Doing Trap-Neuter-Vaccinate-Return in Mexico; Spay/Neuter Rebate in Cook County


Cook County veterinarian Dr. Donna Alexander on WGN Radio says the county actually has something for us regarding spay/neuter. Listen HERE as we begin our wide-ranging conversation talking about Trap-Neuter-Vaccinate-Return (TNVR), and how a resort in Mexico’s Riviera Maya region, El Dorado Royale and El Dorado Royal Casitas (working with a local cat rescue), is doing it right.

Little house and shelter, called a casita, for feral cats at a Mexican resort

Dr. Donna Alexander

I mention—and Dr. Alexander agrees—that Chicago was once a leader in TNVR. Chicago mandates by law vaccination for rabies when spaying or neutering community (feral) cats. We take that for granted, as most communities do not. Unfortunately, our programs here, which were once led by a cat shelter and were world renowned, have diminished greatly, including the unique program that used community cats to help control the city rat population.

Feral, or community, cats are found worldwide, including at resorts (there are restaurants there, so there are vermin). In Mexico, I explain that this resort even has little homes for the cats with room numbers, designed to look like casitas where people stay. It’s more than merely cute, it serves a purpose.

Cat on patrol at El Dorado Royale Casitas

By implementing TNVR, cats are vaccinated for rabies and their populations are kept in check. And, the cats even receive, as needed, veterinary care. While the cats are fed, they continue to do their bit with vermin control. And, most tourists don’t mind seeing the cats.

February is Spay/Neuter month. Spaying or neutering an animal can add three to five years of life. Spaying decreases mammary cancer odds by 90 percent. Pyometra (a potentially life-threatening infection of the uterus) can’t happen if the pet is spayed. But, aside from the medical benefits, there are also behavior benefits. The most common reason pets are relinquished and euthanized is behavior. Spay/neuter reduces the odds of some behavior problems occurring.

If you happen to live in Cook County, you can get a $40 rebate by simply spaying or neutering, and you can do this at the veterinarian of your choice.

The $40 rebate will not fully cover a spay/neuter, but it sure helps. It’s a good thing for your pets and the community, in general, to spay or neuter. And, you have the opportunity to choose your own veterinarian, which I think is key.

We also talk rabies—a topic in which Dr. Alexander has lots of expertise. Rabies is real. People—even in the U.S.—die of rabies. And, cats are a more common vector than dogs. Dr. Alexander explains why.

Cats are euthanized every year because they have exposure to a rabid animal (usually a bat in the Chicago area) because they have not been vaccinated for rabies.