SNAP Executive Director James Weedon Joins National Spay-Neuter Task Force
Dr. James Weedon, Executive Director of the Spay-Neuter Assistance Program, Inc., was an invited participant at a recent shelter medicine summit sponsored by Imagine Humane, a project of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and PetSmart Charities.
The goal of the summit was to “to advance the concept of high-volume, high-quality spaying and neutering as a means of reducing pet and feral animal overpopulation.” Attendees at the summit formed an interdisciplinary task force to establish best-practice guidelines for spaying and neutering.
The task force seeks to set up standards of care for patient selection, examination, anesthesia, monitoring, surgical procedures, recovery, analgesia, treatment of complications, permanent identification of sterilized animals, record keeping, and liability. Accomplishing these standards will be possible through various approaches to increase the feasibility of meeting them under a varying range of program budgets.
The task force identified misconceptions that hinder the establishment of shelter-based programs and which must therefore be overcome if such programs are to proliferate. Among these are that the quality of care provided is inferior to that provided by full-service veterinarians. The task force indicated that the reality is quite the opposite and asserted that a high standard of patient care is both essential and achievable even in primitive settings.
Another misconception identified by the task force is that spay-neuter programs compete with full-service veterinarians. Conference participant Dr. Brenda Griffin noted that shelter clinics and programs typically encourage their clients to establish a relationship with a veterinarian in their community for ongoing care.
Additional goals of the task force include recruitment and training for shelter-based programs, development of recommendations for public relations with respect to the veterinary community, and defining metrics for the evaluation of outcomes. Four subgroups were established to address standards of care, public awareness, outcome assessment with respect to the effectiveness of shelter-based spay/neuter programs, and recruitment strategies.
The task force will meet to continue its work April 13-15 at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, LA.