New canine sterilization shot replaces surgery

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SAN DIEGO – The first-ever FDA approved single-injection dog sterilization that could replace the need to surgically castrate male dogs became available this week.

Zeuterin is an injection administered by trained veterinarians directly into the reproductive organs of a male dog.

The company that makes it, Ark Sciences said it is 99 percent effective for the lifetime of the dog.

cocker spanielDr. Corey Cole, veterinarian for the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA, said most reports describe Zeuterin as a non-painful procedure that is also fast acting and cost effective.

“There are many advantages,” said Dr. Cole.

According to Ark Sciences, five dogs can be sterilized with Zeuterin for the price of one dog that is castrated.  Also, no anesthesia is required and it only takes seconds to administer.  Ark Sciences claims it is safer than surgery, too.

The side effects for Zeuterin could include vomiting, local inflammation and pain.

“I think it is a viable option,” said Dr. Cole.  “It still requires a bit more research though.”

Dr. Cole said he thinks Zeuterin could help with the overpopulation of stray dogs by making the sterilization process more efficient.  Even so, many San Diego animal shelters do not seem ready to embrace the new product.

“Here at Rancho Coastal Humane Society, and most of the shelters I’ve spoken with, this is not the answer we are looking for,” said John Van Zante, spokesman for the Rancho Coastal Humane Society in Encinitas.

One reason shelters said they do not want to use Zeuterin is because the injection cannot be given to a puppy until he is three-months old.

“Right now, we can alter a male puppy at eight weeks and get it off to start its new life in its new home,” said Van Zante.

Van Zante said another concern shelters have is that without running a fertility test there would be no way of knowing if the dog was chemically neutered, and it could result in the dog accidentally having the procedure twice.

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