By Tracie Korol
As long as the euthanization statistics in shelters nationwide remain staggeringly high, as long as I see mange-ridden wandering strays along our roadsides and as long as I see tiny kitties squished on the highway, I will be a proponent for neutering a pet, cat or dog. To me it only makes sense plus makes my life easier in the long run. When I don’t have to worry about my male dog wandering in search of his next conquest or humping the leg of a visitor and when I don’t have to worry about my female dog being accosted by a canine lothario or have to deal with her messy stains on the carpet, I am an advocate.
Though the spay/neuter movement has created awareness in 83% of U.S. households (up from 10% in the 1970s), there are still a few who go pale at the thought. Usually I find it is the male in a household who drags his feet about neutering his buddy. Somehow they feel they are less of a man if his dog loses his pair. Or his dog will hold a grudge. For these paleo-hold-outs, there is a new medication is hitting the U.S. market that is used to neuter male dogs without the need for anesthesia or surgery, and nothing is removed!
Used for the past few years in Mexico, Colombia, Bolivia and Panama (under the name Esterilsol™), Zeuterin™ is expected to be widely available in the United States within the next year. The nonsurgical neutering consists of locally injecting a compound of zinc gluconate and arginine into the testicles. It works by killing sperm-producing cells, decreasing testosterone up to 52%. Within 30 days of administration, Zeuterin™ induces sterility. Only one treatment is required and no hospital stay is necessary. You may hear it referred to as “zinc-neutering” or “zeutering”.
Zeuterin™ is injected directly into each testicle without the need for anesthesia, although frequently, mild sedation is used. Now, before you cross your legs and mutter, “Yowza,” the manufacturer reports that 97.5 percent of dogs studied showed no outward evidence of pain during the procedure. Apparently, the combination of using a very small needle and a very slow injection of the product avoids triggering any sensation of discomfort. Post-procedure complications such as pain and injection site reactions occurred in only 1.1 percent of treated dogs. To provide Zeuterin™, veterinarians must complete a five-hour training course.
For folks who cannot fathom the thought of their dog living without testicles, Zeuterin™ may be the solution because the organs remain in place. On the other hand, if the primary goal of neutering is elimination of negative male behaviors such as roaming and aggression, surgery may still be the procedure of choice. Zeuterin™ does not completely eliminate testosterone production within the testicles, although it does reduce it by up to 52%. Surgical neutering drops testosterone production to zero.
Zeuterin™ may be a real boon for animal shelters and sterilization clinics in their fight against pet overpopulation. Proponents believe chemical neutering is safer, simpler, less time-consuming and cheaper to perform than traditional surgery, meaning more dogs potentially can be neutered with available shelter resources.
The procedure can be done in less than 10 minutes and requires only a mild sedative. Reduced recovery time can free up shelter space and also reduce the risk of infection. And with no wound to lick, there is no “cone of shame.”
But the biggest advantage for shelters and hopefully pet owners, is the cost. Shelters already using the procedure estimate that zeutering one dog costs $20, compared with $50 plus for traditional neutering.
Sounds like a winner to me. For more information, visit www.arksciences.com.