In pursuit of a non-surgical birth control technique for dogs, cats
Veterinarians are currently opting for surgical solutions
India is home to 35 million street dogs and lakhs of cats, and their ever increasing population is posing a challenge to veterinarians. On Thursday, the Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (TANUVAS) organised a national symposium on “Current Trends in Contraception: Opportunities and Challenges for Population Control in Dogs and Cats”.
The alarming situation was explained by Director of Clinics S. Balasubramanian, who said a male dog, left free, could produce 67,000 offspring in a short span of six years. “A cat and its progeny are capable of producing over two lakh offspring in eight years,” he said.
Even though Chennai has a population of over one lakh dogs, the Veterinary College in Vepery sees a maximum of 45 dogs and cats being brought in for population control in a month.
Dr. Balasubramaniam said TANUVAS was already working on a single intravasal injection with styrene maleic anhydride (SMA) for contraception on rats. “This process can be reversed by dimethyl sulfoxide if the owner of the dog wants it to breed,” he said. C. Balachandran, vice-chancellor, TANUVAS, said at present, veterinarians were opting for surgical methods for population control. “We are working on innovations in non-surgical fertility techniques to control the population in a safe and humane way,” he explained.
He said the symposium would share progress towards new non-surgical methodologies in reproductive biology, molecular biology, immunology and other related disciplines. P. Sridevi, professor, Department of Clinics, said research was ongoing to test the possibility of administering one injection that would offer a permanent solution. “One such method is vectored contraception,” she said.