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With low population density and fewer local resources, rural remote spay/neuter programs greatly differ from those serving urban areas.  Keeping overhead low is the key to maintaining programs that are affordable and effective. Spay FIRST! operates and mentors numerous spay/neuter programs specifically designed for chronically impoverished communities.


M*A*S*H stands for “mobile animal surgery hospital”.


In this format, temporary spay/neuter clinics rely on equipment (anesthesia machines, surgery tables, etc.) to be set up in a borrowed building or tent.  M*A*S*H clinics are run by a dedicated team that includes a local host organization and visiting veterinary professionals.

M*A*S*H clinics are ideal in areas where no local spay neuter/option exists and in which it is too remote for transporting animals to any other clinic within the region.

M*A*S*H is the most cost effective model to set up and run.  However, it is a labor intensive and requires excellent volunteer support.  A number of states require an inspection of veterinary premises, and as M*A*S*H is a temporary setup it cannot be inspected. 

*Certain states may prohibit this model


Mini clinics are a standing clinic model that operate in low cost (or donated) space. They require low-overhead, part time staff, and limited volunteer support. They work well in a spare room at an animal shelter or an office trailer on existing shelter property. These spaces will already have the required animal friendly zoning and utilities in place.

Mini clinics are ideal for areas with populations under 100,000 people who live within reasonable driving distance (50 miles).  These clinics offer many benefits. They are setup to remain on site, and thus can be compliant with inspections that limit some of the other temporary clinic models. 


An “off board” recovery (OBR) mobile spay/neuter setup is a mobile unit that’s sole purpose is a surgical room.  It is parked next to a rented or donated building that is used as the waiting and recovery areas during the limited time clinic.

This model removes limitations caused by constrained cage space in smaller units and is far more cost effective than a conventional mobile spay/neuter setup.  In some circumstances, it may be a semi-permanent solution for providing spay/neuter services.
Similar to M*A*S*H, an OBR involves a visiting veterinary team that works directly with a local host organization.

*Certain states may prohibit this model


Private Practice Partnerships use a local private clinic instead of a “visiting” or stationary spay/neuter model. This is the least labor-intensive rural model and the lowest cost start up, yet can equal or exceed the number surgeries provided by the other models. This is the only spay/neuter model that requires no major fundraising in order to open.

A local veterinary clinic provides a limited time slot outside of normal operating hours to offer high volume spay/neuter at a reduced cost. This is a great start-up model if a private practice fully dedicates itself to the model. 

*Automatically compliant with all state laws


Confronted with a rate of dog bites that is up to five times the national average, Native American tribes have increasingly engaged high volume spay/neuter services to address animal overpopulation.  Programs serving regions in which free-roaming dogs are culturally a part of the fiber of the community should offer spay/neuter at zero cost, as people are often caring for dogs that are not their own. Asking people to financially care for dogs that do not belong to them halts progress. 

Similar to the M*A*S*H model, tribal spay/neuter clinics include a visiting veterinary team that works directly with a local host organization. In all states except Alaska, the state veterinary board is recognized to not exercise authority over tribal sovereignty. Visiting veterinary programs are part of the solution to the unique challenges facing tribal communities, these programs have greatly increased flexibility and access of spay/neuter clinics on reservations. 

*Certain states may prohibit this model

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