Average hourly wages in the New Orleans and Metairie area hovered around $20.85 in 2015 — about 10 percent below the nationwide average, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. A 2017 report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition clocked the average hourly wage for renters in New Orleans — who make up more than half of the population — at only $15.52. People earning the federal minimum wage ($7.25 an hour) would have to work more than 70 hours a week for a one-bedroom home at fair market rent — let alone caring for a pet. People earning low or middle incomes with pets do have several options for veterinary care for their furry friends, the bills for which can top hundreds or thousands of dollars a year depending on the level of care needed.
To help ease costs and keep animals safe in homes and off the streets, several veterinary clinics and nonprofit organizations offer low- or no-cost health services.
4421 Jefferson Highway, Jefferson, (504) 733-5878; www.jeffersonspca.org
Jefferson Parish's arm of the animal welfare organization sponsors Fix-A-Feline and Fix-A-Canine, a low-cost spay-and-neuter program for Jefferson Parish residents. The programs are funded through parish residents' annual rabies licenses.
Fix-A-Feline aims to lower the parish's population of sheltered cats, which represents more than half of all pets in parish shelters. Since the program's inception, participating clinics have performed more than 50,000 spay-and-neuter surgeries. The surgery is $15 for cats with an owner and free for feral and stray cats (and it includes a rabies vaccine). Feral cats brought in for the service will be ear-tipped — a painless procedure in which the tip of the cat's ear is notched to show that the animal has been spayed or neutered and vaccinated.
Fix-A-Canine surgeries are $60 for dogs of all sizes.
For pets to be eligible, pet owners must show proof of residency in Jefferson Parish or be a cat caretaker or trapper in the parish. Find a list of participating hospitals at www.jeffersonspca.org/low-cost-feline-spayneuter and www.jeffersonspca.org/low-cost-dog-spayneuter.
Jefferson SPCA also sponsors free spaying and neutering for pit bulls and pit bull mixes. Call for a list of participating shelters and vouchers.
1700 Mardi Gras Blvd., (504) 363-1333; www.la-spca.org/clinic
Among the oldest animal welfare organizations in the state, the Louisiana SPCA (LA/SPCA) is contracted by the city of New Orleans to provide animal control services. It also houses a pet medical care center. The LA/SPCA Community Clinic — which has five exam rooms, two surgical suites, five heartworm treatment areas and a pharmacy — offers microchipping, heartworm treatment, vaccinations, SNAP testing, deworming, nail trimming, anal gland expressions and other diagnostic screenings, tests and services. A basic exam is $25. Annual dog exams are $65-$95. Annual cat exams are $45-$95. Puppy check-ups are $35, and kitten visits are $30. The center also offers dental cleanings ($105, before additional services) and summer cuts in June ($30-$70, depending on the size of the animal). The clinic spayed and neutered more than 9,200 animals last year.
The clinic offers reduced fees for seniors, students, military personnel and first responders, and households receiving state or federal assistance. The clinic does not provide emergency services.
Low Cost Animal Medical Center
4300 Washington Ave., (504) 444-1124; www.lowcostanimal.orgvThe recently-opened nonprofit veterinary hospital in Gert Town offers a range of low-cost services for dogs and cats. The 4,500-square-foot hospital has more than 100 kennels, seven exam rooms, three operating rooms and X-ray and lab capabilities. Founded by Copey Pulitzer with Drs. Shannon Landry, Timothy Troia and Marisa Muniak, the shelter anticipates performing up to 7,500 low-cost spays and neuters and caring for more than 30,000 animals a year.
Annual dog visits are $90 and include a physical exam, heartworm test, fecal exam and vaccines for rabies, DA2PP (distemper, adenovirus, hepatitis, parvovirus and parainfluenza) and Bordetella. Annual cat visits are $70 and include a physical exam, fecal exam and vaccines for rabies and FVRCP (rhinotracheitis, calicivirus and distemper). The center also offers exams for new puppies ($45) and kittens ($40), as well as microchipping, blood work, dental cleanings, soft-tissue surgery, urinalysis, nail trims, anal gland expression, flea and tick prevention and other services. Walk-ins are welcome.
Pets R Our World|
4721 Jefferson Highway, Metairie, (504) 224-1996; www.petsrourworld.com
The clinic participates in Jefferson Parish's Fix-A-Feline and Fix-A-Canine programs. Cats are $10 and dogs are $50. Pets R Our World also offers vouchers for spay and neuter services for Jefferson Parish residents; feral cats are serviced at no cost.
Southern Animal Foundation
1823 Magazine St., (504) 671-8235; www.southernanimalfoundation.org
The Magazine Street nonprofit veterinary hospital offers low-cost spaying and neutering, microchipping, annual exams and vaccinations, radiology and X-rays, allergy tests, heartworm treatment, pain management, dental cleaning and a range of other services as well as emergency care. Spaying and neutering surgeries are $40-$110 depending on the pet's weight and include ear-tipping and a rabies vaccination.
The volunteer-run nonprofit group facilitates low- and no-cost spaying and neutering. Check the website for a current list of locations and events.
To help control the feral kitten population in the New Orleans area, the LA/SPCA, the Jefferson SPCA and other community clinics offer free or low-cost spaying and neutering, vaccinations and ear-tipping for feral neighborhood cats. Residents can pick up a trap, deliver the cat to a participating clinic, and return the cat to the neighborhood after neutering via the "trap-neuter-return" (TNR) program. Call either SPCA branch for a list of locations from which to rent a trap and place a deposit (refunded when the trap is returned). The LA/SPCA also offers free community workshops on TNR.