September 27, 2023

Chats du Monde

World of Health & Pet

Subsidized Spay & Neuter Program supports responsible pet ownership for all

5 min read

“Over the past five years, about 1,000 pets have been spayed or neutered through our Subsidized Spay & Neuter Program,” says Melissa Meacham with the City of Saskatoon’s Animal Services department.

Article content

One of the biggest components of being a responsible pet owner is spaying or neutering your pet to prevent unwanted kittens or puppies.

Advertisement 2

Article content

Saskatoon’s Subsidized Spay & Neuter Program (SSNP) is a collaborative initiative of the City of Saskatoon and the Saskatoon Academy of Veterinary Practitioners. The program provides lower-income pet owners with access to significantly discounted spay and neuter veterinary services.

About 80 per cent of the pets in the program are cats and 20 per cent are dogs. The program does not include exotic pets and is offered to permanent residents of the City of Saskatoon.

Melissa Meacham is an open space consultant with the City of Saskatoon’s Animal Services department. “Over the past five years, about 1,000 pets have been spayed or neutered through our SSNP. The program allows for two animals per household per year to be subsidized,” says Meacham.

Article content

Advertisement 3

Article content

The income criteria for eligibility is available on the SSNP webpage and is based on Statistics Canada data. For example, to qualify, the household income for two people would need to fall below $34,254 in 2022. Applications need to include proof of income (a Notice of Assessment from Canada Revenue Agency for the pet owner and their spouse or partner) and proof of City of Saskatoon residency (such as a cable or utility bill).

Two appointments must be booked with a participating veterinarian to fulfill the requirements of the SSNP process. The first appointment is a pre-operative examination to determine the pet’s suitability for surgery, based on body condition and other factors. The examination will make sure that the cat or dog is healthy enough to stay safe while under anesthesia. If the cat or dog is suitable for surgery, relevant vaccines will also be given at the first appointment.

Advertisement 4

Article content

At the second appointment, booked at the same clinic, the spay or neuter surgery takes place and the animal is given booster vaccinations. Pet owners are responsible for transporting their pet to and from the veterinary clinic for all scheduled appointments.

Successful SSNP applicants, if not already licensed, will also receive a free City of Saskatoon pet license valid for one year. After that, pet owners are responsible for renewing their pet license annually at regular license rates. Rates for 2023 are $31 for a spayed or neutered dog and $19 for a spayed or neutered cat.

“We currently have four veterinary clinics in the city participating in SSNP and we are open to other clinics joining the program. Spaying or neutering and licensing your pet are so important,” says Meacham.

Advertisement 5

Article content

Dr. Inoka Gamage of Fairlight Veterinary Services is involved in the program. Her veterinary clinic is located in the Fairhaven neighbourhood of Saskatoon. She owns three dogs and two cats of her own and considers them part of her family.

Dr. Gamage supports the program because spaying and neutering are “really important. I love being a part of the program.” She points out that because health care is free in Canada, sometimes people don’t realize that pet health care and veterinary appointments are not paid for by the government (outside of subsidy programs like SSNP).

Dr. Gamage wants lower-income residents in Saskatoon to know how to apply for SSNP, particularly if they own multiple pets. All qualified SSNP applicants will need to submit completed documentation and are encouraged to apply by mail or in person at City Hall, 222 3rd Avenue North, from Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The process involves a non-refundable SSNP fee of $25 for a cat or $40 for a dog (this fee may only be paid in cash or through a debit transaction). Find out more at about the program at

Thanks to these veterinary clinics for their support of the Subsidized Spay & Neuter Program:

  • Erindale Animal Hospital
  • Fairlight Veterinary Services
  • Forest Grove Veterinary Clinic
  • Stonebridge Veterinary Hospital