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Comparison of intratesticular injection of zinc gluconate versus surgical castration to sterilize male dogs

Julie K. LevyDepartment of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610.

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P. Cynda CrawfordDepartment of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610.

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Leslie D. AppelAmerican Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 424 E 92nd St, New York, NY 10128.

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Emma L. CliffordAnimal Balance, Fort Mason Center, Quarters 35, San Francisco, CA 94123.

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Abstract

Objective—To compare castration of dogs by use of intratesticular injection of zinc gluconate with traditional surgical procedures in terms of acceptance by pet owners, ease of use, and short-term outcomes on Isabela Island of the Galápagos Islands.

Animals—161 privately owned male dogs admitted to a neuter program.

Procedures—Medical records of male dogs neutered during a 4-week animal control campaign were reviewed to collect information regarding signalment, method of castration, complication rate, and treatment outcomes.

Results—Of the 161 dogs admitted for castration, 58 were surgically castrated and 103 were treated with zinc gluconate. Dogs were returned to their owners for observation following castration. Wound dehiscence occurred in 2 skin incisions, representing 3.4% of the 58 dogs that underwent bilateral orchiectomy. Necrotizing zinc-gluconate injection-site reactions occurred in 4 dogs receiving injection volumes near the maximum label dose (0.8 to 1.0 mL), representing 3.9% of the zinc-gluconate procedures. Surgical wound complications were treated by superficial wound debridement and resuturing, in contrast to zinc-gluconate injection-site reactions, which all required orchiectomy and extensive surgical debridement, including scrotal ablation in 2 dogs.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Low cost, ease of use, and cultural acceptance of a castration technique that does not require removal of the testes make zinc gluconate a valuable option for large-scale use in dogs, particularly in remote locations lacking sophisticated clinical facilities or skilled surgeons and staff. Further investigation is needed to identify risk factors in dogs for adverse reactions to zinc gluconate and to develop strategies for avoidance.

Abstract

Objective—To compare castration of dogs by use of intratesticular injection of zinc gluconate with traditional surgical procedures in terms of acceptance by pet owners, ease of use, and short-term outcomes on Isabela Island of the Galápagos Islands.

Animals—161 privately owned male dogs admitted to a neuter program.

Procedures—Medical records of male dogs neutered during a 4-week animal control campaign were reviewed to collect information regarding signalment, method of castration, complication rate, and treatment outcomes.

Results—Of the 161 dogs admitted for castration, 58 were surgically castrated and 103 were treated with zinc gluconate. Dogs were returned to their owners for observation following castration. Wound dehiscence occurred in 2 skin incisions, representing 3.4% of the 58 dogs that underwent bilateral orchiectomy. Necrotizing zinc-gluconate injection-site reactions occurred in 4 dogs receiving injection volumes near the maximum label dose (0.8 to 1.0 mL), representing 3.9% of the zinc-gluconate procedures. Surgical wound complications were treated by superficial wound debridement and resuturing, in contrast to zinc-gluconate injection-site reactions, which all required orchiectomy and extensive surgical debridement, including scrotal ablation in 2 dogs.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Low cost, ease of use, and cultural acceptance of a castration technique that does not require removal of the testes make zinc gluconate a valuable option for large-scale use in dogs, particularly in remote locations lacking sophisticated clinical facilities or skilled surgeons and staff. Further investigation is needed to identify risk factors in dogs for adverse reactions to zinc gluconate and to develop strategies for avoidance.

Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to Dr. Levy.