UF joins ASV, shelter medicine programs across U.S. to create new guidelines for spay/neuter programs

Spay/neuter programs are a cornerstone of managing pet over-population and reducing shelter intake. The last decade has seen the rise of the concept of high-quality, high-volume spay/neuter programs, allowing TNR groups, shelters, and specialized clinics to sterilize large numbers of animals in a very short period of time, with the highest standard of medical care.

The spread of HQHV spay/neuter was facilitated in part by Association of Shelter Veterinarians (ASV) guidelines first published in 2008, authored by a task force that included Drs. Julie Levy and Brenda Griffin of the Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Florida. Now those guidelines have been updated, with Dr. Griffin stepping into a lead role on the task force, joined by Drs. Natalie Isaza and Kelly Harrison of the UF College of Veterinary Medicine Veterinary Community Outreach Program, which provides spay/neuter surgical training to UF shelter medicine certificate students.

Other UF-affiliated contributors to the ASV 2016 Veterinary Medical Care Guidelines for Spay/Neuter Programs include:

  • Dr. Sheilah Ann Robertson, who completed her graduate certificate in shelter medicine at UF and has been a contributing instructor for online courses as a subject matter expert in pain management and community cat management
  • Dr. Philip A. Bushby, a contributing instructor for the “Integrating Veterinary Medicine with Shelter Systems” online learning course
  • Drs. Y. Karla Rigdon-Brestle and Nancy Ferguson, instructors in the UF “Community Cat Management” course
  • Dr. Michael R. Moyer, who has contributed to past Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Conferences at UF, as well as providing materials in online shelter medicine courses

“The ASV is grateful for the continued support of shelter medicine programs across the country, including those at the University of Florida,” said ASV President Brian DiGangi, DVM, MS, DABVP. “Faculty, staff, and alumni have been actively involved in our organization for many years and played key roles on our Task Force to Advance Spay-Neuter, which crafted the 2016 revision to our Guidelines for Spay-Neuter Programs. The combined knowledge and experience of these individuals has led to the production of an objective yet practical document that can help spay-neuter programs worldwide improve the quality of their services.”

The ASV 2016 Veterinary Medical Care Guidelines for Spay/Neuter Programs cover the full range of information necessary to operate a HQHV spay/neuter program, including proper confinement for transporting animals to the clinic; intake and identification procedures; record keeping; physical examination; vaccination; patient housing and handling; infectious disease control; anesthetic procedures; pain management; client communications; surgical and post-operative care.

An overview of operational management procedures is also covered in the Guidelines, with a focus on the development of standard operating procedures, staff training, data collection, regulatory and legal considerations, and more.

The Guidelines authors wrote:

In developing these guidelines, the ASV seeks to support HQHVSN programs, encourage increased veterinary and public participation, facilitate patient referral, provide guidance for veterinarians in this practice area, encourage existing programs to recognize and adhere to these guidelines, and provide a reference for the veterinary profession, including state boards of veterinary medicine, other governing agencies, and veterinary professional associations as well as spay-neuter program donors and funding agencies. In keeping with its original intent, the ASV hopes that these guidelines will be used by the profession to maintain consistent veterinary medical care in all settings where spay-neuter services are provided and promote these services as a means to reduce sheltering and euthanasia of cats and dogs.

The Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association published the Guidelines, which are available in their entirety without charge on the JAVMA site.