‘Zeutering’ offers dog sterilization in a ‘shot’
The Humane Society of San Bernardino is one agency offering the procedure; some experts dislike results
DAVID BAUMAN/The Press-Enterprise
Jeff Moder and Ashley Kinsey sit with Hercules, their 9-month-old pit bull mix, in their San Bernardino home on Sunday, August 25, 2013. The couple had the dog sterilized with a chemical injection as an alternative to surgical castration.
BY JANET ZIMMERMAN – The Press Enterprise - Published: September 01, 2013; 01:12 PM
The Humane Society of San Bernardino Valley has begun offering injections instead of surgery to neuter male dogs, a technique dismissed by some veterinarians who say it does little to control “unpopular behaviors.”
The new method, known as “zeutering,” uses zinc gluconate and arginine to sterilize male pups. The makers of Zeuterin say it is valuable for reducing pet overpopulation because it has fewer complications and a shorter recovery time than traditional sterilization.
But some animal experts complain that it costs about the same as surgery and doesn’t eliminate hormone-related behaviors such as aggression, marking and roaming.
About 200 veterinarians across the country, including four in the cities of San Bernardino and Riverside, have been trained and certified to use Zeuterin since it was approved by the Food and Drug Administration a year ago, said Don Cowan, spokesman for Ark Sciences in New York, the manufacturer.
The 30-minute procedure is geared toward dogs that are 3 to 10 months old. A dog with testicles larger than 1.24 inches wide would not be eligible, he said.
The zinc compound is injected into each testicle, killing the cells that produce sperm. The testicles shrink but remain visible — a plus for pet owners who want their dogs to look virile, Cowan said.
The most painful part of the procedure is the optional tattooing of a “Z” near the scrotum so people know the animal has been altered, he said. The information also can be registered with microchip databases.
“Many dog owners are understandably concerned about onlookers and ‘dog run’ friends giving them the evil eye, assuming their anatomically correct male dog is intact,” the Ark Sciences website says. “To address this concern, we are finishing up final designs on collar add-ons and fun T-shirts for sterilized but not castrated dogs to flaunt their special status.”
Appealing to owners who don’t want to change their dog’s appearance was the main reason the Humane Society in San Bernardino began offering chemical castration. Fifteen procedures have been performed there since June, compared to about 500 surgical castrations in the same period, spokeswoman Jill Henderson said.
“This is better than nothing, because this keeps the dogs from reproducing,” she said. More than 34,500 dogs were euthanized at shelters in San Bernardino and Riverside counties in 2011, according to state statistics.
Ashley Kinsey and Jeff Moder’s dog, Hercules, a 5-month-old pit bull-French Bordeaux mix, was among the first to have the procedure at the San Bernardino animal clinic.
Kinsey was worried about Hercules becoming fat and lazy without testosterone and she knew that a license for an unaltered dog in San Bernardino is an additional $55 per year. Moder just didn’t want him altered.
“I saw they were offering zeutering and I started looking into it because it sounded a lot better,” Kinsey said. “It was really easy for him to recover. He was hyper right away.”
Because the dog is under light sedation, the procedure offers a quicker recovery and avoids side effects from general anesthesia, Cowan said.
To try to control attacks on people and pets, Riverside County supervisors are considering an ordinance that would require pit bulls and pit bull mixes to be spayed or neutered. But injection-neutering may not be effective in curbing aggressive behavior, experts say.
Dr. Allan Drusys, chief veterinarian at Riverside County Department of Animal Services, is not a fan of the procedure. It is not performed at any of the agency’s three shelters.
His main complaint is that while Zeuterin does halt the production of sperm, it reduces testosterone by only 41 to 52 percent — leaving animals with hormone-driven behaviors.
“We’re talking about looking for love in all the wrong places, jumping fences and chasing after females in heat; and to some extent, aggression. A lot of these unpopular behaviors of male dogs are sexually modulated,” Drusys said.
Cowan said the issue of retaining testosterone in dogs is controversial and that more studies are needed to determine its effect on behavior.
Some veterinarians also take issue with the company’s claim that zeutering costs less than surgical sterilization.
The product itself may be less expensive, but there are added fees for the doctor, environmental disposal fees for the needles and other ancillary services, Drusys said.
The county charges $85 for canine neutering, plus pain medications, but there are often specials, underwritten by grants, that make it free or low cost, he said.
The Humane Society charges $54 for zeutering; traditional neutering costs $54 to $134, depending on the dog’s weight. At the nonprofit Animal Samaritans clinic in the Coachella Valley community of Thousand Palms, zeutering costs $125; surgical sterilization is $95 to $135.
Animal Samaritans began offering the service in June but has yet to have any takers, spokesman Tom Snyder said. The group offered Zeuterin training to area vets earlier this year.
The clinic has used the injections on some shelter dogs, but the results were not as good as expected, he said.
“We have discovered that it does not eradicate some aggression that is associated with high levels of testosterone,” Snyder said. “We can no longer use that as a selling point.”
September 3, 2013 - Posted by justonemorepet | animal behavior, Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Related Education, animals, Dogs, Dogs, Just One More Pet, Pet Health, Pets, responsible pet ownership | Big Pharma, choices, dogs, Humane Society, neutering, San Beranrdino, sterilization, you be the judge, Zeuterin, zeutering
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Save a Life…Adopt Just One More…Pet!
Everyday we read or hear another story about pets and other animals being abandoned in record numbers while at the same time we regularly hear about crazy new rules and laws being passed limiting the amount of pets that people may have, even down to one or two… or worse yet, none.
Nobody is promoting hoarding pets or animals, but at a time when there are more pets and animals of all types being abandoned or being taken to shelters already bursting at the seams, there is nothing crazier than legislating away the ability of willing adoptive families to take in just one more pet!!
Our goal is to raise awareness and help find homes for all pets and animals that need one by helping to match them with loving families and positive situations. Our goal is also to help fight the trend of unfavorable legislation and rules in an attempt to stop unnecessary Euthenization!!
“All over the world, major universities are researching the therapeutic value of pets in our society and the number of hospitals, nursing homes, prisons and mental institutions which are employing full-time pet therapists and animals is increasing daily.” ~ Betty White, American Actress, Animal Activist, and Author of Pet Love
So if you have the room in your home and the love in your heart… Adopt Just One More Pet or consider becoming a Foster parent for pets… Also check out: Little Critter: Just One More Pet
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There is always room for Just One More Pet. So if you have room in your home and room in your heart… Adopt Just One More! If you live in an area that promotes unreasonable limitations on pets… fight the good fight and help change the rules and legislation…
Save the Life of Just One More…Animal!
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If you can adopt or foster just one more pet, you could be saving a life, while adding joy to your own! Our shelters are over-flowing… Please join the fight to make them all ‘NO-Kill’ facilities.
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If You Were Stranded On An Island…A recent national survey revealed just how much Americans love their companion animals. When respondents were asked whether they’d like to spend life stranded on a deserted island with either their spouse or their pet, over 60% said they would prefer their dog or cat for companionship!