Zeutering: A Non-Invasive Alternative to Canine Neutering
by Jo Singer
Published April 10, 2013
“No surgery for me! I am getting zeutered.”
If you’ve adopted or purchased a pet, one of the most important decisions concerning the health of your new pet is to have your male cat or dog neutered or your female pet spayed. Neutering is the removal of the dog or cat’s testicles and spaying is the removal of the cat or dog’s ovaries and uterus. They are both relatively simple surgeries that require only a minimal hospital stay for the pet.
Neutering and spaying reduces a pet’s desire to roam and reproduce. Pets who have been sterilized are better behaved and less aggressive. Serious medical conditions such as cancer of the ovaries, uterus and mammary glands can be avoided when kittens are spayed before their first estrus cycle.
Not only will these procedures keep your pet healthier and happier, it is one of the most common methods used to help prevent the overpopulation of unwanted cats and dogs that end up in shelters, hoping that a loving an permanent home for them can be found.
This said, some pet guardians are not willing to have their pets sterilized because they are concerned about the dangers of anesthesia, even though the benefits of the surgery far outweigh this minor risk. And some dog owners want their male dogs looking like “boys”—and feel that neutering diminishes their appearance.
For dog owners preferring not to have their male dogs surgically castrated, a non-surgical neutering technique approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is available for dogs between the ages of 3 and 10 months old. A veterinarian injects Zeuterin, (a compound of zinc gluconate and arginine) into both of the dog’s testicles. This compound destroys the cells that produce sperm. This procedure is not yet available for male cats.
While surgical castration reduces testosterone levels almost completely, according to the product’s manufacturer, Ark Sciences, testosterone levels are only reduced by 50 percent. Although the dog who has undergone “zeutering” is incapable of siring offspring, much in the same way that dogs who have been surgically castrated, they may exhibit roaming, marking, marking and aggressive behavior. However, Ark Sciences states that some testosterone remains to “support critical endocrine functions.” While the testicles remain in place, they generally shrink in size. To prove they have been sterilized, “zeutered” dogs can be tattooed with a “Z” or microchipped.
America’s Veterinarian, Dr. Marty Becker talked about “zeutering” in an article on Vetstreet. After finishing his training to perform the procedure, Dr. Becker refers to zeutering as “a shot of good news.” He writes, “Zeuterin is ideal for animal shelters and spay-neuter clinics, with dogs usually in and out within about half an hour.” Dr. Marty considers the procedure far less stressful for dogs, since no invasive surgery is required. Most dogs experience only a needle-stick—much like that of a vaccination with little to no pain involved.