What’s Involved

What does the Surgery Involve and Why Should I Sterilize My Pet?

What is spay/neuter surgery?

Sterilization of your dog or cat is a routine surgical procedure that must be performed by a veterinarian. The surgery in females is called a “spay” or ovario hysterectomy and involves removing the ovaries and uterus. The surgery in males is called a “neuter” or orchiectomy and involves removing the testicles. Surgical risks for healthy animals are very low and animals usually recover completely within a couple of days.


Why should I spay or neuter my pet?

  • Above all, it helps to reduce the pet overpopulation.
  • Millions of dogs and cats are born each year. Sadly, many of these animals will suffer disease, neglect or abuse simply because there are not enough responsible homes for all of them.
  • A cat can produce three litters a year, each averaging 4 – 6 kittens. In seven years, one female cat and her offspring can theoretically produce 420,000 cats.
  • A dog can produce two litters a year, each averaging 6 – 10 puppies. In six years, one female dog and her offspring can theoretically produce 67,000 dogs.
  • There are between 4,000 and 6,000 shelters in the US.
  • 6 – 8 million cats and dogs enter shelters each year. 25% of the dogs are purebreds. 600,000 – 75,000 cats and dogs are reclaimed by owners from shelters each year. The national average is 30% of the dogs and 2-5% of cats entering shelters are reclaimed.
  • 3 – 4 million cats and dogs are adopted from shelters each year
  • 3- 4 million dogs and cats are euthanized by shelters each year because homes cannot be found for them
  • National statistics estimate that somewhere between four and six million unwanted cats, dogs, kittens and puppies are killed in US shelters every year. More than 70% of cats that enter animal pounds and shelters are killed each year. And worse, virtually 100% of feral cats who enter shelters are killed there.
  • Last year, shelters across the state spayed or neutered thousands of animals prior to adoption. While we are doing our part to end the tragedy of overpopulation, we need your help. Please have your dog or cat spayed or neutered, and encourage everyone you know to do the same!



There are several ways that you can help be part of the solution to end the killing.

  • Spay or Neuter your pet.
  • Adopt a pet from your local shelter or rescue group.
  • Support animal organizations committed to ending animal suffering.
  • Educate your children and others about responsible pet ownership.


No other disease or condition of companion animals takes as many lives as euthanasia. In fact, no other disease comes close.   Janet M. Scarlett, DVM, PhD, Cornell University