The FDA is expected later this year to approve the use of a drug called Zeuterin that provides a nonsurgical alternative to neutering male dogs. It is hoped that the less invasive method will help curb pet overpopulation.
How it Works
Zeuterin™ is administered via injection directly into each testicle, without the need for anesthesia (mild sedation is frequently used). Now, before you cross your legs and mutter, “Yowza!” the manufacturer reports that 97.5% of dogs studied showed no outward evidence of pain during the procedure. Apparently, the combination of using a very small needle and slow injection of the product avoids triggering any sensation of discomfort. Post-procedure complications such as pain and injection site reactions occurred in only 1.1% of treated dogs.
Within 30 days of administration, Zeuterin™ induces sterility by causing permanent, irreversible scarring of the dog’s testicles. While the testicles eventually diminish in size, they do remain visible. Because of this, dogs neutered with Zeuterin™ are marked with a small tattoo in the groin area so that they can readily be identified as having been sterilized.
The Pros and Cons
For people who are in favor of sterilization, but cannot fathom the thought of their dog living without testicles, Zeuterin™ may be just the solution. On the other hand, if the primary goal of neutering is elimination of negative male behaviors such as roaming and aggression, surgery may still be the procedure of choice. Zeuterin™ does not completely eliminate testosterone production within the testicles. (Testosterone is a major driving force of negative male behaviors in some dogs.)
Zeuterin™ may be a real boon for animal shelters and spay/neuter clinics in the fight against pet overpopulation. Proponents believe chemical neutering is safer, simpler, less time consuming, and less expensive than traditional surgery. This means that more dogs can be neutered with available resources.