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Spay & Neuter Information

The decision to spay or neuter your pet is an important one for pet owners. It can be the single best decision you make for their long-term welfare. By spaying or neutering your pet, you will help control pet overpopulation, which can prevent the euthanasia of healthy dogs and cats in shelters, simply because there aren’t enough homes to go around. There are also medical and behavioral benefits to spaying (female pets) and neutering (male pets) your animals.


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Please stop by any shelter to pick up a free spay/neuter voucher.

Keaau Shelter
16-873 Keaau Pahoa Hwy, Keaau, HI 96749
808-966-5458
9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.  7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Closed Sundays and Holidays.

Kona Shelter
74-5225 Queen Kaahumanu Hwy., Kailua-Kona, HI 96740
808-329-1175
9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Closed Sundays and Holidays.

Waimea Shelter
67-1611 Mamalahoa Hwy, Kamuela, HI 96743
808-885-4558
8:00 am to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Closed Sundays and Holidays.

HIHS also distributes free spay neuter vouchers through the Ali'i Veterinary Hospital in Ocean View. Office hours are Monday, Wednesday, Saturday 8am-4pm. The vouchers are accepted once a month at the Ali'i Veterinary Hospital Ocean View location with the surgery performed through Hawaii Island Humane Society.

If you have no means of transportation, please visit our Mobile Spay & Neuter Waggin' page to view the calendar of when the mobile clinic may be near you. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

What are the medical benefits of spaying or neutering my pet?

What are the medical benefits of spaying or neutering my pet?

         Your female pet will live a longer, healthier life. Spaying helps prevent uterine infections and breast tumors, which are malignant (cancerous) in about 50 percent of dogs and 90 percent of cats. Spaying your pet before her first heat offers the best protection from these diseases.

         Neutering your male companion prevents testicular cancer and some prostate problems.

Are there behavioral benefits to spaying or neutering?

Are there behavioral benefits to spaying or neutering?

         Your spayed female pet won't go into heat. While cycles can vary, female cats usually go into heat four to five days every three weeks during breeding season. In an effort to advertise for mates, they'll yowl and urinate more frequently—sometimes all over the house! Both female dogs and cats in heat can attract multiple males from far distances.

         Your male dog will be less likely to roam away from home. An intact male will do just about anything to find a mate, including finding creative ways to escape from the house or your yard. Once he's free to roam, he risks injury in traffic, attacks by wildlife, and fights with other male animals.

         Your neutered male may be better behaved. Unneutered dogs and cats are more likely to mark their territory by spraying strong-smelling urine all over the house or your yard. Your dog might be less likely to mount other dogs, people, and inanimate objects after he’s neutered. Some aggression problems may be avoided by early neutering.

What does it cost to spay or neuter my pet?

What does it cost to spay or neuter my pet?

  • If you choose to have the surgery done at HIHS, there are no additional fees - it is completely FREE. Of course, donations are always accepted to help us alleviate some of the cost. 
  • Free vouchers are also available at HIHS. These vouchers can be taken to participating veterinarians. Please check with your veterinarian to see if they participate in the program. Some offices may require pre-appointments and/or testing, pain medications or antibiotics that are not covered by the vouchers. Confirm any out-of-pocket expenses with the veterinarian and let them know you have the voucher prior to the time of procedure.
  • Spaying/neutering your pet is highly cost-effective for you. Spaying or neutering your pet is far less expensive than the cost of having and caring for a litter.

How long will it take to make an appointment?

How long will it take to make an appointment?

Wait time for an appointment is typically 2-4 weeks. Please be patient with our staff while they find you the next available appointment. Let us know if your pet needs to have the procedure done sooner and we will do our best to accommodate you.

How old does my pet need to be before he/she can be spayed or neutered?

How old does my pet need to be before he/she can be spayed or neutered?

Healthy dogs and cats can be sterilized as young as eight weeks, if they are over two pounds in body weight. Kittens can get pregnant as early as four months and puppies as early as six months, and that means an unexpected litter can happen sooner than you think. By spaying and neutering your pet early, you can stop accidents before they happen.

What other services are provided for pets during surgery?

What other services are provided for pets during surgery?

         Nail trim, offered for an additional $5 per animal with spay/neuter surgery

         Microchip, offered for an additional $10 per animal with spay/neuter surgery

What should I expect from HIHS with the spay/neuter clinics?

What should I expect from HIHS with the spay/neuter clinics?

Expect High Quality

   At HIHS, we take surgery very seriously. Although spays and neuters are routine procedures, doing surgery on an animal is never taken lightly.

  We follow all guidelines by nationally recognized organizations regarding high-quality high-volume spay/neuter clinics

  The surgical techniques used by our veterinarians are comparable to top veterinary hospitals in our community

   We use the same anesthetic substances and surgical supplies used by top veterinary hospitals in our community

   Our surgeries are assisted only by trained technical staff, not lay person volunteers

   Although we do one surgery right after another, each patient is supervised individually throughout anesthetic induction, preparation, surgery and recovery

   The majority of our patients recover in spacious stainless steel cages. Only a minority (usually cats) recover in portable crates.

Expect Few Complications

   It is rare for our patients to experience problems or infections

   It is even rarer for our patients (less than .1%) to experience an adverse reaction to anesthesia

Even while exercising great care and respect for each patient, we still perform numerous surgeries

   We do about 20-30 surgeries each surgery day

   We have 4 surgery days a week in Keaau and 3 days in Kona

   We do 4500-5500 surgeries annually (nearly 50,000 in the last 9 years)

   We recently purchased a Mobile Spay & Neuter Waggin’ to increase our spay/neuter efforts

The more pets that have surgery, the better for HIHS

   The amount of dogs and cats we intake every year is decreasing

   A lower intake means less euthanasia

   We work very hard to make sure every pet has the opportunity for surgery

   Organizing the surgery program requires much time, skill and commitment especially because we keep it flexible to meet the various needs of our community members

Which animals will be accepted for surgery?

Which animals will be accepted for surgery?

All animals will be examined by a veterinarian to determine if they appear healthy and can undergo surgery. We generally accept:

         Healthy dogs and cats

         Puppies and kittens who are at least eight weeks old and weigh at least two pounds

         Female dogs in heat

         Female cats in heat

         Feral cats. Feral cats will be tested for Feline AIDS and Leukemia prior to surgery. We generally host a feral cat clinic once a month. Please check with HIHS staff on dates and scheduling.

Which animals will NOT be accepted for surgery at HIHS?

Which animals will NOT be accepted for surgery at HIHS?

         Rabbits, guinea pigs, livestock, or any animal who is not a cat or dog

         Unhealthy animals or those with contagious illnesses (Animals should not be coughing or sneezing, and should not have watery eyes, runny noses, mange, or ringworm.)

Staff may encourage spay/neuter at a Veterinary Hospital for certain animals, depending on the findings of the veterinary examination:

         Female dogs and cats who are nursing puppies and kittens (It is ideal to wait to spay a mother until one month after she weans her litter.)

         Male animals with only one testicle

         Pregnant cats and dogs

         Animals over five years of age

         Short-nosed (brachycephalic) breeds, such as bulldogs, pugs and Persian cats

How should I prepare my pet(s) for spay/neuter surgery?

How should I prepare my pet(s) for spay/neuter surgery?

         Animals should not have food after midnight the day prior to surgery.

         A small amount of water the morning of surgery is ok.

         Bring cats in carriers with one cat per carrier, unless they are kittens from the same litter.

         Bring puppies in a carrier, or carry them. Puppies less than 1 year old or those not yet fully vaccinated should not be on the ground at any time at the shelter or in the clinic.

         Bring dogs older than 1 year old or those that have been fully vaccinated on leashes.

What occurs when I arrive at HIHS the day or surgery?

What occurs when I arrive at HIHS the day or surgery?

         Clients should arrive at the shelter between 7:30 A.M and 8:00 A.M. An HIHS representative will assist with animal check-in.

         Be prepared to wait up to 30 minutes for intake of animals.

         Please be prepared to pick up your pet at approximately 4:00 P.M.

         While waiting, please be courteous and considerate of staff, fellow clients, and private property. Please pick up after your animal.

How many pets can I bring for spay/neuter surgery?

How many pets can I bring for spay/neuter surgery?

  • HIHS encourages Big Island residents to spay/neuter all household cats and dogs.
  • Residents are welcome to bring all pets, but due to high demand for services, a policy of two pets maximum per household, per surgery day MAY be applied. You must obtain a voucher for each pet prior to surgery. Stop by any shelter to pick up a free voucher and schedule your appointment.
  • We work very hard to make sure every pet has the opportunity for surgery, so if we cannot schedule them all in one day, we will do our best to accommodate you.

How should I care for my pet after surgery?

How should I care for my pet after surgery?

When your dog or cat is discharged from surgery, we will provide you with instructions for post-operative care. You can also download the instructions here:

Post-Operative Care Instructions (PDF)

Other tips to help your pet recover:

         Provide your pet with a quiet place to recover indoors and away from other animals.

         Prevent your pet from running and jumping for up to 10 days following surgery, or as long as your veterinarian recommends.

         Prevent your pet from licking the incision site, which may cause infection, by distracting your pet with treats or by using an Elizabethan collar (E-collar).

         Avoid bathing your pet for at least ten days after surgery.

         Check the incision site daily to confirm proper healing.

         For feral cats, return the cat to the same area that they were trapped before releasing. Provide food and water.

If you notice any redness, swelling or discharge at the surgery site, or if the incision is open, please contact HIHS or your veterinarian. Also call HIHS or your veterinarian if your pet is lethargic, has a decreased appetite, is vomiting, or has diarrhea or any other concerns following surgery.

Debunking spay/neuter myths and misconceptions

Debunking spay/neuter myths and misconceptions

         Spaying or neutering will not cause your pet to become overweight. Lack of exercise and overfeeding will cause your pet to pack on the extra pounds—not spaying or neutering. Your pet will remain fit and trim as long as you continue to provide exercise and monitor their food intake.

         Neutering is not as a quick fix for all behavior problems. Although neutering your pet often reduces undesirable behaviors caused by a higher level of testosterone, there’s no guarantee that your pet’s behavior will change after he’s neutered. Although the surgery will reduce the amount of testosterone in your pet’s system, it won’t eliminate the hormone completely. Neutering will also not reduce behaviors that your pet has learned or that have become habitual. The effects of neutering are largely dependent on your pet’s individual personality, physiology and history. It is best to neuter your pet early.