HSVMA and Spay Day USA

December 9, 2008

Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association (HSVMA) is encouraging veterinary professionals to participate in Spay Day USA, an annual campaign of The Humane Society of the United States, held on Feb. 24, 2009. This event, which has been going strong for 15 years, encourages pet owners to spay or neuter their cats and dogs in an effort to control animal overpopulation in the United States.

Vet prepping cats for neuter
Dr. Laurie Siperstein-Cook prepares to neuter cats as part of Spay Day USA 2005.

Veterinary professionals in particular have a unique and important role in the success of this campaign.

Aside from performing thousands of sterilization surgeries on Spay Day and throughout the month of February, they play a critical role in educating their clients and the public about the importance of sterilization and the health benefits this procedure provides to companion animals.

Approximately four million cats and dogs are euthanized every year—about one every eight seconds—in animal shelters across the United States.

If a disease were killing that many companion animals in our country, the veterinary community would be marshalling substantial resources to solve the problem and save animal lives.

In order to resolve the tragedy of overpopulation and euthanasia of companion animals, HSVMA wants veterinary professionals to take a leadership role by promoting sterilization. Spay Day USA presents a perfect opportunity to get involved and be a part of that solution.

Here are some ways that you can participate in Spay Day USA and maximize the benefits for your patients, the animals in your community and your practice:

  • Form or join a coalition of local veterinarians and hold a city, county or statewide Spay Day USA event.
  • Offer your existing clients—or new clients—a special discount on all spay/neuter surgeries performed during the month of February, the last week of February, or even just on Feb. 24, 2009 (Spay Day USA).
  • Contact your local animal shelter and volunteer to spay or neuter some adoptable animals at no charge. Ask the shelter to provide the animals' adopters with your business card for follow-up health care visits. (Visit Pets911 to find shelters near you.)
  • Open your clinic outside of business hours, and invite cat rescuers to bring in feral or stray cats to be sterilized at no charge or for a reduced fee.
  • Discuss the importance of sterilization with clients whose pets are not yet altered.
  • Promote early-age sterilization so that animals are altered before unplanned and unwanted litters are born.
  • Many communities and states pass a Spay Day resolution every year—support these legislative efforts.
  • Write an op-ed or letter to the editor of your local newspaper educating readers about Spay Day USA and the importance of pet sterilization. Animal caregivers respect the opinions of veterinarians, and your comments will have added weight in print.
  • Spread the word: Display a Spay Day poster or hand out brochures and other educational materials detailing the benefits of spaying and neutering in your waiting room.

E-newsletter feature Photo: Dr. Lilli Forbrich of Shenandoah Animal Clinic in Los Angeles, California, cuddles with a Spay Day USA 2006 participant. Photo credit: Michael Burke 2006.