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A temporary and reversible option to control reproduction in dogs is now available in New Zealand.
This comes in the form of a small implant placed under the male dog’s skin by a veterinarian. It is called Suprelorin and is manufactured by Virbac, a well-known international animal health company with a strong presence in New Zealand.
The company says it introduced this option to give dog owners more choice and freedom when it comes to breeding.
“More homeowners want to know and consider all available options before making a final decision,” he says. “Suprelorin offers an alternative for dog owners who are concerned about surgery or anesthesia or who are unsure whether permanent sterilization is best for their animal and wish to keep their options open.”
The product works by suppressing testosterone production. Testosterone is essential for sperm production and influences the behavior of male dogs.
No anesthesia is required for the procedure, and it can be done in the clinic during a consultation. About 6 weeks after implant placement, sperm is not produced for at least the next 6 months and a male dog will not be able to mate successfully with a female dog.
Meanwhile, testosterone-induced male behavior like urine marking, roaming for female dogs in heat, and competition and dominant behavior can also be treated using Suprelorin.
Although guaranteed to last at least 6 months, the product is known to be effective for up to 18 months. The company claims there are no side effects and the dog will return to normal fertility approximately 2 months after testosterone levels return to normal.
A veterinarian can easily monitor blood testosterone levels or other visual signs in the dog that will also signal the return of breeding ability. The implant is usually not removed. However, if you want to ensure uninterrupted infertility, it is recommended to repeat the implantation after 6 months.
A recent trial of New Zealand working dogs showed that dogs with the implant experienced no changes in behavior or work behavior and lost interest in female dogs (even those in heat) . There was also no change in levels of aggression (although the dogs in the trial had no history of aggression).
Feedback from dog owners revealed that they appreciated not having to separate dogs from female dogs during heat periods, which avoided mismating. They also liked that they could still breed from dogs in the future and all said they would use Suprelorin again.
Breeders are advised to speak to their veterinarian about Suprelorin, a reversible contraceptive implant for male dogs.