For decades, veterinarians have been taught to wait until a dog or cat is 6 months of age before performing ovariohysterectomy or castration.
Today, many shelters and high-volume shelter clinics perform sterilization surgeries in puppies and kittens as early as 6 to 8 weeks of age.
In addition, some veterinary schools now teach early-age spay/neuter procedures. However, when new graduates join the veterinary workforce, they are often met with resistance from veterinarians who do not practice these early-age procedures.
Early-age spay/neuter procedures have been endorsed by the Association of Shelter Veterinarians (ASV),1 the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA),2 the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA),3 and the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA).4
With millions of homeless dogs and cats euthanized in animal shelters each year, it is time for veterinary professionals to actively support early-age spay/neuter procedures to help reduce pet overpopulation.