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  • 1.  Decrease in spay-neuter surgeries during pandemic isn't over yet

    Posted 15 days ago

    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.

    Study author Dr. Simone Guerios prepares a patient for surgery.


    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?


    #AccesstoCare
    #AdmissionsandIntake(includingIntake-to-placement)
    #CommunityCatManagement
    #Medicine,SurgeryandSterilization
    #PetSupportServices*

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    Julie Levy
    Maddie's Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Florida
    Maddie's Million Pet Challenge
    https://sheltermedicine.vetmed.ufl.edu/
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  • 2.  RE: Decrease in spay-neuter surgeries during pandemic isn't over yet

    Posted 14 days ago
    Thank you for posting this! We have had to add a day each week to our spay/neuter clinic. We have been very lucky in our ability to find vets, although it was not easy. As well as finding vet techs (we have several vols with a medical background that help in our clinic). Part of the reason we had to add another day to our schedule was to meet the demand from our community, but an even bigger reason is that we are transferring in pets from overcrowding shelters more than we ever have before. The problem that we are starting to face is the lag in adoptions and finding fosters willing to take in young adult dogs. 

    On the foster side, we've decided to poll our volunteers and fosters and figure out what the real barriers are to fostering a young adult dog. From there, we're hoping to overcome those barriers and help make it easier to folks to help us in the foster world. 

    As for adoptions, we've tried holding a huge adoption event, with fees waived, multiple marketing campaigns, etc. We've never had an issue with adopting our pets, in fact our length of stay last year on average was 6.2 days and I'm thinking that's going to look a lot different this year if adoptions don't start to pick up. Even puppies and kittens are hanging around longer than normal. 

    I'm curious if other shelters are also up against these same problems and if you've found any creative ways to combat those issues.

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    Erin Ellis
    Community Engagement Director
    Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe

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    Foster Program & Volunteer Management Specialist
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  • 3.  RE: Decrease in spay-neuter surgeries during pandemic isn't over yet

    Posted 14 days ago
    We are definitely struggling with this! Biggest factors I have seen:

    • Finding vet assistants to work in our clinic has been a huge challenge- we post and post and try and use word-of-mouth relationships and just can't compete with what private practice is offering!
    • As  length of stay has risen due to reduced adoptions, the demands on our clinic outside of s/n has also grown, as more pets are developing URI due to length of stay, so there is more treatment necessary, which pulls from surgical capacity, resulting in longer length of stay for pets waiting for surgery, and the vicious cycle continues.
    • Demand for intake has gone up and I wondered if in addition to economic factors driving intake, there could be correlation to the period of time when we were unable to provide s/n due to state restrictions on preserving the PPE supply for hospitals. You answered this one for me!


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    Alexis Pugh
    Director, Memphis Animal Services
    www.memphisanimalservices.com

    Organizational Management
    & Pet Support Services Specialist
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  • 4.  RE: Decrease in spay-neuter surgeries during pandemic isn't over yet

    Posted 10 days ago
    Alexis - I agree it's such a vicious cycle of intakes greater than outcomes >> shelter crowding >> increased length of stay >> disease and stress >> increased costs and labor >> decreased shelter and community safety net programs >> increased pressure for shelter intake.  The decreased spay/neuter capacity and the critically depleted veterinarian and veterinary technician workforce problem is but one of the forces contributing to this disturbing trend.

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    Julie Levy
    Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Florida
    Maddie's Million Pet Challenge
    https://sheltermedicine.vetmed.ufl.edu
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