Spay/Neuter Program Models for Tribal Lands

Six or so types of visiting veterinary programs are available to Indian reservations in the US.  These programs can be “mixed or matched” to get the best results. Mini clinics are an option for tribal lands as well.

Reservation veterinary program models:

  1. High volume spay/neuter services in which one or more experienced veterinarians provide M*A*S*H or mobile spay/neuter services. The actual services should be based on an assessment of population, the reservation size, an estimate of free-roaming pets and more.


The visiting team will include one or more veterinarians with experience in high volume spay/neuter, and there will be two or three visiting assistants per veterinarian. In this model, 35 to 50 surgeries will be provided per veterinarian per day (or 75 to 100 per day per two veterinarian team). At least three local volunteers per veterinarian are needed in check-in and recovery areas. Additional volunteers are needed to transport pets to and from homes without transportation for a total of four to six volunteers daily.


The visiting team leader will work closely with the tribal host on an assessment and to clarify what is needed from the tribe.  For assistance in planning high volume services check out our M*A*S*H information or contact


  1. Teaching programs in which veterinary students visit a reservation in order to gain practical experience while also providing a benefit to reservation households. These are often annual services. 40 or more people may visit the site for a total of 40-50 surgeries per day in this model (as compared to three to four people providing the same level of services in a typical M*A*S*H program). Additional volunteers may be needed for transport and other support. This model is not designed for high impact.


  1. Vacation programs in which veterinarians travel in order to help animals, sometimes near a tourist destination and sometimes in remote locations.   These programs may provide wellness in addition to spay/neuter and may bring high visibility to local animal welfare issues. This may not include high volume spay/neuter, so the needs assessment should be balanced with the expected outcomes.


  1. Faith based services in which veterinarians visit reservations in order to provide large and small animal services while sharing a religious overview or social purpose. Spay/neuter may not be a large part of their goal; helping food or other agricultural animals may be their goal. Hosts must determine if this is a good fit for their needs and if it will reduce the number of unwanted dogs and if it meets the intentions of animal welfare funders.


  1. Non-profit services that bring a combination of large and small animal veterinary services to reservations. These may increase education or improve animal care giving practices. High volume spay/neuter may not be a part of their goal, agricultural animals may be a part of their goal; hosts must determine if the program meets their needs and the intentions of funders.


  1. Individual veterinarians who, through their personal conviction and dedication, devote a portion of their time and personal resources to providing veterinary services on tribal lands. These people are heroes.