What Are Spaying and Neutering?

Spaying and neutering are surgical procedures performed by veterinarians that prevent cats and dogs from breeding by removing their reproductive organs. When a female pet is spayed (also called an ovariohysterectomy), the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus are removed. When a male pet is neutered, the testicles are removed, but the scrotum remains.

“Fixing,” “altering” and “sterilizing” are other common terms used to reference spaying or neutering of both female and male pets.

What Are the Health Benefits of Spaying and Neutering?

Spayed females are less likely to develop breast cancer and are no longer at risk for ovarian or uterine cancer. Neutered males are no longer at risk for testicular cancer. By neutering males, you also reduce the risk of injury and disease, since intact males have a natural instinct to roam and get into fights with other animals that may have contagious diseases or parasites.

Why Should I Spay or Neuter My Pet?

In addition to the many health benefits mentioned in the above question, spaying or neutering your pet ensures that he or she won’t contribute to the pet overpopulation problem. Even a pet that lives indoors may escape and produce kittens or puppies if not sterilized. Each year, millions of homeless animals are euthanized or end up in shelters due to a lack of good homes.

What Happens When My Pet Is Spayed or Neutered? Will He or She Act Differently?

After sterilization, your pet may be calmer and less likely to exhibit certain behaviors like wandering, spraying, marking, or even aggression, but his or her personality will not change. Contrary to myth, a fixed pet does not become lazy and overweight. Neutered males can require fewer calories to maintain their body weight, so talk to your vet about adjusting your pet’s dietary needs.

Does My Pet Need to Be Vaccinated to Use Your Clinic?

While we do not require pets to be vaccinated to use our services, it is highly recommended to avoid preventable diseases. While our clinic uses a veterinary disinfectant (which disinfectants against parvovirus, ringworm, etc.) and takes all precautions to prevent pets from coming into contact with each other, there is still a risk of exposure at any facility where other pets are, especially if they are unvaccinated.

Can You Spay a Female Dog or Cat While it is Pregnant or in Heat?

Yes, if a pet comes into our clinic pregnant or in heat, they will be spayed. Research shows there is not a higher risk in spaying an in heat or pregnant pet, as long as the veterinarian performing the procedure is experienced in doing the procedure. Our veterinarians are specially trained in spay/neuter procedures and regularly spay in heat and pregnant pets with no issues. For pregnant pets, this will result in the termination of the fetuses. Although rare, the veterinarian on duty reserves the right to refuse surgery if he/she deems it unsafe for the pet. We do not charge an additional fee for in heat or pregnant pets to be spayed.

My Dog is Nursing. Can She Be Spayed?

You must wait until the puppies are six weeks old and weaned before the mother can be spayed. We can perform surgery on lactating females, but it is safer for them if their milk has dried up completely.

My Cat is Nursing. Can She Be Spayed?

Yes. We are able to safely spay lactating cats. Ideally, you will want to wait until the kittens are at least 3-4 weeks old. We ask that the day of your appointment please let us know the cat is lactating and how old the kittens are. We also ask you make yourself available to pick your cat up early, so she can get back to nursing her kittens, especially if they are young. The veterinarian may choose to do a flank (side) spay on your cat, which lets the kittens safely nurse.

Please note, we will not flank spay your cat if she has point coloration (Siamese, Ragdoll, etc).

My Male Pet’s Testicles Have Not Dropped, Can He Still Be Neutered?

Yes. This is called cryptorchidism and is relatively common. We can still neuter a cryptorchid pet, although they may have a secondary incision, depending on where the undescended testicle(s) is located. We do not charge an additional fee for cryptorchid surgeries.

Why is There a Tattoo Near the Incision Site?

A permanent tattoo will identify that your pet has been spayed or neutered after the incision has healed. This is mandatory. It is done while your pet is under anesthesia for their surgery. It will appear bright green at first but fade to a dull green line over time.

What Should I Do to Keep My Dog or Cat from Licking His or Her Incision?

All dogs will go home with an e-collar which is included in the surgery cost. Cats generally do not need one but may be purchased at our clinic for $5 or can be purchased at any pet store.

Do You Declaw?

No.

Can I Bring My Pet in for Just a Rabies Shot?

We are currently offering appointments for vaccines, microchips, etc. You can view the options available and schedule under the Wellness section on our website.

I’m Not Close to Memphis, Do You Have Multiple Locations?

We have one clinic – located at 3787 Summer Avenue, Memphis, TN 38122. For spay/neuter options in TN, visit www.spaytennessee.org. For spay/neuter options in MS, visit https://www.msspan.org/locate_services. For all other states, visit https://www.unitedspayalliance.org/.

Does Spay Memphis Allow Pets from Other Areas?

Yes. We do not have location restrictions on our services. Anyone is allowed to use our services as long as they can bring their pet to our clinic in Memphis.

Can My Pet Go Home Earlier than the Normal Check-Out Times?

Possibly. You can request an earlier pick-up time, and we will do our best to accommodate the request. However, to maximize time, the order in which a pet has surgery is not determined until all pets are in our clinic, with dogs having surgery first, then domestic cats, and then feral/community cats. Therefore, it is more likely a dog be able to leave at an earlier time than a cat. We will not release a pet until they have fully woken from surgery and can stand up.

My Pet is Extremely Anxious, Aggressive, Nervous, Etc., Can They Still Come to Your Clinic?

Yes. We just ask that you let us know when scheduling, so we can be prepared. Our entire staff is Fear Free Certified, so we do have multiple tools and techniques at our disposal to handle fearful pets. If your pet has a bite history, please let us know prior to your appointment date.

Do you offer services for rescue groups or shelters?

Yes, anyone can use our clinic’s services. However, since our prices are already at a discounted rate, we do not offer a rescue discount for services. If you would like to set up a rescue group or shelter account, please email bpace@spaymemphis.org before scheduling an appointment.

Why are our prices cheaper than other veterinary clinics?

Spay Memphis is a nonprofit clinic, meaning we charge at-cost prices for our services. Other than pricing, our clinic operates just as any other veterinary clinic in terms of quality of care.

Benefits of Spaying (females):

  • No heat cycles, therefore males will not be attracted
  • Less desire to roam
  • Risk of mammary gland tumors, pyometra infection, ovarian and/or uterine cancer is reduced or eliminated, especially if done before the first heat cycle
  • Reduces number of unwanted cats/kittens/dogs/puppies
  • Helps dogs and cats live longer, healthier lives

Benefits of Neutering (males):

  • Reduces or eliminates risk of spraying and marking
  • Less desire to roam, therefore less likely to be injured in fights or auto accidents
  • Risk of testicular cancer is eliminated and decreases incidence of prostate disease
  • Reduces number of unwanted cats/kittens/dogs/puppies
  • Decreases aggressive behavior, including dog bites
  • Helps dogs and cats live longer, healthier lives

Top 3 Reasons to Spay and Neuter

  • It helps to reduce companion animal overpopulation. Most countries have a surplus of companion animals and are forced to euthanize or disregard their great suffering. The surplus is in the millions in the United States. Cats are 45 times as prolific, and dogs 15 times as prolific, as humans. They do not need our help to expand their numbers; they need our help to reduce their numbers until there are good homes for them all.
  • Sterilization of your cat or dog will increase his/her chance of a longer and healthier life. Altering your canine friend will increase his life an average of 1 to 3 years, felines, 3 to 5 years. Altered animals have a very low to no risk of mammary gland tumors/cancer, prostate cancer, perianal tumors, pyometra, and uterine, ovarian and testicular cancers.
  • Sterilizing your cat/dog makes him/her a better pet, reducing his/her urge to roam and decreasing the risk of contracting diseases or getting hurt as they roam. Surveys indicate that as many as 85% of dogs hit by cars are unaltered. Intact male cats living outside have been shown to live on average less than two years. Feline Immunodeficiency Syndrome is spread by bites and intact cats fight a great deal more than altered cats.

Additional Benefits:

  • Spay and neuter is the only proven solution to our area’s pet overpopulation problem. The more pets that are fixed, the fewer pets end up in our local shelters or on the streets.
  • Your community will also benefit. Unwanted animals are becoming a very real concern in many places. Stray animals can easily become a public nuisance, soiling parks and streets, ruining shrubbery, frightening children and elderly people, creating noise and other disturbances, causing automobile accidents, and sometimes even killing livestock or other pets.
    – The American Veterinary Medical Association
  • The capture, impoundment and eventual destruction of unwanted animals costs taxpayers and private humanitarian agencies over a billion dollars each year. As a potential source of rabies and other less serious diseases, they can be a public health hazard.
    – The American Veterinary Medical Association

*list courtesy of SpayUSA.org*

Spay/Neuter Appointment Cancellation Policy

– Appointments must be canceled no later than NOON the day before your appointment. Cancellations can be made by phone (voicemail is fine, 901-324-3202) or email (info@spaymemphis.org).
– Any appointment not canceled by noon the day before will be considered a no-show.
– No-shows are subject to a $10 no-show fee, which will be taken from your prepayment.
– If you prepaid over the $10, refunds are not available for no-shows, however, we will allow the leftover payment to remain on your account as a credit.

Spay Memphis Inclement WINTER Weather Policy

Our clinic will follow Shelby County Schools guidelines for closures due to winter weather OR if enough of our staff cannot safely make it to the clinic. We will post updates to our social media pages as soon as possible if we have to close. If you have an appointment on a day our clinic has to close, you will be contacted to reschedule as soon as our clinic reopens. Please direct any questions to info@spaymemphis.org.