Spay Day: Reducing Pet Overpopulation and Helping Area Pets
March 7, 2011
Seventy-five family dogs were spayed or neutered when Spay Day 2011 took place March 5 and 6 at the University of California School of Veterinary Medicine. The annual event helps low-income pet owners in Yolo and Sacramento counties protect their pets' health. The effort also relieves crowding in area animal shelters and reduces the number of animals that are euthanized because of pet overpopulation.
About 200 veterinary faculty, staff and students volunteered over the weekend, taking care of case histories, exams, anesthesia, surgery and post-operative recovery of dogs of all sizes. The animals arrived Saturday for an overnight stay on campus and went home with their owners Sunday afternoon. Breeds included chihuahas, terrier (pit bull) mixes, collies, dachshunds and others.
Faculty experts in anesthesia, surgery and general medicine examined the animals, performed procedures and conducted follow-up checkups. Staff members registered patients, prepared animals for surgery, readied the surgical suite and performed other technical and nursing tasks. Students escorted the pets as they received medications before surgery, assisted in the anesthesia and operating rooms, monitored recovery of the animals, and met with clients.
Each dog also received flea medication, vaccines if clients desired them for their pets, and a microchip with free registration.
A National Event
Spay Day takes place in communiities throughout the country and is coordinated locally by the Sacramento Area Animal Coalition, which arranged for about 700 spay-neuter appointments this year. UC Davis is one of 18 regional partners who donate spay and neuter services for this special day. The school's Spay Day effort took place at the Ira M. Gourley Clinical Teaching Center, where veterinary students learn basic clinical skills of anesthesia, surgery and patient management. Since 2004, veterinary faculty, staff and students have transformed the center into a community veterinary clinic on Spay Day to spay and neuter dozens of dogs.
Two unaltered dogs and their offspring can produce up to 67,000 puppies in six years. There are not enough homes for them all. Spay Day organizers state that spaying and neutering is the single best way to reduce the number of unwanted animals entering animal shelters.