The COVID-19 pandemic started with a surge in pet adoptions, but it has had another dramatic – and unfortunate – effect on the country's pets: a huge chunk of missing neutering surgeries. New research finds that there are almost 3 million missing neuter/spay surgeries in the U.S. due to the pandemic, which, combined with veterinarian and staff shortages, is contributing to widespread overcrowding at pet shelters.
The findings come from a study of over 200 clinics from 2019 to 2021 by researchers at the University of Florida. Progress made over decades to control overpopulation of dogs and cats through high-volume spay-neuter surgeries is at risk thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a team of UF researchers conclude in a new study.
The impact - felt both at community shelters and veterinary clinics - includes sharp declines in spay-neuter surgeries after the initial pandemic-triggered lockdowns, followed by staffing shortages in clinics and shelters, overcrowding and lagging pet adoption rates. All of these problems are compounded by a nationwide shortage of veterinarians, which has been felt even more acutely in shelters and spay-neuter clinics, the researchers say in a study published Sept. 13, 2022 in Frontiers in Veterinary Science. Click here to read the full-length paper.How is your community holding up in regards to spay-neuter capacity?
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