Our local low-cost spay-neuter clinic is offering free Esterilsol for neutering. What do you think of this new procedure?
J. and J.H., Fort Worth, TX Jun 25, 2012
Esterilsol is a zinc gluconate solution that is injected one time only into each testicle to shut down sperm maturation and transportation -- it's a kind of chemical vasectomy. However, dogs still produce testosterone. One benefit of surgical castration under short-acting general anesthetic is that the vet does not run the risk of making a wrong injection, as can happen with Esterilsol, leading to severe inflammation, ulceration and the urgent need for remedial surgical castration. This would be disastrous for dogs who are set free immediately after injection, as is happening in some countries where this product is being used as an alternative to surgical castration. With either neutering procedure, dogs should be held for a few days prior to release for observation after injection -- which I do not see in the manufacturer's protocol -- and to allow for healing after surgery. After the injection, pain and swelling can be severe for some dogs, and it can last for up to a week. This is a problem even with the most careful adherence to the manufacturer's protocols, as I have learned evaluating this product some years ago when it went under the name of Neutersol. I vetoed it then, as I veto Esterilsol now. Surgical castration can be safer, even in tropical countries, and surgically neutered dogs with lowered testosterone suffer fewer fight injuries. Better alternatives to using hormonal implants and a birth control vaccine are being developed to help address pet overpopulation in many countries. For more details, visit the Alliance for Contraception in Cats and Dogs.
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