VCA Animal Hospitals

Nonsurgical sterilization method for dogs

Published: Sep 27, 2012

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When it comes to birth control for dogs, there are not many options for pet owners who want to prevent dog pregnancy and control the pet population.

According to VCA Animal Hospitals, some of the drugs that are used to control a female dog's heat cycle and prevent pregnancy may cause serious side effects.

Vets say surgical sterilization - or spaying female dogs and neutering male dogs - is the most reliable and most common birth control method. The ASPCA reports 78 percent of pet dogs are spayed or neutered, compared to just 10 percent of animals in shelters, according to research conducted by the American Pet Products Association.

The reasons some pet owners cite as to why they don't have their animals spayed or neutered vary. But the cost associated with a surgical procedure as well as potential side effects that result from putting an animal under general anesthesia are common deterrents for many dog lovers.

The good news is that research in the area of dog birth control is being pursued and pet owners will soon have a new option. A new drug called Zeuterin permanently sterilizes male dogs with just a simple injection to the testicles.

According to manufacturer, Ark Sciences, Zeuterin injections consist of a combination of zinc gluconate and arginine (an amino acid). The zinc injection destroys the sperm, decreases testosterone levels and causes the body to produce scar tissue that creates blockages in the seminiferous tubules, permanently sterilizing the dog. The procedure effectively shuts down sperm production within one to three days and is more than 99 percent effective.

The use of zinc gluconate is currently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in dogs 3 to 10 months old and is expected to be approved as safe for all dogs over 3-months before the final product is released later this year.

In addition, side effects accompanying the zinc injections are extremely rare. Ark Sciences reports that studies have shown no adverse reactions requiring medical treatment in 99 percent of clinical trials. Reactions included testicular swelling (a normal reaction to the injection), pain, biting and licking at the scrotum, swelling, infection and bruising of the scrotum. More than 93 percent of dogs who received the injections did not show any signs of pain, such as resisting sitting or sitting with both hind legs open.

While any new procedure takes a while to gain popularity, some pet owners feel "Zeutering" is a good option, as it requires less down time and is less expensive.

And, because the injections leave the testicles in place, some dog owners may prefer the fact that their pets will be sterilized without losing their virile appearance.

"The procedure was surprisingly quick, just like getting a shot," April Patrick, a dog owner who opted for the Zeuterin injection, recently told Dogster Magazine.

It's important to note that Zeuterin can also be used on male cats with similar results.

Pet health experts encourage pet owners to discuss options for sterilizing their pets with a veterinarian.


General Practice

We have over 540 animal hospitals in 41 states that are staffed by more than 2,000 fully qualified, dedicated and compassionate veterinarians, with more than 200 being board-certified specialists. The nationwide VCA family of general practice hospitals give your pet the very best in medical care, providing a full range of general medical and surgical services as well as specialized treatments*: Wellness, Spay/neuter, Advanced diagnostic services (MRI/CT Scan), Internal medicine, Oncology, Ophthalmology, Dermatology, Cardiology, Neurology, Boarding, Grooming

*services may vary by location.

Our family of pet hospitals stands out by delivering the greatest resources in order provide the highest quality care available for your pets. By maintaining the highest standards of pet health care available anywhere, we emphasize prevention as well as healing. We provide continuing education programs to our doctors and staff and promote the open exchange of professional knowledge and expertise. And finally, we have established a consistent program of procedures and techniques, proven to be the most effective in keeping pets healthy.

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Specialty Care

Sometimes sick or injured pets need the care of a veterinary medical specialist. When that happens, VCA specialty hospitals work closely with the general practitioner veterinarians who refer cases to us in order to provide seamless veterinary care to your pet. When your pet is facing any kind of serious illness or injury, our specialty referral hospitals will provide the compassionate and expert care your beloved pet needs.

Our goal is to make sure that when you and your pet are in need that you have access to board certified specialists who are up to date on the very latest developments in their field. In our state of the art hospitals, our specialists also have access to the most sophisticated diagnostic and treatment tools and techniques from ultrasonography and endoscopy to CAT scans and even MRI.

We have twenty-eight specialty hospitals across the US so there may be one near you. Our specialized services include: cardiology, critical care, dentistry, dermatology, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, radiology and surgery.

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Emergency Care

In case of emergency, please call us immediately. If it is after hours, check with a local animal hospital emergency clinic.