Help Your Pets: Low-Cost Spay/Neuter Clinic in Ocala, FL

Black and white cat in a pet carrier.
Author: Natalie Kienzle
Posted: October 18, 2023
Modified: October 18, 2023

When a low-cost spay/neuter clinic in Ocala, Florida opens its doors, there’s no shortage of the good it can do. It’s not about providing cheap services or cutting corners, but about making a service critical to animal welfare affordable for all families and the pets they love.

Organizations like The Humane Society of the United States and ASPCA report that millions of pets are euthanized every year. The vast majority are due to a very simple reason: too many pets, and not enough homes. Affordable spay/neuter services can change this. They reduce unwanted litters and ease shelter burdens. These leads to fewer strays and improved communities.

Increasing access to spay/neuter programs has been at the heart of VOCAL’s mission from the very start. 

Budget-Friendly Solutions For Spay and Neuter Services 

Let’s skip over how cute puppies and kittens are and get to the main point: spaying and neutering your pets is critical. It’s about good health, behavior, and being a responsible pet owner. 

The good news is that this important procedure doesn’t have to break the bank. VOCAL’s Community Clinic offers an affordable spay and neuter service for dogs and cats right here in Ocala, FL.  So if you’re living in North Central Florida and own a pet, read on.

Why Should You Consider Spaying or Neutering Your Pet?

There are a still a large amount of pet owners out there that see sterilization procedures, which is what spay and neuter surgeries are, as unnecessary. 

Such pet owners support their decisions based on many factors. Perhaps it’s something they’ve simply never done before, or perhaps it’s their way of saving money on what most assume is a costly venture. 

As part of VOCAL’s mission, we’d like to help our community understand both the health and social benefits of such procedures.  

low-cost spay/neuter clinic in ocala, fl assistant holds a dog waiting for a medical exam.

What Does it Mean to Spay and Neuter a Pet?

To begin, let’s review exactly what we mean when we over ‘spay and neuter services’. These are common terms used in the animal medical field to describe permanent medical sterilization of pets. The ultimate goal of a spay or neuter procedure is to prevent the birth of a litter. 

A female dog or cat undergoes a ‘spay’ procedure equivalent to an ovario-hysterectomy. Under anesthesia, the uterus and ovaries are surgically removed, making it impossible for the pet to conceive. 

Sterilization of male dogs and cats is referred to as a ‘neuter’. In a similar procedure under anesthesia, the male’s testicles are removed, rendering them incapable of producing sperm. 

Either procedure can be performed by experienced veterinarians in less than 30 minutes. Most dogs and cats will experience a mild discomfort for a few days. The younger the pet, the easier and faster recovery is.  

Now that we’ve explained the procedures themselves, it’s time to understand why it’s actually beneficial to your pet. 

What are the Health Benefits for Your Pet?

A pet that is intact, meaning they still have all their reproductive capabilities, is actually at risk for a variety of medical concerns compared to those who have been spayed or neutered. 

The benefits for males and females are slightly different, but they tend to translate to one thing: healthier, longer-living pets. 

How so? Let’s start with the benefits for female dogs and cats. 

  • Prevention of Uterine Infections: Each time females go into heat, they risk contracting an infection of the uterus known as a pyometra. This is a condition where the uterus swells and becomes closed off. Fluids and putrid materials become trapped, leading to severe infection and even death if left untreated. 
  • Decreased Risk of Mammary Gland Tumors: Heat cycles, especially in canines, place females at greater risk of mammary tumors, 50% of which are usually malignant. By spaying before puppies and kittens enter their first heat cycle, you can nearly eliminate the possibility of such tumors later on in their life. 

You may have heard from well-intentioned individuals that females shouldn’t be spayed before they’ve undergone their first heat cycle. The truth is that there is no medical support to this reasoning, and studies within veterinary colleges show the exact opposite.  

Risk of Mammary Cancer in Female Dogs

Risk PercentageTime of Spay
0.5%Before First Heat Cycle
8%After First Heat Cycle
26%After Second Heat Cycle
Source: American College of Veterinary Surgeons

Allowing even two heat cycles means that your fur-baby now has a one in four chance of contracting a malignant cancer that could have been prevented with a simple 30-minute procedure. 

What about male dogs and cats? They also reduce their risk of medical complications. 

  • Reduced Risk of Testicular Cancer
  • Lower Rates of Prostate Disease

These aren’t minor issues, and there is no guarantee that they won’t strike when your pets are still in their prime of life. Cancer at any age is both life-threatening and can lead to long-term suffering, especially if it goes undetected initially. 

Behavioral Advantages: What Changes Can You Expect?

Another common objection from owners stems from the belief that spaying and neutering their animals will severely change their personalities and behaviors. 

While there is some truth to this, the overwhelming majority of behavioral changes are both minor and positive

By removing major reproductive organs in both males and females, hormone levels for testosterone and estrogen respectively, are reduced. Why does this matter?

In males, less testosterone is linked to:

  • Reduced aggression
  • Fewer mounting behaviors
  • Decreased tendencies to roam
  • Fewer instances of territory marking and spraying

In females, less estrogen is linked to:

  • Fewer mood swings and aggression attributed to heat cycles
  • More predictable behavior
  • Fewer escape attempts triggered by heat cycles

Left intact, male and female animals will seek each other out, especially when females are in heat. Roaming animals are more likely to get lost, become victims of busy roadways, or even get injured in fights with each other. 

Reducing aggressive behaviors in dogs makes them easier to train and socialize, improving the safety of everyone. Even if you have a dog as a means of protecting your property, it’s important not to confuse aggression with security. 

Uncontrolled aggression isn’t protection. In the long-run, it’s more likely to create problems rather than solve them.

That said – neutering male dogs will not automatically make an aggressive pet docile and sweet. The older the dog, the more likely it is for the behavior to be ingrained. This is yet another reason to complete these procedures at a young age and make sure that all dogs, regardless of size, gender, or breed, have been taught basic obedience and been socialized. 

Kitten alone inside of a kennel.

Why are Affordable Spay/Neuter Programs Crucial for Controlling the Homeless Pet Population?

Pets end up on the street for many reasons. Many are abandoned. Others have become lost after roaming too far from home. Even worse, many pets are homeless because they were born that way, especially when it comes to cats.  

These animals are more likely to get sick, get injured, and pose a public health concern on several fronts. The single, most effective method to reducing the homeless pet population is through spay/neuter programs designed to stop uncontrolled breeding.

The Overpopulation Crisis: How Serious is it?

The issue of pet overpopulation isn’t merely an emotional concern—it’s a serious, quantifiable problem that affects communities in many ways. 

According to census reports collected by the University of Florida as parts of the state’s mandated Shelter Animal Census, shelters took in 357,418 dogs and cats in 2021. Of those, just over 10,000 were surrendered by owners requesting to have their pets euthanized. 

It’s estimated there are still tens of thousands left roaming in both urban and rural areas. 

Why should these numbers worry you?

  • Shelter Burdens: Overpopulation forces shelters to operate beyond capacity, stretching out resources and limiting the quality of care available.
  • Economic Factors: Running animal control services, county shelter operations, and public health interventions cost taxpayers millions and are a critical burden in rural communities.
  • Increased Public Health Risks: Homeless pets and strays are more likely to spread parasites and diseases that can be transmitted to humans, the number one culprit being rabies. 
  • Safety Concerns: Alone or in packs, stray dogs have been known to cause traffic incidents as people try to avoid them. Even worse, packs of large feral dogs have been known to attack people. 

Understanding the gravity of the overpopulation crisis underscores the essential role of affordable spay/neuter services. With the challenges being this acute, the solutions must be equally aggressive and accessible. 

Programs like VOCAL’s Affordable Spay/Neuter Clinic in Ocala, FL, are not just beneficial; they’re absolutely necessary for community well-being.

The Positive Impact of Affordable Spaying and Neutering

Organizations and communities that push for increased access and education on spay/neuter programs are having a positive impact on the community and in reducing the numbers of homeless pets. 

The most beneficial aspects include:

  • Reduced numbers of stray animals: Fewer animals on the streets means fewer are subjected to the hardships of a stray life, including disease, starvation, and abuse.
  • Lower euthanasia rates in shelters: Spay/neuter programs lead to fewer unwanted animals, which means fewer animals are euthanized in overcrowded shelters

An unexpected litter of puppies or kittens means additional food expenses, medical care, and a rush to find suitable homes. Considering some large dogs can have litters of 10 or more, finding suitable homes for them all is challenging. 

Removing the possibility of litters altogether is the better option by far. Why does affordability matter here? Because not everyone can afford the often high costs of veterinary care, especially those of surgical procedures. 

VOCAL seeks to make high-quality, low-cost spay/neuter services affordable and available to everyone, regardless of income status. Doing so improves the circumstances of both families and pets in our most critical need communities. 

Inside VOCAL’s Affordable Spay/Neuter Clinic in Ocala, FL

The VOCAL Community Clinic and Resource Center has been set up to offer high-quality spay/neuter services for both dogs and cats.

We work with licensed and highly qualified licensed veterinarians who perform all surgeries and have the assistance of trained technicians and support staff.

Prices for spay/neuter services are as follows:

  • Dogs: $110
  • Cats: $55
  • Feral Cats: $35

Aside from helping current pet owners, VOCAL is also an active voice in encouraging the humane Trap/Neuter/Release programs involving feral cats. There are a number of feral cat colonies scattered throughout the county.

Felines have proven to be adept at surviving and thriving in feral or semi-wild conditions. In recent years, efforts to control such populations have shifted from mass euthanasia to TNR programs. 

These control and reduce population numbers humanely without putting undo stress on animal control services. 

Dog's heart rate being listened to through a stethoscope.

Who is Eligible for these Affordable Services?

The spay/neuter clinic is located in Ocala, FL to provide easy access for all Marion County residents. However, we have also extended our services to help smaller outreach programs and rescue partners in the surrounding communities. 

No one is turned away because of where their address may be. No type of credit or income check is requested from pet parents seeking our services. 

Multiple forms of payment are accepted:

  • Cash
  • All major credit cards
  • Payment plans through Scratchpay

The goal is to make it possible for all pet owners to be able to afford these services, and thus encourage large-scale community participation. 

Booking an Appointment: What’s the Process?

We’ve tried to make the process of booking spay and neuter appointments simple and hassle-free. 

Just follow these five steps:

  1. Visit our Comprehensive Services Page and click on ‘Book an Appointment’ 
  2. You’ll be directed to a step-by-step form that collects the information necessary to set an appointment, including your pet’s species, gender, and approximate weight. 
  3. Users can accept from a range of available appointment dates
  4. Confirm and book your pet’s appointment with a $20 deposit that will later be credited towards the full cost of the procedures
  5. Before the day of the actual procedure, our staff will reach out to confirm additional details. 

Just like that, your appointment is set, and your pet is another step closer to living a longer, healthier life. 

We do ask that owners provide documentation of a current rabies vaccine. This is required as part of Florida law. You can still book the appointment without a current rabies vaccine, and one will be administered the day of the procedure. The cost will simply be added on to your invoice. 

A one-year rabies vaccine costs $15 for dogs and cats, regardless of age. 

What Can You Expect on the Day of the Low-Cost Procedure?

On the day of your pet’s spay or neuter surgery, you’ll be dropping them off at the VOCAL clinic. Your pet will need to be placed under general anesthesia and be given ample time to recover once the process is complete. 

VOCAL has set up the process to ensure your pets are still getting the highest-quality care.

  • All surgeries are performed by a qualified and licensed veterinarian
  • Physical exams are conducted before the procedure
  • On average, the procedure is completed in less than 30 minutes
  • Dogs are provided with an e-collar that prevents them from damaging the incision
  • All pets receive appropriate pain medication and are monitored as they come out of anesthesia

Once you arrive to pick up your pet, a qualified technician will review some basic post-operative care needs. You’ll then be able to arrange payment for the reminder of the procedure balance and head home. 

Cats dropped off for TNR procedures must also be picked up for release back to their colonies. As part of the TNR, an ear of the cat will be tipped as physical proof of the operation. They will also be given a rabies vaccine and a dose of flea medication.

Your fur baby may act sluggish or tired for a few days. This is normal. If you do have other concerns, we recommend that you follow up with your regular veterinarian.

Make a Positive Difference in Your Pet’s Life: Schedule Your Spay/Neuter Procedure Today

Loving and caring for your pet is both a privilege and a responsibility. We at VOCAL want to help make it easier. 

Schedule your dog or cat’s low-cost spay/neuter surgery today. You’ll be making a difference not just in your pet’s life, but in our community at large. 

For more questions, give us a call at (352) 289-0800

Want to Help More?

Join our community of volunteers and rescue partners as we work to spread VOCAL’s message and mission. 

Interested in donating to our cause? Find out how your funds contribute to covering medical costs, expanding our pet food bank, and finding pets their forever home.

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