A temporary, reversible option for controlling reproduction in dogs is now available in New Zealand.
This takes the form of a small implant placed under the male dog’s skin by a veterinarian. It’s called Suprelorin and is made by well-known international animal health company Virbac with strong roots in New Zealand.
The company says it introduced this option to give dog owners more choice and freedom when it comes to reproductive issues.
“More owners want to know and consider all available options before making a final decision,” it says. “Suprelorin offers an alternative for dog owners who are concerned about surgery, anesthesia, or whether permanent neutering is best for their pet and want to keep their options open.”
The product works by suppressing testosterone production. Testosterone is vital for sperm production and affects behavior in male dogs.
The procedure does not require anesthesia and can be performed at the clinic during a consultation. About 6 weeks after the implant is placed, sperm will not be produced for at least 6 months and a male will not be able to successfully mate with a female.
Meanwhile, male testosterone-driven behaviors such as urine marking, prowling in search of bitches in heat, and competition and dominant behavior can also be addressed through the use of Suprelorin.
While guaranteed to last at least 6 months, the product has been known to be effective for up to 18 months. The company states that 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 also signal the return of fertility. The implant is usually not removed. However, if you want to ensure uninterrupted infertility, it is recommended to repeat the implantation again after 6 months.
A recent working dog trial in New Zealand showed that dogs with the implant showed no changes in working behavior or demeanor and they lost all interest in the bitches (even those in heat). There was also no change in the level of aggression (although the dogs in the study had no history of aggression).
Feedback from dog owners indicated that they appreciated not having to separate males from females during heat, thereby avoiding mismatches. They also liked that they could still breed with the dogs in the future and all reported that they would use Suprelorin again.
Farmers are advised to speak to their veterinarian about Suprelorin, a male reversible contraceptive implant.