check in, to comply with state law, we will administer a rabies vaccination to your pet for an additional charge of $10.

Veterinary experts also recommend distemper/parvo vaccines (DHLPP) for all dogs/puppies, and distemper/upper respiratory vaccines (FVRCP) for all cats/kittens. We offer these vaccinations at the time of surgery for $10.

However, our veterinarians recommend that your pet be current for their vaccines (DHLPP for dogs; FVRCP for cats) at least 2 weeks before coming for surgery. There is a chance that your pet will be exposed to diseases while at the clinic—just like when your kids go to school in the fall and pass colds around. While we maintain a very strict cleaning protocol but the risk is present, especially for pets who are not properly vaccinated before their surgery appointment.

Consult with your own veterinarian for further advice about these vaccines and other health care recommended for your pet’s lifestyle.

WHEN SHOULD MY PUPPY OR KITTEN BE VACCINATED?
In general, vaccines should begin at 6-8 weeks of age and be given every 2-4 weeks thereafter until the puppy or kitten is 16 weeks old. We strongly recommend that your puppy or kitten have vaccines 2-3 weeks before coming in for surgery. Consult with your own veterinarian for further advice about these vaccines and other health care recommended for your pet’s lifestyle. We are not a full service veterinary hospital and cannot recommend a vaccination schedule appropriate for your pet.


ABOUT THE COMMUNITY SPAY/NEUTER CLINIC

CAN I BRING MY PET IN FOR ANNUAL VACCINES/BOOSTER VACCINES/EAR INFECTIONS/ETC?
No. We offer vaccines and care ONLY at the time of surgery; we are not a wellness clinic. For the ongoing health of your pet, you should have a relationship with a private practice veterinarian.

DOES THE CLINIC ACCEPT FERAL CATS?
Yes. The Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society supports the “trap-neuter-return” (TNR) approach to dealing humanely with wild cats who are not adoptable. Learn more about TNR and feral cats.

HOW CAN THE CLINIC KEEP PRICES SO LOW?
Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society is a non-profit organization, and we work hard at raising donations and applying for grants to help subsidize the true, higher cost of spay/neuter procedures. Since we offer only spay/neuter surgeries and limited vaccines, our surgical process is streamlined and efficient. Also, we do not need to carry other equipment, medicines or staffing that a full-service veterinary clinic would require.

WHO DOES THE CLINIC SERVE?
The Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society’s Community Spay/Neuter Clinic serves people who live with pet animals, feral/stray cat caretakers, animal shelters, animal control officers, and rescue groups. There are no residency or income requirements.

WHAT IF I CAN’T AFFORD THE SURGERY?
The cost to have your pet spayed/neutered is a one-time cost that is much less expensive than the cost to have and care for a litter or litters. Plus, the health and behavioral benefits to your pet will save on veterinary bills and training fees. If you have a cat or a pit bull, call us- we may have special funding available to help, if you can’t afford our regular low fees.

HOW CAN I HELP SUPPORT THE DAKIN PIONEER VALLEY HUMANE SOCIETY’S COMMUNITY SPAY/NEUTER CLINIC?
Learn more about how you can help.


JUST THE FACTS ON SPAY/NEUTER

WHAT DO “SPAY” AND “NEUTER” MEAN?
Female dogs and cats are spayed by removing their uterus and ovaries, and male dogs and cats are neutered by removing their testicles. In both cases, the operation is performed while the pet is under general anesthesia. “Fixing”, “altering” or “sterilizing” your pet are other terms for spaying/neutering.

ISN’T IT BETTER FOR MY PET TO HAVE ONE LITTER BEFORE I GET HER SPAYED?
No, that’s a myth! Medical evidence shows that female pets that are spayed before their first heat are typically healthier in the long run. Having your female pet spayed before her first heat cycle can decrease the incidence of breast cancer by 95%. Every time a female dog or cat goes through a heat cycle she is at an increased risk for breast cancer and uterine infections.

WHY SHOULD I SPAY OR NEUTER MY PET?
The #1 reason to spay/neuter your pet is that it saves animals’ lives. There are just too many pets born and not enough homes for them all. For every human baby born in the United States, 45 kittens and 15 puppies will be born.

The leading cause of death for cats and dogs in the United States is being put to sleep in animal shelters because there are too many of them. No disease comes close to killing as many animals as does sheer overpopulation.

Four million cats and dogs were euthanized (put to death) in animal shelters last year in the United States. More than 5,000 were euthanized right here in the Pioneer Valley. If we, as a community, want to change this, reducing the number of animals born is the only way.

In addition, spay/neuter offers benefits for both you and your pet!

Spay/neuter is good for you!

  • Spayed/neutered pets are more affectionate companions and exhibit fewer behavior problems, such as aggression, spraying urine in your home (urine marking), and embarrassing humping (sexual) behavior.
  • Spayed/neutered pets are less likely to roam, run away, and get into fights
  • Spaying female pets eliminates heat cycles and associated nuisance behaviors, including bleeding, incessant crying, anxiety and attracting stray male pets.
  • Spaying/neutering can prevent fights between pets. Fights between pets can be serious, causing deep wounds and transmitting deadly diseases.
  • Spay/neuter can reduce your veterinary bills! If your female pet cannot birth her kittens or puppies, you face an emergency visit to the veterinary hospital for a C-section, which may cost $1,000 or more (small/toy breed dogs are especially likely to need a C-section). See below for other ways you pet’s health is improved by spay/neuter (which helps your bank account, by saving vet bills)!

Spay/neuter is good for your pet:

  • Spayed female pets have a lower risk of breast cancer, especially when spayed before their first heat. Breast cancer in pets is 90% fatal in cats and 50% fatal in dogs. The risk of life-threatening uterine infections is eliminated, as well as the risk of uterine and ovarian cancer.
  • Neutered male pets have no risk of testicular cancer, and a much lower risk of prostate disease, rectal cancer, and perineal hernias.
  • Neutered male pets are much less likely to fight with other males and be injured. In addition to the obvious injuries, fights are also dangerous because it puts your pet at high risk for getting diseases from the animals they are fighting with.

ISN’T MY PET TOO YOUNG?
If you have a new puppy or kitten, don’t wait! Pets can become parents sooner than you think. Spay/neuter is safe for any pet that is 8 weeks or older, 2 pounds or more, and healthy.

WILL MY DOG STILL BE PROTECTIVE/A GOOD WATCHDOG?
Yes. Spaying or neutering does not affect a dog’s natural instinct to protect home and family. A dog’s temperament is formed more by genetics and environment than by sex hormones.

WILL MY PET GET FAT AND LAZY IF SHE/HE IS SPAYED/NEUTERED?
No, that’s a myth. Just like people, pets become overweight when they eat too much and exercise too little. An appropriate diet and sufficient activity will keep your pet fit and healthy.

I KNOW I CAN FIND GOOD HOMES FOR ALL THE PUPPIES/KITTENS – ESPECIALLY IF THEY’RE PUREBREDS – SO WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?

Eight million dogs and cats await adoption in shelters across the country. About half will be euthanized because there simply aren’t enough homes. At least 25% of all shelter animals are purebreds.

MY DOG/CAT IS SO SPECIAL! DOESN’T IT MAKE SENSE TO WANT A PUPPY/KITTEN JUST LIKE HER?
A dog or cat may be a great pet and family member, but that doesn’t mean his/her offspring will be a carbon copy! Professional animal breeders who follow generations of bloodlines can’t guarantee they will get just what they want out of a particular litter. An amateur breeder’s chances are even slimmer. In fact, an entire litter of puppies or kittens might get all of a pet’s (and/or her mate’s) worst characteristics!

ISN’T IT A GOOD IDEA FOR MY CHILDREN TO EXPERIENCE THE “MIRACLE OF BIRTH?”
By allowing your pet to give birth, you are contributing to pet overpopulation. Your kids are unlikely to see the birth (it generally happens at night and in a secluded location). A better lesson for your children is that animals’ lives are important and valued. A great way to have your kids experience having baby pets around the house is to foster babies- or a mom and her babies- who are already homeless and at one of Dakin’s Adoption Centers! Saving lives by fostering is a great way to teach your kids about responsibility- and that saving pets’ lives is important to you as a family.

WHAT IF I CAN’T AFFORD THE SURGERY?
The cost to have your pet spayed/neutered is a one-time cost that is much less expensive than the cost to have and care for a litter or litters. Plus, the health and behavioral benefits to your pet will save on veterinary bills and training fees. If you have a cat or a pit bull, call us- we may have special funding available to help, if you can’t afford our regular low fees.