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Help for low-income pet owners

Humane society offers discount on spaying

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It pays to spay -- at least in terms of preventing the birth of unwanted kittens.

On May 29, the Winnipeg Humane Society will perform 100 or more spay procedures on female cats belonging to people living on social assistance or fixed incomes for a subsidized price of $35.

The Winnipeg Humane Society's May Day Spay Day is a one-day event to encourage people to fix their female felines and reduce unwanted litters.

The usual cost for spay surgeries at veterinarian clinics in Winnipeg is $125 to $225, the WHS said.

The goal is to reduce the number of kittens being born during June through November when shelters and neighbourhoods are overwhelmed with unwanted litters. The WHS can experience 20 to 25 cats per day dropped off at the shelter during that period.

Dr. Erika Anseeuw, WHS director of animal health, said female cats can produce up to two litters in a few months.

"By having the one-day event, we wanted to create some excitement about spaying and neutering and get people thinking about it and not put it off any longer," said Anseeuw, noting the $35 price is available year-round to those who qualify.

"This is the time of year that cats are reproducing, so we want to get people down here and get their cats fixed. We're going to try to do female cats only that day, but we do have other surgery dates available for people who can't come on the 29th."

Anseeuw said additional medical staff will be brought in that day to perform the surgeries and provide post-operative care.

"I want to stress it is the same quality of care they would get at any veterinarian clinic," said Anseeuw, noting donations make the subsidized price possible. "It's just that we have this program that is supported by our donors that allows us to support these people who can't afford to go anywhere else. They're not getting lower care and we're used to doing a lot of surgery. We're just doing it longer (on spay day)."

Anseeuw said spaying 100 cats in one day will be performed at the same pace as any other day, as 20 to 30 surgeries are performed each morning on a typical day on dogs and cats. A test run of the program called Fifty Shades of Spay was done a few weeks ago.

"We only did 46 because some didn't show. We did that from 9-1:30 p.m. with just two veterinarians, so we know we are capable of doing more," she said. "We just have to manage the flow of people in and out."

Cats should be at least four months of age, in good health, under the care of a veterinarian and have current vaccinations. A pet carrier must be used to transport cats to and from their appointment. For those without a carrier, cardboard carriers can be purchased from veterinarians and the WHS for a low cost.

To arrange a May Day spay, call 204-888-7627 or visit the WHS office and bring proof of household income to qualify for the subsidized rate.

ashley.prest@freepress.mb.ca

If you do not qualify for the humane society's subsidized rate for spaying your female cat, here are some local clinics that offer the service for a reduced rate.

Red River Spay and Neuter/Roblin Animal Hospital: $125 ($40 for optional IV fluids). Offering a spring special of 10 per cent off if you have a coupon.

Academy Road Spay and Neuter: $126 ($42 for optional IV fluids)

Winnipeg Spay and Neuter/Alpine Animal Hospital: $185 for cats over one year of age; $169.50 for cats under one year (includes IV fluids)

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 3, 2013 A10

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Updated on Friday, May 3, 2013 at 9:25 AM CDT: adds fact box

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