How Anaesthesia and Pain Management Impact Welfare in Spay-Neuter Programs
World Small Animal Veterinary Association World Congress Proceedings, 2015
Paulo Steagall1, MV, Ms, PhD, DACVAA
1Department of Clinical Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Montréal, Saint-Hyacinthe, QC, Canada

Spay-neuter programs are becoming more popular as a mandatory component to decrease overpopulation and euthanasia of stray dogs and cats.1,2 Adequate anesthesia and pain management are crucial parts of successful canine and feline spay-neuter programs.3 These environments present a challenge for the veterinarian in regards to geography and limited personnel and drug/equipment availability. Both anesthetic and analgesic protocols will have to be tailored to each specific situation.3 The most ideal protocol should be reversible, economically viable, provide pain relief, avoid adverse effects, species-specific, and have a small injection volume.4-8 This session will provide guidelines for perioperative care (physical examination, patient housing, infectious control, minimal equipment), anesthetic-analgesic management (monitoring, drug protocols, fluid therapy, emergency setting, recovery), and general considerations based on current evidence and expert opinion. Particular anesthetic and analgesic protocols will be presented. The ultimate goal is to provide humane methods for neutering large number of cats and dogs and an alternative to massive euthanasia due to overpopulation.


1.  Sparkes AH, Bessant C, Cope K, et al. ISFM guidelines on population management and welfare of unowned domestic cats (Felis catus). J Feline Med Surg. 2013;15:811–817.

2.  Patronek GJ, Glickman LT, Beck AM, et al. Risk factors for relinquishment of dogs to an animal shelter. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 1996;209:572–581.

3.  Looney AL, Bohling MW, Bushby PA, et al. The association of shelter veterinarians veterinary medical care guidelines for spay-neuter programs. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2008;233:74–86.

4.  Williams LS, Levy JK, Robertson SA, et al. Use of the anesthetic combination of tiletamine, zolazepam, ketamine, and xylazine for neutering feral cats. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2002;220:1491–1495.

5.  Cistola AM, Golder FJ, Centonze LA, et al. Anesthetic and physiologic effects of tiletamine, zolazepam, ketamine, and xylazine combination (TKX) in feral cats undergoing surgical sterilization. J Feline Med Surg. 2004;6:297–303.

6.  Ko JC, Abbo LA, Weil AB, et al. A comparison of anesthetic and cardiorespiratory effects of tiletamine-zolazepam-butorphanol and tiletamine-zolazepam-butorphanol-medetomidine in cats. Vet Ther. 2007;8:164–176.

7.  Ko JC, Berman AG. Anesthesia in shelter medicine. Top Companion Anim Med. 2010;25:92–97.

8.  Faggella AM, Aronsohn MG. Anesthetic techniques for neutering 6- to 14-week-old kittens. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 1993;202:56–62.


Speaker Information
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Paulo Steagall, DMV, MS, PhD, DACVAA
Department of Clinical Sciences
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
University of Montréal
Saint-Hyacinthe, QC, Canada

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