Before the clinic
• Notify and explore potential collaboration with appropriate agencies and
organizations: Municipal vets, Health or agriculture departments, vet associations,
vet or tech schools, other Animal Protection Organizations, private vets, public or
• Get permits from appropriate agencies if using foreign vets or bringing in
• Assess current animal population to determine sterilization goal
• Procure a location (see below)
• Recruit volunteers
• Begin Community and humane education program
- Brochures, fliers, posters, presentations, etc. about the importance of spay/
neuter and the problems associated with pet overpopulation. The idea is to
get the community excited about participating and convinced that they
have the same goals that you do.
- Humane ed programs in schools addressing local issues.
- All activities should aim to encourage participation in upcoming clinic.
- Newpapers, radio, cars w/ loudspeakers, local TV, direct mail postcards,
fliers, utility bills, community newsletters, posters, tabling, pre-banner at
site location. Not just ads, but also feature stories and interviews.
- Churches, community centers, schools
- Seek in-kind donations for clinic location, hotel rooms for volunteers,
meals for volunteers, supplies (i.e. cleaning supplies, vet supplies, tables,
generator, etc.), advertising, printing, local transportation
- Seek sponsorship from hotels and others involved in tourism, pet supply
stores, members of the community
- Consider selling retail products as part of the clinic. For example, you
might sell collars or additional vaccinations.
- Assess whether owners will be asked to pay anything.
Logistical questions to consider
• How will you ensure you’re reaching the target demographic (i.e. people who
would not otherwise have their animals sterilized)? For example, you might target
rural areas with no local veterinarian or low-income urban areas.
• Will you focus solely on owned animals? If not, what resourced do you have to work
with stray or feral animals?
• Do you have vets who can handle early-age or pregnant spays?
• Do you have the cooperation or at least permission of government and private
vets? How will you foster a positive relationship with them? One option is to refer
clients to local vets for follow-up booster vaccinations or other follow-up care.
• What kind of data can/should you collect during the clinic? How will it be
collected and used? For example, a survey that shows that most of your clients
have never seen a private vet can bolster your argument that you’re reaching your
target demographic. You can also follow disease incidence, survivorship of
animals, age distribution, etc.
• If you’re moving from one clinic site to another, do you have transportation for all
people and supplies? Will you be able to send a team ahead to procure supplies
and start set-up?
• Will you pre-book appointments, or take clients on a walk-in basis? In
communities where there is no community coordinator, pre-booking appointments
might be more challenging.
• How many animals can you sterilize, and how will you pace the day? A good vet
can do a surgery every 20 minutes with a skilled and efficient team. A realistic
clinic-wide goal is 25-50 surgeries per day. Intake should stop early in the day to
allow time for the later animals to recover. Ideally, you can define an ‘intake period,’
i.e. 9am-12pm. Set a maximum number for the day and cut intake off at that point,
regardless of time. Plan to do fewer surgeries in the first several days as the team
gets accustomed to working together.
• Will you test for specific diseases (i.e. heartworm, ehrlichea), and if so, how will you
handle a positive result?
• Is your location easily accessible on foot? If not, will you have the capacity (both
equipment and personnel) to bring in animals yourself?
• What is your protocol for euthanasia of very sick animals? How is the decision
• How will you dispose of biowaste?
• Facility must have electricity (for electric clippers and surgery lights), running
water (for cleaning), and protection from the elements
• Separate spaces for: Waiting area, intake table, prep area, surgical suite,
immediate recovery, later recovery. Also space for exam-only or vaccination-
only animals. If the clinic is outdoors, these areas can be marked off using
• Volunteers needed
- People to speak with incoming clients and log appropriate information.
- People to weigh and record exact weights on each animal
- People to premedicate animals.
- People to induce, prep and bring into surgery.
- Vets to surgicate, and at least one floater tech for the surgery suite
- People for immediate recovery
- Person for later recovery and to discharge animals
- People to handle non-surgical cases – i.e. vaccination only, deworming,
- Person to clean and sterilize surgical packs
• Paperwork needed – translated as necessary:
- Intake log: Lists each animal by number, description, service to be
- Acknowledgement of Risks signature form
- Vaccination record for owners
- Drug log for controlled substances (if required)
- Anesthesia protocol cheatsheet
- Paper to follow each animal listing pertinent info – number, what is being
done, weight, medical notes, time of premed and induction, etc.
- Discharge paperwork. This should include home care instructions as well
as information on local vets or doctors who can see the animal in case of
Requirements by area
• Waiting area: Shade and sun protection, chairs, leashes/kennels.
• Intake area: Volunteer must be fluent in local language. Table and chair, accurate
scales on a flat surface, duct tape to mark numbers on the animals, regular and
sharpie pens, clipboard for intake log, information poster or flier about
sterilization, Acknowledgement of Risks forms.
• Prep area: Table(s), sharps container, electric clippers, trachea tubes with material
to tie in, catheters, anesthesia drugs, anesthesia/controlled substance log, muzzles,
gauze squares, surgical scrub, fluids and fluid sets.
• Surgical suite (not including surgery supplies): For each vet – table, ties, table for
surgical instruments, light over surgical table, v-trough, hook for fluids. Also
cleaning supplies for between patients.
• Immediate recovery: Blankets and towels, hot water bottles (or easy access to
them when necessary), thermometers, stethoscope, tattoo equipment if needed
• Later recovery: At least one volunteer should be fluent in the local language.
Vaccines with syringes, freezer or cooler with ice for vaccines, deworming
medication (i.e. strongid) including any take-home doses, muzzles, vaccination
record, discharge instructions, kennels, slip leashes, “goodie bags” if used. Ideas
for goodie bags: Food sample, collar/leash, flea and tick prevention, treats, balls and
• Exam-only or vaccination/deworming-only animals: Vaccines with syringes,
freezer or cooler with ice for vaccines, deworming medication, vaccination