If you think that birth control is for humans alone, you better think again. Even animals today also need birth control methods for good reasons. What are the most effective techniques being used today?
Spaying remains to be the most effective wherein the ovaries and womb are removed. This is irreversible and permanent. Even though it involves major surgery and general anesthesia will be used, the risk becomes minimal in a healthy animal, specifically if she is still immature.
Researchers are currently testing the use of oral contraceptives which are used in a similar way as in humans. They found out that the results are very promising. Although the test for the pills is still being done for use on the wild animals, the applications might also likely be used even in domesticated pets. No single method is going to be useful in every situation, however.
This approach will inhibit the egg’s maturation which will then prevent fertilization. Animals continue to cycle, which is why this might not really be very ideal for most pet owners. However, it could benefit feral and wild animals.
The primary goal of immunocontraception is to come up with a vaccine against a certain target in the animal’s reproductive system. This vaccine will then induce an antibody formation and this immunity will then suppress the natural reproductive function. The present vaccine targets are LH receptor, Gn-RG and zona pellucid or ZP. Extensive research is conducted in the immunocontraception field for humane control of the overpopulation of wildlife. Consequently, the strategies are also applied to population control of cats and dogs.
Neutersol is the shot being injected to the male dogs’ scrotum which helps stop the production of sperm. This has already been approved to be helpful in controlling overpopulation of dogs and possibly other animals soon.
Even if and when permanent sterilization alternatives become readily available to the public, still, surgery remains to be the best option. There are two primary reasons to perform castrations and ovariohysterectomies in cats and dogs. Obviously, the number one reason is that it prevents unwanted births and more importantly, it also provides health benefits to the pet as the result of neutering.
Despite all the methods mentioned above, the best nonpermanent technique to prevent pregnancy in the queen or bitch is simply to prevent any copulation or breeding. It could be easily done by confining the animal indoors away from any un-neutered or intact males. The female animals must be let into a properly enclosed yard provided that there is direct supervision or with the animal on a leash during the whole time should copulation take place. It can be for as long as three weeks. The veterinarian will be the one to identify when the cycle is complete through conducting vaginal cytology. The queens must also be kept carefully isolated from the toms during their whole period of receptive since they tend to ovulate following the copulation.