By April Avison
About 100,000 dogs and cats are put to sleep in metro Atlanta shelters each year, but Dr. Amy Orlin hopes to change that statistic.
At the request of the Henry County Humane Society, Orlin brought her "Spaymobile" to McDonough this week, where she parked outside Sam's Club on Jonesboro Road and offered spay and neuter procedures for local animals.
"We are in existence with the mission to decrease the pet overpopulation in the metro Atlanta area," Orlin said. "We've had an excellent response. We try to book about 30 animals each day."
Project CatSnip will be making monthly trips to Henry County, where Orlin performs the surgery at discounted prices. It costs $50 for a female cat, $30 for a male cat, and the price is $10 more for dogs. The animals are also given intra-operative pain relief, rabies vaccine and feline distemper vaccine.
"We don't want to take business away from veterinarians," Orlin said. "We're looking for people who can't afford this surgery or people who will bring in a cat they don't own. We're really trying hard not to step on the toes of the vets. In fact, if we find a problem during the physical, we refer the pet owner to a local vet."
Orlin studied veterinary medicine at Emory University and the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine. She has performed more than 4,000 successful spay/neuter surgeries.
She co-founded Project CatSnip with Bob Christiansen, and it launched in December 2002. Pet owners are asked to drop off their animals around 7:30 a.m., and the pets stay with Orlin until about 5 p.m. All pets are given a physical exam prior to the surgery.
"They all get a few hours to recover before they go home," Orlin said. "We try to pay a lot of attention to detail and give them a lot of individual attention and quality care. A lot of our clients are repeat customers."
Veterinary technician Sarah Morgan travels with Orlin and assists with the procedures. Morgan said they offer and recommend pediatric spay/neuter procedures, which are offered for cats as young as eight weeks with a weight requirement of at least two pounds.
"It's much easier that way," Morgan said.
Orlin said the pediatric procedures are less painful for the animals because the incisions are small, and the healing process is simplified.
"It's relatively new but it's now an accepted practice," Orlin said. "There are not a lot of vets doing it."
Kittens can begin to reproduce at five months old and can deliver two to three litters of seven kittens per litter, per year, Orlin said.
Project CatSnip will be in Morrow on July 2, in Fayetteville on July 16 and in McDonough on July 23. To make a reservation, visit www.projectcatsnip.com or call (770) 448-6806.