Archived News


February 27, 2006

SpaySpayThe UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine joined the Sacramento Area Animal Coalition in its volunteer effort to perform 1,000 low-cost spay and neuter procedures in connection with Spay Day on Sunday, February 26, 2006.

Nearly 300 veterinary school volunteers spayed or neutered about 120 large, medium and small dogs in a single day.

These spay and neuter procedures, intended to prevent overpopulation and abandonment of cats and dogs, were available by appointment to households with an annual income of less than $35,000.

The $20 fee for dogs covered the spay-neuter surgeries as well as identifying microchips with lifetime registration, vaccinations, and flea-and-tick treatments. Coalition officials estimate that the package of services normally costs more than $200 per animal, but in-kind donations from sponsors kept costs as low as possible.

More than 20 veterinary clinics throughout Sacramento, Yolo and Placer counties provided these services. Up to 750 animals were spayed or neutered on Sunday, with 250 more surgeries to be completed  in upcoming weeks through a voucher system.

Each year, up to 25,000 unwanted cats and dogs are killed in the Sacramento region because they do not have homes.

What happens at the School of Veterinary Medicine?

At the School of Veterinary Medicine, procedures took place in the Veterinary Medicine Laboratory Facility, a state-of-the-art surgical complex for teaching essential surgical skills to veterinarians. The surgeries were performed by qualified veterinary faculty and students. Other staff and students volunteered in non-clinical support roles. To assure continuity of care, veterinary student guardians accompanied pets throughout the process of examination, surgery and recovery.


Clients brought their pets to campus Saturday afternoon by appointment. Each animal received a thorough physical exam by a veterinarian and stayed the night in school kennels.

Sunday, animals received medications and anesthesia. Veterinarians performed the surgical procedures, assisted by experienced staff. The surgeries lasted from 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of the animals. Each dog also received vaccinations and identifying microchips before heading to the recovery room, where veterinary student guardians monitored the animals' recovery. Veterinary students assisted with medical tasks according to their level of training. Veterinarians examined the pets once more before discharge. Veterinary students provided home-care instructions to the caregivers and reunited the animals with their families.

The Veterinary Medicine Laboratory Facility at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine contains classrooms, kennels, a surgical suite that accommodates 28 surgeries at one time, and anesthesia and recovery areas. Here, third- and fourth-year students learn the essential techniques of surgery and other veterinary skills  by performing spay-neuter surgeries and other common healing procedures on animals. These animals return to local participating shelters as adoptable pets. The building, opened in Fall 2002, cost $16.4 million in state and private funds. The facility was used for Spay Day for the first time in February 2004.

SpayThe Sacramento Area Animal Coalition coordinates Spay Day locally with the following partners: the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, the Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights, the Sacramento Valley Veterinary Medical Association, the City of Sacramento, United Animal Nations, Animal Protection Institute, the Placer, Yolo and Sacramento Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Teaching Everyone Animals Matter, the California Veterinary Medical Association, Petco Foundation,, and A New Hope Animal Foundation. The common goal is to eliminate companion-animal overpopulation in the Sacramento area.

The local event is part of Spay Day USA, a national effort coordinated by the Doris Day Animal Foundation.

In addition to thanking all the volunteers and partners who contribute to this massive effort, Spay Day organizers at the School of Veterinary Medicine acknowledge companies that donated medical supplies specifically for use at the school: Schering-Plough for suture material and anesthetics, Abbott Laboratories for anesthetics, Fort Dodge Animal Health for vaccines, and Bayer for Advantage flea and tick medications.

Media contact: Lynn Narlesky, Dean's Office, (530) 752-5257