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Shelter Medicine: Revisiting the Basics: The Importance of Sterilization

That little ounce of prevention carries weight in the battle against animal homelessness

That little ounce of prevention carries weight in the battle against animal homelessness

A cat is anesthetized prior to surgery at the Humane Alliance Spay/Neuter Clinic of Western North Carolina. Stationary clinics like this one are often able to perform a higher number of surgeries per day than most mobile services, and have the advantage of being able to hospitalize animals overnight if needed. CARRIE ALLAN/THE HSUS
A great deal of time, resources, and both physical and emotional energy are devoted to caring for the animals in shelters—and part of our goal should always be to keep them as healthy and happy as possible during their stays, no matter what their ultimate disposition will be.

But anyone who has spent time in an animal shelter recognizes how difficult it is to meet the needs of all of the cats and dogs who enter the shelter’s doors. Logic dictates that humane groups should emphasize preventing cats and dogs from entering animal shelters through proactive strategies to keep them in their homes and, more fundamentally, decrease their birthrates. Indeed, given the financial, special, and resource restrictions of animal shelters, the only way to ensure the welfare of surplus cats and dogs is to prevent them from being there in the first place. Prevention truly is the best medicine.

At the heart of these proactive efforts to reduce the numbers of animals coming in to shelters are spay/neuter services.

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