A local dog rescue group wants to introduce a new way to neuter dogs in the Toledo area.
Using a $1,500 grant from Best Friends Animal Society, the Lucas County Pit Crew will host a training clinic next week for veterinarians interested in Zeuterin, a zinc-based injection for young male dogs that sterilizes them without castration.
“We always encounter some individuals who really don’t like the idea of removing the testicles and want their dogs to still have that guy-dog look,” Jean Keating, executive director of the Pit Crew, said. “This is another way to do it. They can still have the appearance, but the dogs will be sterile.”
Dr. Byron Maas, a veterinarian and the medical director for Zeuterin maker Ark Sciences of Irvington, N.Y., said the Zeuterin procedure does not require general anesthesia and successfully sterilizes dogs while leaving some testosterone-producing functions intact.
“It also takes a lot less time for the animal because they don’t go through surgery,” Dr. Maas said. “There’s very little recovery time.”
He said some area veterinarians have signed up for training through Ark Sciences, though none has completed it yet.
Zeuterin has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in male dogs between 3 and 10 months old. The Pit Crew is seeking about 25 healthy, intact dogs of any breed in that age range to receive free Zeuterin neutering during next week’s training.
The process begins with giving the dog a mild, reversible sedative and measuring his testicles to determine the correct dosage. Zeuterin is then injected into the center of each testicle, a process that takes about two minutes.
“The injection itself is not painful,” Dr. Maas said. “Public perception is that if you poke a needle in the male genitalia it will hurt. But inside the testicle, there are no pain receptors.”
Dogs will feel a needle prick, but rarely experience any other pain associated with the procedure, he said.
The injection triggers an inflammatory process that creates scar tissue in the tubules where sperm is produced and in sperm outflow vessels. Sixty days after the procedure, dogs are rendered completely sterile. Their testicles will shrink some and become very firm.
As the dogs will retain their intact appearance, Ark Sciences recommends they be tattooed at the time of the procedure with a small “Z” on the inner flank to indicate they are neutered.
The dogs will experience some swelling for a few days that is easily treated with medication.
Ms. Keating said Zeuterin doesn’t have the same overhead costs as traditional castration.
“Our hope is that after the clinic and with this grant, we will be able to continue to provide free or low-cost Zeuterin for dogs,” Ms. Keating said.
The clinic for veterinarians is slated for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, June 27 at West Toledo Animal Hospital, 3209 W. Sylvania Ave. Veterinarians interested in attending the training and dog owners interested in receiving a free Zeuterin treatment for their young male dogs can contact the Pit Crew at 419-708-8848 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Participating dogs can also receive a free rabies shot.
Information about Zeuterin is available at the Pit Crew’s rabies shot clinic from 10 a.m. to noon today at Glenwood Park in the Old West End. Vouchers for free traditional spay and neuter surgery will be given out.