For several decades local and national animal protection organizations have worked diligently and successfully to reduce the killing of homeless pets. In the mid-1970s, there were as many as 20 million cats and dogs euthanized every year in the United States. In 2012, those numbers dropped to less than 3 million.
This progress coincides with the increased access to low-cost spay/neuter services across the United States. For many families, basic veterinary care, such as spay/neuter and vaccinations, are simply out of reach both geographically and financially.
According to a national study, 53 percent of owners of unaltered pets surveyed said they had never seen a veterinarian before. Nonprofit spay/neuter programs have helped remove the barriers to veterinary care and increase general pet wellness. These programs introduce many pet owners to the importance of veterinary medicine.
American Veterinary Medical Association statistics, published in the AVMA U.S. Pet Ownership and Demographic Sourcebook, shows that beginning in 1987 and coinciding with the rapid expansion of low-cost spay/neuter and vaccination programs nationwide, the percentage of U.S. dog owners who seek regular veterinary care is up 13 percent, to more than 85 percent overall, and the percentage of U.S. cat owners who seek regular veterinary care is up 17 percent, to nearly 70 percent overall.
Additionally, a recent American Pet Products Association survey shows that in spite of the recession pet ownership is at its highest level in two decades; because more veterinary products and services are available than ever before, it is becoming increasingly easier to add another pet to your household.
Non-profit spay/neuter programs are often the first experience many people have with a veterinarian. By providing low-cost spay/neuter and vaccination services to pet owners they are better educated on the importance of having a long-term relationship with a local veterinarian.
However, non-profit spay/neuter programs do not provide lifetime care for pets. That is why it is important that after your pet has been altered that you follow-up with a visit with a local veterinarian. If you don’t have a local veterinarian, contact your local humane society for a referral.
The YHS Spay/Neuter & Wellness Clinic is located at 2989 Centerpointe East in Prescott. Call 771-0547 today for a spay/neuter surgery appointment or information. Every Friday from 8 to 11:30 a.m. and 1 to 4:30 p.m., the Clinic offers low-cost vaccinations and microchips; and no appointment is necessary; first come, first serve.