Training for VT veterinarians to improve spay/neuter skills and speed

Vermonters are having a hard time getting their dogs and cats spayed and neutered because of a shortage of veterinarians, compounded by the COVID pandemic, according to the executive director of the Vermont Veterinary Medical Association.

“There’s not only a shortage of veterinarians but a shortage of staff and technicians as well,” Linda Waite-Simpson said. “A lot of places have had to triage who gets into the clinic and who gets put on hold.”

Pets requiring spaying and neutering are often the ones put on hold, to take care of animals with broken bones and other serious conditions, Waite-Simpson said.

The surgery area at Vermont Companion Animal Neutering in Middlesex.

In addition, she said, the rise of the delta variant has caused most veterinary practices to return to curbside service, adding time and trouble to providing care, as pets are shuttled back and forth to their owners waiting in their cars.

Waite-Simpson said veterinarians can’t risk having to shut down their practices for days at a time because of exposure to the COVID-19 virus.

One-day training hopes to address spay/neuter backlog

In response to the backlog, the Vermont Humane Federation is sponsoring a one-day training for veterinarians who want to improve their spay/neuter skills and speed.

Dr. Laura Ladds doing a spay surgery on a cat at Vermont Companion Animal Neutering in Middlesex.

The training will be held on Oct. 4 at Vermont Companion Animal Neutering in Middlesex, a clinic dedicated to “high-quality, high-volume, low-cost spaying and neutering,” according to the executive director.

“That’s all we do, we don’t do anything else,” Pamela Krausz said.

Krausz said the clinic, known as VT-CAN, performs more than 3,000 operations yearly and has spayed or neutered about 40,000 animals since it was established in August 2008. Spaying is the procedure performed on female animals to prevent pregnancies, while neutering generally refers to male animals.