Is your dog on the pill?
It might sound far-fetched because when we think of dog contraception we usually go right to being spayed or neutered but there is a pill for dogs. The dog birth control pill is an alternative to spaying, and is effective if the pills are administered and taken properly.
The pill contains megestrol acetate and is given at the beginning of the heat cycle of the female dog. The pill should delay the cycle.
There can be side effects, some more serious than others. With that said, giving a dog birth control pills does seem like a safer alternative to putting them through a spaying procedure.
Side effects of the dog birth control pill include:
- Frequent infections of the uterus
- Breast cancer
- Breast enlargement
- Weight gain
- Skin problems
Liquid contraceptives are an option and they are given orally. The drops should be given daily for 30 days prior to the time your dog goes into heat. It is tough to tell when to start the medication, and this may lead to taking it for a prolonged amount of time. The side effects are numerous and include:
- Liver damage
- Increased chance of vaginal infections
- Increased house wetting
- Body odor
- Skin problems
- Vaginal distortion
- Increased urge to ride other dogs
- Personality changes, usually increased aggression
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
Then there's Chemspay, which may be the future of canine birth control. Developed by Dr. Loretta Mayer, Chemspray tablets are designed to eliminate eggs in the ovaries, effectively sterilizing the dog. At last word, the product was still undergoing testing and has yet to be used in FDA-approved trials, so there is no info available as yet about possible side effects.
"One day, pet contraception could be as simple as taking your dog or cat to the vet for their annual shots," said Joyce Briggs, president of the Alliance for Contraception in Cats and Dogs.
Scientists are also working on developing a pet contraception vaccine that would trigger an immune response against the major hormone that kicks the whole reproductive cycle into motion.
Zeuterin, which sterilizes dogs when injected into the testicles, is available in the United States and a drug called GonaCon is showing promise as a contraceptive for cats.
There are options to surgery and it is good to know what's available. Check with your vet and hopefully soon it will be as easy as getting a simple vaccination.