New advancements in the world of veterinary medicine could soon have a major impact on the way dogs and cats are spayed and neutered. Whether it’s a drug that eliminates the need for surgery, or the application of new techniques that will allow veterinarians and certified veterinary technicians to limit the number of feral and stray animals, the old way of sterilization may soon be coming to an end.
New drug may eliminate need for sterilization surgery
Surgically removing an animal’s reproductive organs is a costly, time-consuming procedure that many pet owners and animal rights’ advocates openly detest. Nonetheless, with America’s 40-year push to spay and neuter dogs and cats in order to better control the pet population, it has become the most common form of sterilization.
Pet owners are often wary of surgery because they believe that it lowers testosterone levels, and ultimately the vibrancy, of their pets. Animal rights’ advocates have long expressed the belief that removal of the gonads is an invasive and traumatizing procedure.1
Now, however, some new, non-invasive sterilization methods are being tried out that could eliminate the need for surgery. Instead, veterinary professionals would be able to rely on implants or the injection a drug into the animal’s testes that would shut down sperm production and block its pathway.
According to The New York Times, one of those newer drugs, Zeuterin, is already being used more commonly in many veterinary clinics. And the drug’s manufacturer hopes that with proper knowledge and training it will become an even more popular alternative to surgery.
Dealing with stray animals
One of the biggest benefits to these new procedures is that they would allow veterinary professionals who work with stray and feral animals to more easily keep their populations in check.
Surgery is not only extremely invasive, it is also costly and time-consuming, which makes treating large animal populations very difficult. With a simpler, less costly, quicker alternative, clinics like the proposed high-volume spay-neuter clinic in San Diego would be able to handle a higher volume of animals, thus making it easier to limit stray populations.2 These new methods would also make it easier to serve lower-income families who often can’t afford to have their pets fixed.
Currently, the Spay and Neuter Action Project and the Feral Cat Coalition offer weekly sterilizations, along with two vans outfitted to work as mobile veterinary clinics, according to sdnews.com. But new, cheaper, faster spaying and neutering techniques would enable the groups to offer their services in a more permanent setting.
1 Quenqua, Douglas, “New Strides in Spaying and Neutering,” Dec. 2, 2013. http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/12/02/new-strides-in-spaying-and-neutering/?_r=0
2 Sours Larson, Nicole, “High-volume Spay-neuter Clinic Would Offer New Hope for Feral and Stray Animals,” sdnews.com, Nov. 9, 2013. http://sdnews.com/view/full_story/9932922/article-High-volume-spay-neuter-clinic-would-offer-new-hope-for-feral-and-stray-animals?instance=update1