We're celebrating Adopt a Shelter Cat Month with reduced adoption fees for cats and kittens from June 17th-23rd. Learn more here.


DCHS may be able to offer spay/neuter services to the general public as we have availability. Our vets are incredibly busy taking care of the medical needs of homeless pets at the shelter. If you are interested, reach out to our Animal Medical Services team via email to learn more about our Spay Neuter Assistance Program (SNAP) for dogs and rabbits.

Please note that the current need for spay/neuter services in our community is extremely high. We are working to respond to all inquiries as quickly as we can, but it may take up to several weeks for us to be ready to schedule your appointment. Once you have been contacted, we are typically scheduling spay/neuter appointments at least one month out. If this is an emergency situation, please contact your pet's primary veterinarian.

Additionally, the ASPCA provides a searchable database where you can find a low-cost spay/neuter clinic near you.

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If you live in the 53713 zip code, there may be assistance available through our Pets for Life program.

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Below is a collection of several clinics that offer low-cost veterinary services in the Dane County area. Reach out to these businesses to learn their current rates and see if they're the right fit for you. (Please note, we do not endorse any of these clinics specifically.)

WisCARES Pet Care Clinic

The Spay Me! Clinic

Precision Vet Clinic

Underdog Vet Services

Madison Cat Project

Benefits of Spaying and Neutering

Medical benefits

Spaying your female pet helps prevent uterine infections and breast tumors, which are malignant or cancerous in about 50 percent of dogs and 90 percent of cats. Spaying your pet before her first heat offers the best protection from these diseases.

Neutering your male companion prevents testicular cancer and some prostate problems.

Behavioral benefits

Your spayed female pet won't go into heat. While cycles can vary, female cats usually go into heat four to five days every three weeks during breeding season. In an effort to advertise for mates, they'll yowl and urinate more frequently—sometimes all over the house!

Your male dog will be less likely to roam away from home. An intact male will do just about anything to find a mate, including finding creative ways to escape from the house. Once he's free to roam, he risks injury in traffic and fights with other male animals.

Your neutered male may be better behaved. Unneutered dogs and cats are more likely to mark their territory by spraying strong-smelling urine all over the house. Your dog might be less likely to mount other dogs, people and inanimate objects after he’s neutered. Some aggression problems may be avoided by early neutering.

Financial benefits

Spaying/neutering your pets is also highly cost-effective. The cost of your pet's spay/neuter surgery is far less than the cost of having and caring for a litter.

Debunking Spay/Neuter Myths and Misconceptions

Spaying or neutering will not cause your pet to become overweight. Lack of exercise and overfeeding will cause your pet to gain weight. Your pet will remain fit and trim as long as you continue to provide exercise and monitor their food intake.

Neutering is not as a quick fix for all behavior problems. Although neutering your pet often reduces undesirable behaviors caused by a higher level of testosterone, there’s no guarantee that your dog’s behavior will change after he’s neutered. Although the surgery will reduce the amount of testosterone in your dog’s system, it won’t eliminate the hormone completely. Neutering will also not reduce behaviors that your pet has learned or that have become habitual. The effects of neutering are largely dependent on your dog’s individual personality, physiology and history.

When to Spay or Neuter Your Pet

While the traditional age for spaying or neutering dogs is six to nine months, puppies as young as eight weeks old can be spayed or neutered as long as they’re healthy. Dogs can be neutered as adults as well, although there’s a slightly higher risk of post-operative complications in older dogs, dogs that are overweight or dogs that have health problems.

It is generally considered safe for kittens as young as eight weeks old to be spayed or neutered. In animal shelters, surgery is often performed at this time so that kittens can be sterilized prior to adoption. In an effort to avoid the start of urine spraying and eliminate the chance for pregnancy, it’s advisable to schedule the surgery before your cat reaches five months of age. In addition, it is possible to spay a female cat while she’s in heat.

Talk to your veterinarian to determine the best time to spay or neuter your pet.

Helping Your Pet Before and After Surgery

Your veterinary clinic will provide pre-surgical advice that you should follow. In general, avoid giving your adult dog or cat any food after midnight the night before surgery. A puppy or kitten, however, needs adequate nutrition and your veterinarian may advise that food not be withheld.

Your veterinarian can also provide post-operative instructions for you to follow. Although your pet may experience some discomfort after surgery, your veterinarian can take various measures to control pain. Depending on the procedure performed, medication for pain may be sent home with your pet.

Here are tips for a safe and comfortable recovery

Provide your pet with a quiet place to recover indoors and away from other animals.

Prevent your pet from running and jumping for up to two weeks following surgery or as long as your veterinarian recommends.

Prevent your pet from licking the incision site, which may cause infection, by distracting your pet with treats or by using an Elizabethan collar.

Avoid bathing your pet for at least ten days after surgery.

Check the incision site daily to confirm proper healing. If you notice any redness, swelling or discharge at the surgery site, or if the incision is open, please contact your veterinarian. Also call your veterinarian if your pet is lethargic, has a decreased appetite, is vomiting or has diarrhea or any other concerns following surgery.