Zeutering vs. Neutering
Zeutering is a term used to describe the method of chemical sterilization of male dogs using “Zeuterin”. An FDA-approved drug, Zeuterin is used as an injectable solution of zinc gluconate. It’s typically used in male dogs between the age of ten months and three years. This sterilization process is relatively simple, which is why it’s popular with many do owners. Zeuterin was introduced to the public in 2014 and was a hot topic in the media.
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While there was a lot of controversy at first, the controversy wasn’t necessarily as much about the use of Zeuterin as the use of male sterilization in general. When Zeuterin was used for sterilization, the process became known as “zeutering’. When the drug Zeuterin is injected into the testicles, it induces fibrosis and makes the dog sterile. The drug is injected into the testicles using a very fine needle.
Although research has shown this drug to be more than 99 percent effective, dog owners are encouraged to keep their male dogs away from female dogs in heat for at least 60 days because not all the sperm may be killed immediately after the procedure. However, it does reduce testosterone levels to about 50 percent of what is present in intact male dogs.
Some feel that inserting a needle in the testicles is painful, dangerous and bordering on inhumane. One of the most important things about zeutering is that the injection technique be done properly to avoid adverse reactions. There are certain reactions that can be expected, such as:
• Fatigue for the first 24 hours
• Swelling for the first 24 to 48 hours
• Possible vomiting the first day
A very small percentage need follow-up care for the certain reactions, including testicle infection, testicle abscess and scrotal ulceration or irritation. The rate of complications is only about one percent.
Benefits of Zeutering vs. Neutering
As with all medical procedures, there are pros and cons. Here are some pros to zeutering.
• There is no need for general anesthesia.
• The medication is administered in seconds.
• Zeutering is a non-invasive process unlike neutering.
• The neutering process is much less, making the recovery time much less as well.
• The cost is substantially lower than neutering.
• The testosterone is not removed completely with zeutering as it is with traditional neutering.
• There are no incisions of which to be concerned so no need for the dog to wear a cone.
• Because the process is done with a very fine needle, it’s relatively painless and results in little bleeding.
• The dog generally returns to normal behavior within 24 hours.
• The rate of complications is much lower than with traditional neutering.
• Because of its low cost, it allows shelters and rescue organizations to afford to zeuter more dogs.
Here are Some Cons to Zeutering
• Dog may develop side effects like scrotal bruising, testicular swelling, testicular pain and vomiting.
• Others may not believe the dog is sterile, which can cause issues in public.
• Dogs may still want to mate with other dogs.
• Dogs may still mount other dogs, which can transmit venereal disease.
Here are Some Pros to Neutering
• The testosterone is removed, which can result in fewer behavior problems associated with many intact dogs, such as marking territory, aggression, roaming and mounting other dogs and even some humans.
• Diseases resulting from too much testosterone, such as bacterial prostatitis, hyperplasia, perianal tumors and testicular cancer, are less frequent with neutering because of the loss of testosterone.
• It’s been the sterilization method used for years.
Cons to Neutering
• High Cost
• Requires anesthesia
• An invasive procedure requires cutting with a knife
• Longer recovery period
• Requires stitches so dog typically needs to wear a cone or e-collar
Although the process of zeutering has gained popularity in other countries, it never really became that popular in the United States and is seldom used in the U.S. today. Many dog owners just feel more secure having their dog undergo the traditional surgical castration rather than having them zeutered.
Does Pet Insurance Cover Zeutering?
Sterilization is typically not covered under a pet insurance policy that only covers major medical or accident-only services. Since zeutering is a form of sterilization, it also is probably not going to be covered under such policies.
Some pet insurance companies offer pet owners the opportunity to purchase a wellness plan, which covers preventative and routine care. Although this varies by provider, some wellness plans may provide coverage for sterilization.
Costs of Zeutering
One of the major benefits of having a dog zeutered is its relatively low cost. The price may differ from vet to another, but he cost is usually anywhere from $7.50 to $28.00 per dog. The big difference in the cost stems mostly from the process not requiring anesthesia, hospital stay, and fees for surgical instruments.