By: Ellen Richardson

As an animal assistance organization, we are always interested in the overall health and wellness of all pets out there. One of the best ways to get your new dog or cat’s health started off on the right foot (or paw as we like to say) is to have your pup or kitten spayed or neutered.

While there are some who may have a dream of their new bundle of fur producing their own little bundles of fur, it is important to be aware of the medical and behavioral benefits of this life saving procedure.

Let’s Save Some Lives
According to recent statistics, North Carolina animal shelters killed more dogs and cats last year than all but two other states. If you are anything like us, this information makes you want to cry. By choosing to spay female pets or neuter male pets, you can both stop our tears and assure that your pet leads a much healthier life for years to come.

Photo credit: Antonio Visalli

Raising a Happy/Healthy Fur Child
If you want a long healthy life with your fur child, spaying/neutering your pet can definitely aid in this goal by providing a variety of medical benefits. While neutering your male pup can prevent testicular cancer and prostate problems, the greatest health benefits come from the spaying process; having your female pet spayed before her first heat helps prevent uterine infections and even breast cancer.

Photo credit: Natalie Spehner

Extra Points for Good Behavior
One of the greatest benefits to having your pet altered is the assurance of good behavior. For those who own a male dog or cat that is still intact, chances are higher that you will find yourself worried because they escaped from the house to find a mate in heat. Or, even worse, taking them to the veterinarian when they return injured. A neutered pet will not have the same drive or aggressive behavior which can save you time and money, and you will also have a more well-adjusted pet!

For those who own a female pet, you might enjoy not having to clean up both urine and blood all over your house every two to three weeks as well as ending any yowling and crying that may be going on. Having your female pet spayed also reduces the risk for a serious infection called Pyometra. This infection of the uterus, which involves pus or even a potential E. coli contamination in the uterus, is fatal to both dogs and cats.

Although The Sergei Foundation has aided in life-saving surgeries resulting from lack of altering, including fence impalement, being hit be a car, and pyometra surgeries, our assistance is limited. These types of accidents and illnesses correlated to being intact can be prevented, or at least the risks reduced, and is part of either responsible pet parenting or the business cost of breeding. So it’s our goal to educate so you are aware of these risks and can plan ahead.

When to Spay/Neuter
Before answering the question as to when to spay/neuter, we decided to sit down with a veterinary expert to find out the best time to assure your fur baby’s health for years to come. Dr. Tim Strickland, DVM is an experienced veterinarian at Oldtown Veterinary Hospital in Winston-Salem, NC, who says that there is some debate in the veterinary community as to when to spay or neuter.

Despite this, the general consensus is dogs should be spayed after six months and before the first heat cycle,” said Strickland. “The larger the breed the later the dog should be spayed because dogs generally come in heat at ~80% of their adult weight. Cats should be spayed any time after three months of age to avoid having up to five litters of up t o12 kittens per year.

Dr. Tim Strickland, DVM

Be sure to contact a local veterinarian to schedule an appointment for your pet today, and get on the right foot to pet ownership.


Ellen is a Sergei Foundation board member and is an avid animal lover! She owns her own pet sitting business and works part-time for Abri Veterinary Hospital. When not caring for animals, she is a freelance writer who loves to tell a good story.