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Thursday, December 05, 2013

For Your Dog Or Cat: Neuter, Spay Or..Non-Surgical Sterilization?

A rescue named Zipper and veterinarian Dr. Julie K. Levy, who has used the new drug, Zeuterin, for sterilizing pets. Photo courtesy of Kelly Jordan for The New York Times

This article is a recent Science Section of the NY Times, discusses one of the latest controversial topics in the pet world: whether there is a better alternative to surgical spay/neuter. We first heard of this option from Pukkah's Promise, The Quest for Longer-Lived Dogs by Ted Kerasote, who discussed the impact of spay/neuter on a a dog's health and longevity, particularly male canines.

We realize, as this article emphasizes, that the last 40 years or so of promoting spay/neuter has been super successful in reducing the overpopulation of companion animals, thus substantially cutting the shelter euthanasia rate. Get this: Currently, "83%of owned dogs and 91% of owned cats have been spayed or neutered, compared with only 10% in the 1970's. (Parental Unit's first dog, a Miniature Schnauzer named Benjie, was not neutered—in fact, it was never even discussed). But the downside to surgical sterilization is that it's a fairly time-consuming and invasive procedure and has been called "a bottleneck for humane animal control."

The non-surgical remedy that's close to becoming approved for sale in the United States is "Zeuterin", which is injected into a dog's testicles, "killing the sperm and shutting down the passageway through which it would normally travel." There's no mention of how, or even if this drug works for female dogs or cats.

What do you think? Would you go the old-fashioned route and surgically spay/neuter, go the really old-fashioned route and let your pets remain intact, or try this new-ish drug injection to sterilize your pet? We'd love to hear your thoughts.

Neither I nor Parental Unit had a choice in the matter—since I'm a shelter dog, I was neutered before I was even put up for adoption. Lookin' pretty good, despite my lack of testicles, don't you think?

         Really cool photo of me by Rachel Lauren Photography


Unknown said...

That is something we did not know about and very interesting. Surely if it works and is safe must be a good thing.
Have a fabulous Friday.
Best wishes Molly

Bocci said...

Yes, we think it's an interesting advancement...we'll see, I'm sure!

Frankie Furter and Ernie said...

THIS is a NEW one to US. We have both had.. BIG BOY surgery.
Mom got her furst Dog 55years ago and That one and Every one Since has had Big Boy Surgery or WhoWhoectomies.

Random Felines said...

here's the thing though.....if they surrender the dog, it gets lost or whatever, a shelter or rescue group has no way of knowing about the shot and will do surgery anyhow. So sure....it may seem like a simple solution, but I don't think it solves the "bottleneck" problem.

KB said...

That's interesting. I had a choice, recently. My choice was to delay spaying my girl until she was about 18 months old so that she'd get some of the benefits of estrogen until then.

The big problem with alternatives to spaying/neutering, in my opinion, is the continued influence of sex hormones on behavior. If a dog still has testosterone at normal levels, he'll find any way possible to get to a female in heat. Of course, he can't make puppies but it's still very dangerous for the dog. I wonder if this drug affects testosterone levels?

Bocci said...

Interesting questions and one that this article didn't answer. I believe from other articles I've read that the hormone levels are decreased, which might reduce some of the behavior problems.
Interesting, though, that the one dog I had who wasn't neutered didn't have any behavior problems at all, really. Unless my memory of my dear Benjie is rose colored!

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