frequently asked questions

Q. How old should a pet be to get fixed?

A. Many vets perform spay or neuter surgeries when the animal is around 4-6 months of age. It is important to note that cats can get pregnant as early as four months of age and siblings will mate if not separated.

Q. Can a pet be too old to be fixed? 

A. Cats or dogs at any age are eligible to be fixed our local veterinarian partners. The veterinarian  may require preoperative blood work prior to performing surgery on an animal 8 years of age or older. That determination will be made at your first appointment.

Q. Shouldn’t a female dog or cat have one litter or at least one heat cycle before being spayed? 

A. On the contrary, a female dog or cat has the best chance of good health if spayed before her first heat. Early spaying reduces the risk of mammary tumors and prevents other health problems, such as life-threatening uterine infections, before aging brings greater susceptibility.

Q. What is a feral cat?

A. We define a feral cat as a cat that is not owned, lives outdoors, is not socialized, and cannot be touched by humans.  

Q. There are feral and free-roaming cats in my area. Can they be fixed at a low cost? 

A. Yes - feral cat services are performed at a free to the community charge. Feral cat services include: spay/neuter, rabies vaccination, and a MANDATORY ear-tip to identify cats that have already been fixed. Feral cats will need to be trapped and brought to the veterinarian at the responsibility of the trapper.  Rio Cucharas Vet Clinic (RCVC) offers a Trap Neuter and Release (TNR) feral cat clinic that is sponsored by LHAWA on the 1st Saturday of each month.  Trappers can drop the cats off in a cage at the vet clinic carport with their name and phone number attached. Drop off is 8am and pick up is at 12pm. Please reach out to us if you have any questions about feral cats.

Q. Why should I spay or neuter my pet?

A. Pets that are not fixed can be prone to undesirable and sometimes dangerous behavior. Unfixed cats and dogs are more likely to urinate on the carpet and furniture. Unfixed male cats have strong-smelling urine due to the high levels of testosterone. The odor lessens after being neutered.

Unfixed dogs may be more likely to bite or attack other animals. Fixing female animals before their first heat cycle greatly reduces the chance of numerous cancers and prevents unwanted litters.

Spaying and neutering saves money, saves lives, and can help your pet live a longer, happier life. You’ll be happier, too!


What If I Don’t Qualify for SNAP?


If you don’t qualify for SNAP, you can ask if the veterinarian offers other financial assistance such as Care Credit or payment plans.  Care Credit can be applied for online at:

In addition, there are many local organizations throughout Southern Colorado that offer low-cost spay/neuter opportunities. You may want to look into those other programs to see if you qualify for services.