The Connecticut Department of Agriculture Animal Population Control Program (APCP) provides benefits for municipal pound pets, feral cats, non-profit organizations and for pets owned by low – income Connecticut residents. Please visit State of CT Animal Population Control Program to see if you qualify.

Q: What is Spaying / Neutering?
A: Spaying and neutering are surgical procedures performed by veterinarians that render dogs incapable of breeding by removing their reproductive organs. When a female dog is spayed the ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus are removed. When a male dog is neutered, the testicles are removed from the scrotal sack.

Q: Why should I have my dog spayed or neutered?
A: Shelter euthanasia is the number one killer of companion animals. Spaying and neutering is the only way to reduce or eliminate that.
It’s also better for your pet’s health. Dogs can get all of the same types of reproductive cancers that humans can get. Female dogs can also get a serious uterine infection called pyometra.

Q: Shouldn’t I let my dog have a litter before I spay her?
A: No. Absolutely not. All the medical evidence suggests a dog should be spayed before her first heat. It’s much easier for her and it is a much easier surgery. The problem with letting your dog have a litter is you’ve just instantly contributed to the pet overpopulation problem. Now you have to find homes for all those puppies. And for each home you find, there’s one less home for a dog that was already born. Plus, you can’t be responsible for what the new owners do. So unless you spay or neuter all the puppies before placing them, the new owners may let their dog breed as well.

Q: Should I let my dog have a heat before I spay her?
A: Medically, it’s better to spay your dog before her first heat. It greatly reduces the risk of mammary tumors. People who wait to spay their dogs until after their second heat greatly increase the risk of mammary tumors in their pets. Once they’ve had several heats, intact female dogs have a one out of four chance of developing mammary tumors.

Q: How long does the heat cycle last in a dog?
A: The usual time for visible heat signs in a dog are 2 -4 weeks. Even if the dog has no vaginal bleeding, it can be in heat. Dogs usually ovulate after the vaginal bleeding stage and that is when they can actually conceive puppies. Non-spayed female dogs will go into ‘heat’ or estrus usually twice a year. The age at which they start their cycles and the duration of the cycle varies greatly between the breed and individual dog.  The small breeds can show signs of heat by 6 months of age, and the larger breeds are usually older when they show signs of heat, from 6-15 mos of age, typically.

Q: What is the heat cycle in a dog?
A: There are four stages to the canine estrus cycle:

      1. Proestrus: Vaginal discharge, males attracted to females, females unwilling to mate (vaginal bleeding usually evident, and female dog may have prolonged clotting time so that she may bleed more during surgery).
      2. Estrus: Swollen vulva, yellowish vaginal discharge, matting occurs during this phase (actual ovulation time when female dog can conceive puppies, and she will have prolonged clotting time, so that she may bleed more during surgery).
      3. Metestrus (or Distrus): Period after estrus or mating (female dog may still be producing a scent that is attractive to males, and still may have delayed clotting times) .
      4. Anestrus: Period of inactivity (sexual and hormonal) between estrus phases (safest time to spay a dog).

Q: What is length of time to the heat cycle in a dog?
A: There are four stages to the canine estrus cycle:

      1. Proestrus: Length: 4 – 20 days.
      2. Estrus: Length: 5 – 13 days.
      3. Metestrus (or Distrus): Length: 60 – 90 days, If pregnant, pregnancy length: 60 – 64 days.
      4. Anestrus: Length: 2 – 3 months.

Q: At what age should we spay/neuter our dog?
A: We spay or neuter dogs at our clinic at 12 weeks as long as they weigh at least three pounds. Of course, it varies by breed. Some of the tiny breeds have to be done later. But larger breeds are usually ready by two months of age.
There are still some people who say pediatric spay/neuter is dangerous, but that’s not true. It has become much more widely accepted. Those ideas about needing to wait until after a dog is six months or a year old are really antiquated and the evidence is to the contrary. Even the American Veterinary Medical Association supports early spay/neuter.
The puppies recover a lot faster than adults. It’s an easier surgery for them, and it reduces the rate of disease later on. It’s just a much easier procedure on younger animals.

Q: How soon after a litter can they be fixed?
A: You need to wait at least 12 weeks after she has puppies. She will not become pregnang again in this time. Dogs that are still lactating (creating milk) will be declined for surgery and you will need to reschedule.

Q: It can cost hundreds of dollars to get a dog spayed or neutered. I can’t afford that. What can I do?
A: We are a low cost spay neuter clinic visit our website and click on“Dog” for current charges. You may also contact APCP provides benefits for municipal pound pets, feral cat non profit organizations and for pets owned by low – income Connecticut residents.
Animal Population Control Program
Room G-8A
165 Capitol Avenue
Hartford CT 06106
or You may visit: State of CT APCP: State of CT Animal Population Control Program

Q: Don’t dogs get fat once you spay or neuter them?
A: Dogs, just like people, get fat when they eat too much and don’t get enough exercise. And that’s something you can control. You can use portion control and take your dog for a walk.

Q: My dog is a guard dog. If I spay or neuter him, will that stop him from protecting my house?
A: Spaying or neutering is not going to affect your dog’s desire or ability to protect your home or protect you. Guard dogs are trained to be guard dogs. Their behavior is a function of genetics or instinct, environment, and training.
Many, many police canine units spay or neuter their dogs. There’s no correlation between spaying or neutering an animal and its ability to protect you.
But people also need to understand that unless their dog has been trained to be a guard dog, it isn’t a guard dog. Most dogs are naturally protective, but if you truly need a dog for protection, and your dog isn’t trained, you’re at risk.

Q: Will my dog stop running away from home if I neuter him?
A: Well, you really should keep your dog confined. But neutering certainly does decrease the instinct to roam. That’s because un-neutered dogs are constantly seeking to match up with unspayed females. It also will decrease your dog’s urge to escape your home or escape your fence. But in this day and age, there’s no reason to allow a dog to freely roam the streets. It’s dangerous.

Q: My dog leaves marks all over my house. If I neuter him, will that stop?
A: Neutering a dog will decrease and could eliminate that kind of marking, which is a territorial behavior. That’s what they’re doing; they’re marking their territory to ward off other male dogs that could come into it and get their female. So neutering may eliminate the problem. But there also could be other health issues or behavioral issues involved at this point. So it’s a really good argument for neutering early, before the animal reaches sexual maturity and the marking behavior has become habit.

Q: Will spaying or neutering my dog prevent future illnesses?
A: Yes, absolutely. In females, it greatly decreases mammary cancer and completely eliminates uterine cancers and diseases. In males, it eliminates testicular cancers or diseases and can lower the risk of prostate cancer. Generally, spayed and neutered pets live longer, happier lives.

Q: How Do I Prepare My Pet for Surgery?
A: Visit New HOPE Clinic Dog Programs at: http://www.hopect.org/programs/dog-programs/ to review the “BEFORE SURGERY INSTRUCTIONS.”

Q: What will my dog’s surgical experience be like?
A. Your dog will receive caring, individualized attention throughout his/her stay with us. Their comfort and safety is our primary concerns.

      • Pain medication will be given by injection here in the hospital.
      • Inhalation anesthesia, the safest type available, will be used during surgery. Her vital signs will be monitored throughout the entire procedure and through recovery by an attending technician.
      • An intravenous (IV) catheter will be placed in one of your dog’s veins, usually in the front leg.
      • Surgery
      • The spay surgery is performed in our surgical suite, under aseptic conditions.
      • The underside of your dog’s abdomen will be shaved.
      • The surgery performed.
      • Once your dog’s surgery is complete we will monitor their recovery and be sure he/she is quiet and pain free.

Q: What Is the Recovery Process for Recently Spayed or Neutered Dogs?
A: Visit New HOPE Clinic Dog Programs at: http://www.hopect.org/programs/dog-programs/ to review the “AFTER CARE DISCHARGE INSTRUCTIONS.”

Q: What is the recovery period?
A: Visit New HOPE Clinic Dog Programs at: http://www.hopect.org/programs/dog-programs/ to review the “AFTER CARE DISCHARGE INSTRUCTIONS.”

Q: What is the extra green mark near the incision?
A: Tattoo Ink has been applied to the abdomen of all animals. If your dog should ever become lost, impounded or taken into rescue, an animal welfare professional or veterinarian will know your animal is spayed or neutered. Their fur will cover the tattoo.

Q: Should I be worried that my dog is licking their incision?
A: Yes. Pets can do something called “Self-Trauma”. Self-trauma is licking him/herself at the incision site causing an infection. To prevent them from licking we recommend that you purchase an E-Collar at local pet store. For more information visit: Visit New HOPE Clinic Dog Programs at: http://www.hopect.org/programs/dog-programs/ to review information regarding “E-Collar (Elizabethan Collar).

Q: How long does surgery take?
A: This all depends on your animal. A female dog takes longer. This is why we need to know if your dog is in heat or pregnant.

Q: Is the surgery safe?
A: There is a risk with any surgery. However, our mortality and complication rate is very low.

Q: Do you send them home with pain medication?
A: Your pet may have received Meloxicam. If so, you will see a blue stamp and/or the Meloxicam box checked on your pink sheet/take home sheet. Meloxicam is an anti-inflammatory/pain medication and will work for another 24 hours. It may stay in your dog’s system for up to 30 days.

Q: What if I have to take my pet to the vet after surgery?
A: If you bring your dog to a vet FOR ANY REASON within the next 30 days of surgery you MUST bring the pink sheet to let the vet know your dog has had Meloxicam on the date of surgery. Notifying your vet of this medication will make sure that whatever the vet does will interact with the Meloxicam. Young kittens received a different type of pre/post-op pain medication.

Q: Do you give vaccinations?
A: Yes, but only at the time of surgery. Visit New HOPE Clinic Dog Programs at: http://www.hopect.org/programs/dog-programs/ for other vaccines available and current pricing.

Q: Why do you ask if our dog has had its vaccinations?
A: The State of Connecticut requires all pets to be current on their rabies vaccinations. If your pet does not have a current certificate (and you must show proof) we are required to administer the additional vaccination at time of surgery.

Q: When should we vaccinate our puppy?
A: In general, vaccines should begin at 6 – 8 weeks of age and be given Every 2 – 4 weeks thereafter until the puppy is 16 weeks old.

Q: Can I come in just for vaccinations?
A: No, We can only give vaccinations at the time of surgery. We do have rabies clinics periodically during the year. Watch for them on our website.

Q: Do you microchip?
A: Yes!  We can insert a Home Again Microchip for $20.  If you prefer to bring your own microchip and plunger with you at the time of surgery, we will insert it for a nominal fee. Visit New HOPE Dog Programs at: http://www.hopect.org/programs/dog-programs/ for current pricing.

Q: What vaccinations can I get?
A: Visit New HOPE Dog Programs at: http://www.hopect.org/programs/dog-programs/ for current pricing.

Q: How do I care for the stitches after spaying?
A: We use dissolvable sutures to close the incision. Dissolvable sutures are placed under the skin and do not require removal because they will decompose on their own. The outer layer of skin is held together with skin glue that also dissolves.

Q: How do I know when there is an infection?
A: Look at your pet’s incision daily to check the progress of healing. Signs of infection include significant swelling and redness, discharge and bleeding. It is normal for the incision line to be a bit puffy and red immediately following the surgery.