This February is the 20th Anniversary of World Spay Day (Feb 25th) and Spay Neuter Awareness Month. The Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS) web site states, “this annual campaign of The HSUS and Humane Society International shines a spotlight on spay/neuter as a way to save the lives of companion animals, feral and stray cats, and street dogs who might otherwise be put down in a shelter or killed on the street.”
Not surprisingly, Ark Sciences has also chosen February for the commercial launch of their new product, Zeuterin™. This product (zinc gluconate neutralized with L-arginine) permanently prevents sperm production in a male dog when a carefully measured amount is injected into the testicles. It is the first form of non-surgical neutering approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in dogs, as this same mineral compound was approved in 2003 and distributed for about three years by Addison Labs as Neutersol. Then, Ark Sciences acquired the rights to the technology and re-marketed it as Zeuterin™.
Here are the Pros and Cons of this approach, in my opinion. I encourage you to search and read more on this product – here’s a link to get you started. I will be writing follow up posts about the issues surrounding this technology, so stay tuned.
- Quicker procedure: 89 dogs were Zeutered in one day at a clinic in Coachella Valley, CA.
- Easier and safer than traditional surgical neutering: no anesthesia required.
- Cheaper: initial cost reports are $25 for veterinarians and $15 for rescues and shelters. We shall see where the pricing settles out as more veterinarians are trained to administer Zeuterin™.
- Maintains the “look” of an un-neutered male dog: This is extremely important to some folks.
- Preserves a level of testosterone needed for other metabolic functions. There are an increasing number of studies coming to light with results that link some long-term health risks with traditional neutering – and spaying, too.
- Choice: if your dog is zeutered, you can always opt for traditional neutering later on if you decide it is in your dog’s best interest.
- Zeuterin™ currently is FDA approved only for dogs 3 to 10 months of age.
- As of yesterday’s product launch, only a few hundred veterinarians have been certified to administer the product. This should improve over time.
- There is no universal way to identify a Zeutered dog. They are testing collar tags, microchip registrations and tattoos, but no standard has been declared.
- Concerns about long-term issues. So far, 40 dogs have been studied over a two year period and a few of the dogs were informally checked to be fine after 5 years. Since 1999, when the initial clinical studies were performed, there have not been any reports of long-term side effects related to the procedure.
- Overcoming the resistance to any change. This will take education, marketing and time.
Here’s another post about alternatives to traditional ♀Spay & ♂Neuter that might interest you.
Acceptance to a new sterilization procedure can take some time. What are YOUR thoughts about Zeuterin™? Would you have your dog zeutered?