Grave Risks from So Many Stray Dogs and Cats…

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February 17, 2010 • 32,025 views

The United States has made remarkable advances in the pet overpopulation problem over the past 20 years. Yet animals are still euthanized every day in shelters.

The Alliance for Contraception in Cats and Dogs, an organization dedicated to the humane control of dog and cat populations worldwide, wants to put an end to this.

The benefits of nonsurgical sterilization would extend beyond the stray, feral and homeless animal population, to saving human lives in countries that haven't even begun to tackle the dog and cat overpopulation problem.

By linking nonsurgical sterilization of animals to saving human lives in developing countries, animal lives will be saved there as well.

There is a homeless small animal problem, not just here in the U.S., but in every country on earth.

This is a tragic situation measured only in part by the four million cats and dogs euthanized every year in U.S. shelters.

It’s estimated there are tens of millions of feral cats in this country alone. In other countries, exploding populations of feral dogs are the problem – for example, there are an estimated 30 million unowned dogs in India.

The Problems Posed by Too Many Homeless Animals

Free-roaming cats and dogs present a number of health problems, among them:

Clearly, dog and cat overpopulation is a situation the world needs to get its arms around. As custodians of the planet, it is our responsibility to alleviate the suffering and other risks associated with this massive and growing problem.

An Urgent Need for Spay/Neuter Alternatives

Spaying and neutering is a more viable option in some areas of the world than others.

Surgical sterilization requires a medical facility and equipment, anesthesia, recovery time in a safe, protected environment, and the services of a trained veterinarian.

These resources aren’t readily available for the human population of many countries, much less homeless animals.

Even here in the U.S. where spaying and neutering resources are in ample supply, the cost can be prohibitive for individual pet owners as well as animal organizations tasked with sterilizing hundreds, thousands or even millions of unowned cats and dogs each year.

The feral population poses its own unique challenges. These dogs and cats must be trapped, sterilized and released, because in most cases there’s nowhere to house them during the recovery period. In addition, follow-up care to remove surgical stitches isn’t feasible.

Due to the size of the homeless animal population throughout the world and the lack of resources in many areas to perform the surgery or provide aftercare, alternatives to spaying and neutering are desperately needed to control the rate of reproduction and ultimately, to save lives.

Nonsurgical Contraception

According to the Alliance for Contraception in Cats and Dogs, an ideal nonsurgical form of contraception would be:

Current research and development of nonsurgical contraceptive products falls into two main categories: contraceptive drugs and chemicals, and immunocontraception.

The first group includes implants, injections and chemicals that interfere with the reproductive hormonal milieu or the activity of the gonads.

Immunocontraception agents are vaccines designed to produce antibodies to suppress normal reproductive function.

Comparison of Nonsurgical Contraceptive Products

As you can see from the table above, only chemical castration currently meets a majority of the criteria set forth by the Alliance for Contraception in Cats and Dogs.

Availability of Nonsurgical Alternatives

Are These Drugs Safe?

In the case of Gonazon and Suprelorin, no negative short term (one to two year) health consequences have been noted.

Short term side effects noted for Neutersol (the chemical castration product) include some pain immediately following injection, ulcers at the injection site which were resolved by changing the injection technique, and more severe reactions at the injection site, some requiring surgery.

Long term side effects of nonsurgical contraceptive products on the health of dogs and cats are unknown at this time, but there will undoubtedly be some. It’s not possible to fool Mother Nature in such a significant way without consequences.

I am not advocating these drugs. However, when you consider the alternative, which is to allow the uncontrolled breeding of hundreds of millions of homeless dogs and cats to continue, it’s easier to defend the risks involved in a nonsurgical medical intervention that can help save the lives of millions of animals, as well as people, across the world.

If You Have a Dog or Cat in Need of Contraception

If you live in the U.S. or other countries where access to pet care is plentiful and owned dogs and cats are treated as beloved members of the family, you have a number of options to choose from in controlling your pet’s reproduction.

For example:

For a discussion of the risks and benefits of a variety of surgical sterilization techniques, you can read here.

Again....I am not recommending these drugs, simply bringing it to your attention that we have a major overpopulation issue around the world, with no current viable solutions.

[+]Sources and References [-]Sources and References