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Indiana animal clinics temporarily stop spay and neuter services amid virus

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Many businesses are operating differently due to COVID-19. Animals hospitals and clinics are not offering spay and neutering services and are only conducting emergency surgeries.

Veterinarians are also limiting the use of personal protective equipment during the pandemic.

“We do know that animals can reproduce pretty rapidly. Cats can reproduce as early as 4-6 months of age and there is potential to have a population burst right now without spays and neuters going on,” said Tom Dock, director of communications and certified veterinary journalist at Noah’s Animal Hospital.

It’s raising concerns as cat mating season starts now and lasts through November.

“Certainly there’s a potential for an increase in dogs, too, but I think that we don’t have the feral population of dogs or the stray population of dogs that we do with cats, so kittens are really the big concern at this point,” Dock said.

Local animal shelters have seen an increase in adoptions and fostering animals. Fortunately, those cats and dogs have been spayed or neutered. A spokesperson for Indianapolis Animal Care Services said they’ve had 536 adoptions since March 1 and have also received interest in fostering animals. IndyHumane is also seeing a rise in fostering.

“Since March 20 when we implemented our new COVID-19 procedures for adoptions and foster care, we have sent a total of 315 animals to foster. Currently we have 183 in foster homes and to give you a comparison of last year, we had 111,” said chief development officer Amy Tobias.

It’s recommended to keep a closer eye on your pets if they haven’t been spayed or neutered.

“We need to find barriers to keep them in the house. If you’ve got multiple cats inside that are still intact you’re going to have to separate them,” added Dock.

It’s advised to not keep dog outside alone, even with a chain. There’s a chance your dog can still maneuver around or jump the fence if there’s another dog nearby.