Myth: "It is better for her to have one litter first."
Fact: Medical evidence proves that females spayed before their first heat are typically healthier and prevents disease such as ovarian cancer and pyometra.
Myth: "My pet will get fat and lazy."
Fact: Pets get fat and lazy as a result of a lack of exercise or their owner's feeding them too much.
Myth: "But my pet is a purebred."
Fact: She or he's not the only one. At least one out of every four pets brought to animal shelters are purebred. Mixed or purebred….there are just too many!
Myth: "I'll find homes for all the puppies and kittens."
Fact: That may be, but for each home you find for your puppies or kittens, that means one less home for the dogs and cats already waiting in shelters. And, unless you are willing to spay or neuter each of them before you place them, in less than one year's time, each of your pet's offspring may have his or her own litter. This means you are adding to the pet overpopulation problem!
Reduce Euthanasia: Each year an estimated 4 to 6 million unwanted dogs and cats are euthanized. There simply aren't enough good homes for them all. Even those that are lucky enough to find a home may not be lucky enough to keep it and end up back in the shelter system again. Approximately twenty-five percent (25%) of these animals in shelters are purebreds.
Society: Other equally tragic problems resulting from pet overpopulation include the transformation of some animal shelters into "warehouses," acceptance of cruelty to animals as a way of life in our society, and the stress that many shelter workers endure as a result of having to euthanize one animal after another. Unfortunately, so many living creatures are cuddled when cute, but become abandoned and thrown away when they become inconvenient.
Community: Animals who are abandoned and stray, and are able to survive, live in alleys and streets of both cities and suburbs. These animals pose a threat to the health of humans and other animals by getting into trash, defecating in public areas and/or lawns, and spreading disease. Some scare away or prey upon wildlife, such as birds, in order to survive. They innocently cause anger to people who have no comprehension of their misery or of their needs.
Economic: Countless tax dollars currently used to house and euthanize animals each year can be redirected to other programs.
Medical: In addition to its impact on pet overpopulation, having your pet spayed/neutered provides many medical and behavioral benefits:
The City of Richmond has a breeding ordinance that is currently in effect requiring all dogs and cats over the age of four months to be spayed and neutered. If you do not have your dogs and cats spayed and neutered by this age, you are required to purchase a breeding license from the City. The cost of the license is $100 per animal, per year. Failure to comply with either of these regulations may result in a $100 fine per animal, per incident.
The purpose of this ordinance is to make the public aware of the tremendous overpopulation of dogs and cats and to make owners responsible for their pets' contribution to the problem. The goal of this ordinance is to control the number of animals breeding so that fewer will be without homes or euthanized.
Guards against the Rabies Virus, which is ultimately deadly. It is contracted through the bite of an infected animal, and any mammal can contract Rabies, including humans, which is why it is required by most states, including Virginia, for all dogs and cats.
Saving Lives, One Spay/Neuter At a Time!
Graphic by PETA
Guards against the Bordetella bacterial infection, commonly called Kennel Cough, bordatella is a common illness among dogs in kennels, boarding facilities, groomers, and any location where there are many dogs in a relatively small area. The major symptom is a dry, hacking cough, and can lead to secondary pneumonia in severe cases.
Guards against the retrovirus that causes Feline Leukemia. It is highly contagious and can be spread through saliva and nasal fluid, but also through urine and feces, and from an infected mother to her kittens. Infected cats can live months, even up to a few years with Feline Leukemia, but ultimately, the virus is fatal.
We offer the FIV/FeLV Snap Test if you would like to test your cat for FeLV prior to the vaccination. We do not require your cat to be tested to receive the vaccination. Read more below.
Panleukopenia: commonly called Feline Distemper, is a virus spread through a variety of infected bodily fluids and feces and can be present on surfaces for a long time. It is highly contagious and is ultimately fatal.
Rhinotracheitis: an upper respiratory infection caused by the feline herpes virus. It is spread through direct contact with eye and nasal fluid, and often passes from mother to kitten.
Calici Virus: a virus that causes upper respiratory infection among other symptoms, including ulcers. It can be airborne as well as spread through infected bodily fluids. It can be fatal.
Chlamydia Psittaci: an upper respiratory infection. It is spread through direct contact with infected fluids. It can be fatal, and it can spread to humans as conjunctivitis.
Myth: "I want my dog to be protective."
Fact: A dog's natural instinct to protect home and family is not affected by spaying or neutering. A dog's personality is more influenced by genetics and environment than by sex hormones.
Myth: "A female dog or cat only comes into heat once a year."
Fact: Dogs go into heat, which lasts about 3 weeks, once or twice a year at as early as 6 months of age. Cats experience heat every 34 weeks from early spring through fall, starting as young as 4 months. Pregnancy for both cats and dogs lasts 63 days, and female cats can become pregnant as soon as 10 days after giving birth, while still nursing.
Myth: "It's too expensive to have my pet spayed or neutered."
Fact: There are many low-cost spay/neuter programs and facilities available. And when you compare the cost of the one-time surgery to the cost of future medical care that can arise as a result of not having your pet spayed or neutered as she or he ages, it's worth it!
Graphic by PETA
FIV/FeLV Combo Test Information
We use the Idexx Laboratories FIV/FeLV Combo SNAP Test.
FIV stands for Feline immunodeficiency virus (the test detects antibodies).
FeLV stands for Feline leukemia virus (the test detects the antigen).
We will take a blood sample from your cat and run the test. It will give us results in 10 minutes, and we will alert you to any positive result. We do not call you if the test is negative for both FIV & FeLV unless you request it. Please make sure we have the phone number where you can be reached the day of surgery.
If your cat is positive for FIV or FeLV, you have two options:
Please familiarize yourself with these illnesses in the case that your cat tests positive for them. We want your decision to be well-informed and not rushed should they test positive. Because we do not want to add more stress for the cat, we need the answer as quickly as possible. We have very limited time until the cat recovers from anesthesia.
FeLV is usually spread when an uninfected cat comes in contact with the saliva or urine of an infected cat-while they groom each other, for example, or when they share food bowls or litter boxes. FIV, on the other hand, is most often spread when an infected cat bites an uninfected cat. A human cannot become infected with FIV or FeLV through contact with an infected cat.
Graphic by PETA
There are many advantages to sterilization prior to the traditional six months of age. Animals spayed or neutered at eight to ten weeks of age benefit from less stress and a quicker recovery from surgery. At this age, absence of abdominal fat makes the procedure take less time than in older patients. This means less trauma to the animal, as less tissue is disturbed, and less time is spent under anesthesia. In addition, recovery from anesthesia is more rapid.
Sterilizing puppies and kittens prior to adoption by shelters and animal humane organizations ensures that they will not produce litters once they have been placed in homes.
Early age spay/neuter has been performed by professionals for many years. The procedure is endorsed by the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Animal Hospital Association, and the state veterinary medical associations in California, Nevada, Wisconsin, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, to name a few. Other supporters include the American Kennel Club and the Cat Fanciers' Association.
As with any medical procedure at any age, each animal's individual overall physical condition is the determining factor as to whether she or he should undergo anesthesia.
Dogs and Cats
Graphic by PETA
Distemper: an airborne illness spread through respiratory secretions, which can eventually lead to death.
Adenovirus Types I and II, also called Canine Hepatitis: an illness spread through infected bodily fluids and can be fatal.
Parainfluenza: a contagious condition that causes coughing and breathing issues.
Parvovirus: a virus that puppies are especially susceptible to. Without treatment, 80% of infected puppies will die. Transmitted through infected feces, it can be present on a variety of surfaces for a very long time.