High-volume spay/neuter programs come in all shapes and sizes, from standalone clinics, to MASH-style operations, to mobile vans, to in-shelter surgical suites, and more. A task force of experts from the Association of Shelter Veterinarians (ASV) has just released their 2016 guidelines to best practices to ensure excellent animal care in high-volume spay/neuter programs — the first  update since 2008.

The guidelines include:

  • General patient care procedures
  • Anesthesia guidelines
  • Post-operative care
  • Operations management

The Guidelines authors wrote:

They were based on current principles of anesthesiology, critical care medicine, infection control, and surgical practice, as determined from published evidence and expert opinion. They represent acceptable practices that are attainable in spay-neuter programs regardless of location, facility, or type of program. The Association of Shelter Veterinarians envisions 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 to promote these services as a means of reducing sheltering and euthanasia of cats and dogs.

[….] In this second edition of its guidelines, the task force included general guidelines for patient care and clinical procedures and added recommendations for operations management of high-volume spay-neuter programs to address management, staff, and clinic issues.

These guidelines, in companionship with the ASV Standards of Care in Animal Shelters, provide a blueprint for lifesaving for every community. The guidelines were published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association and  are available in full at no cost on the JAVMA site.