A program is often a nonprofit organization that enlists the help of local veterinarians to provide affordable/low-cost spay/neuter for the cats/dogs of people who cannot otherwise afford the service.
Some of these programs are local, and involve only one to five veterinarians. Other programs such as Pet Assistance Foundation of Southern California cover part of a state, and yet others cover an entire state - like the S.N.A.P. program in Maryland or the New Hampshire Spay and Altering Service. Some of these larger programs have 150 or more veterinarians on their lists.
For information on how to start a referral program, click here.
A spay/neuter program is based on an agreement between a licensed veterinarian and an organization. The veterinarian charges an agreed-upon fee for clients in need who are referred to him or her. For an example of SpayUSA's agreement, click here.
A local not-for-profit group may form a program by finding a veterinarian, agreeing upon a set of fees (such as: male cat $__, female cat $__, cat in heat $__, etc.) and signing an agreement that includes the procedures for payment. We recommend direct payment to the vet at the time of service, be it the full agreed upon price or a co-pay predetermined by the group. Most local groups set up a phone line for their spay program, promote it locally, and raise subsidy money for helping the clients who cannot even afford the discount rate - for example, people who feed colonies of cats.
***One formula that has been successfully used in a number of places is to have the veterinarian reduce his/her fees for the one visit by a third, the client pays a third, and the local group contributes a third if the client is truly destitute or has many animals.***
Clinics are veterinary facilities where spay/neuter surgeries performed. Most of these are stationery. In recent years specialized high-volume clinics have evolved, in which highly efficient techniques are used, and a single vet and his/her assistants can perform 50 to 80 surgeries daily.