Spay Vets Japan: Promoting Feline Fix by Five

About Spay Vets Japan

By Eriko Hashimoto DVM, Founder & CE) Spay Vets Japan

Spay Vets Japan is a nonprofit veterinary organization that promotes early spay/neuter for dogs and cats. Formed in February 2022, our mission is to alleviate animal suffering alongside various related social issues caused primarily by pet overpopulation.

At one time I was a locum vet at a private hospital, where spaying and neutering were left to the owner’s discretion and surgery before six months was never an option. But I realized that this practice was an ill-considered idea and one of the causes of overbreeding. I am lucky enough to recognize the problem of pet overpopulation and now as a veterinarian, I am dedicated to specializing in population control. But if I hadn’t got a chance to know that back then, I might still be using these old standards, as is often the case with veterinarians in Japan today.

We often wonder how much these practices have indeed triggered unplanned heat, pregnancies, and births causing overpopulation and how this has impacted pet owners and their pets.

In fact, I performed about 4,000 cat sterilization surgeries last year at my clinic, but our team still is not able to keep pace with demand. The different types of cats coming in include, abandoned cats, pet cats from unplanned litters, juveniles who were in estrus but were refused surgery simply because they were under six months of age, and stray cats troubling the neighborhood after multiplying. Too many cats now face grim futures due to the overpopulation problem. 

I became aware of social problems stemming from the lack of information on sterilization surgery and the suffering of cats caught up in these situations. We strongly feel this cannot be handled solely by ourselves unless we proceed to educate and encourage a shift in the mindset of Japanese veterinarians. A fundamental change was needed and Spay Vets Japan was created to make this happen. 

We believe veterinarians from around the country who are actively working to address the pet overpopulation problem need to collaborate together and begin to raise questions about the present situation to enable change. We need to act now. We need actions to go viral. 

So, how can this be achieved? First and foremost, we must advocate for sterilization, particularly in regard to early-age sterilization. With veterinary literature and hands-on expertise both at home and abroad, we must promote the merits, safety, and necessity of early spay/neuter. We must give veterinarians opportunities to realize how they can take on social responsibility in terms of pet sterilization and ignite their drive and confidence to fulfill their professional obligations. Through technical exchanges and training programs, we would also wish to enhance the skills development of veterinary human resources in birth control. And we want to build well-organized networks for rapid disaster response. 

With “Be the Humane Impact for Japan” as our motto, we will unite and raise our voices to lead the country to the desired generation where dog and cat spay, in particular early spay/neuter, is considered the new normal.

Watch a special from Spay Vets Japan shared during the USA Online Conference!

And don’t forget these videos from our other international friends: