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Leftover Pets low-cost spaying, neutering clinics help curb pet overpopulation

POSTED: March 8, 2009 11:12 p.m.
For The Times/

Veterinarian Amber Polvere performs a spaying surgery on a puppy during one of Leftover Pets Inc.'s neuter/spay clinic days. The Braselton-based nonprofit organization offers pet adoptions, foster homes for adoptable pets and low cost spaying/neutering surgeries.

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Six to 8 million cats and dogs enter animal shelters each year, according to the Humane Society of the United States.

Only about half of those pets are adopted; the other 3 to 4 million are euthanized.

One way to prevent these euthanizations is to have pets spayed and neutered, according to Martha Shannon of Shannon Vet Services in Jefferson.

This helps "combat unwanted litters of dog/cat pet overpopulation," Shannon said in an e-mail to The
Paper.

"The surgery also prevents cancer, other infections and ‘undesirable’ behaviors such as fighting or roaming."

Leftover Pets Inc. is one local animal shelter helping remedy the overpopulation problem.

Every month, the shelter sponsors spaying and neutering surgeries at its clinics in Hoschton, Toccoa, Elberton and Dalton.

Founded in 2005, the Braselton-based nonprofit organization offers pet adoptions, foster homes for adoptable pets and low-cost spaying/neutering surgeries.

Susan Thompson and veterinarian Amber Polvere operate the organization’s spay/neuter clinic, called Pet Mechanics, and together have performed 10,000 surgeries since 2005.

"We have settled into a pretty good schedule of using these four clinics," said Thompson. "It’s able to help people in this area."

The clinic charges $60 for spaying dogs weighing less than 25 pounds and $75 for those weighing more. Neutering costs $50. For cats, spaying costs $50 and neutering $30.

These prices include a rabies vaccination for pets older than 3 months. DAPP vaccines for dogs and FVRCP vaccines for cats are offered for $5 each.

So, when exactly should pet owners have their cat or dog "fixed?"

Thompson said she recommends doing the procedure when the pet is young.

"It’s so much easier on the animal if it’s done as a baby, (which is) less than 6 months of age," she said.

Known as pediatric spaying/neutering, the procedure has been performed for 25 years as a way to help animal rescue organizations control pet overpopulation, according to Shannon.

"Pediatric surgeries are done when an animal is placed up for adoption," she said. "The youngest age is 6 to 7 weeks, and generally animals must weigh at least two pounds."

Shannon, who has performed pediatric surgeries for 15 years, said pets should be spayed or neutered prior to sexual maturity and once they have received all of their vaccines.

"The best recommendation is to spay or neuter your pet at 5 months of age," she said.

The benefits to early spaying and neutering include a shorter recovery period for the pet and fewer post operative complications such as "swelling (or) licking at sutures."

But because some of these animals come from homeless backgrounds, the surgery can be more stressful.

"These animals may already harbor infectious diseases which may worsen the stress of surgery," said Shannon. "However, rescue groups attempt to monitor and detect these as quickly as possible."

Pet Mechanics will visit Hoschton’s clinic next on March 16, 17, 30 and 31. On March 30, the clinic will offer special prices on pediatric surgeries for puppies. Female puppies up to 4 months old will be $50 and $40 for male puppies of the same age. To make an appointment, call 706-654-3291 or 800-978-5226.

Other area animal shelters and veterinarians that offer pediatric spaying and neutering include Hall and Madison counties’ humane societies and the Commerce Animal Hospital.



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