ORLANDO, FL (WKMG/CNN) - A new tool for veterinarians could put the whole neutering process into one simple injection.
"It's easy to apply. It's a simple procedure," said Dr. Becky Rhoades.
Throughout her career, she said she's neutered thousands of dogs. It's a surgical process that's almost second nature to her.
"We've done them for years and years and just not really had any problems, but the idea of not having to put them under anesthesia is huge," Rhoades said.
Complications from anesthesia can kill some dogs, and that's why she says this new product opens new doors. Zeuterin is a one-time injection that neuters a dog permanently without cutting.
"We're doing a procedure called zinc sterilization," said Dr. Byron Maas.
Maas works for the drug's manufacturer Ark Sciences. He traveled to Orlando to train a group of central Florida vets on how to administer it.
"Now we can sterilize a dog, but they get the benefit of keeping their testicles and some benefits of having testosterone for normal metabolic function," Maas said.
That's just one of the benefits. Others include no anesthesia risks. It takes just seconds to do, it's pretty painless and it could cost patients as little as $20 - much cheaper that surgery.
There are some concerns. It only eliminates the testosterone used for reproduction. The remaining testosterone could be funneled into sexual aggression or agitation in dogs who may also continue to mark their territory. For those dogs, veterinarians still recommend the old tried-and-true procedure with a scalpel.
For shelters like the SPCA of Central Florida where this training took place, Zeuterin can help neuter more dogs when they're out in the field, possibly helping more strays.
"We need to be able to do something very quickly and effectively without a lot of surgical supplies," Maas said. "So we can actually double our ability to sterilize animals with just doing injections."
Right now, Zeuterin is only being used on male dogs. There's no word if there will be a similar product for cats in the future.
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