September 20, 2009Comments are closed.shelter procedure
Thanks to Kae for the tip!
While low cost pet desexing programs are a vital part of effective animal management, they are often seen as expensive and are overlooked in favour of laws which punish pet lovers and create more problems than they solve. But the ‘holy grail’ of animal sheltering; a cheap, non-surgical desexing option, could be on the horizon thanks to a multi-million dollar prize being offered in the US.
From this month’s Science Magazine; ‘A Cure for Euthanasia?’
Every year, millions of cats in dogs are euthanized in animal shelters, and thatâ€™s just in the United States. Worldwide, including the U.S., millions more cats and dogs run wildâ€”literally, they’re feralâ€”with populations growing out of control and posing health risks such as the spread of rabies. Research to develop an inexpensive, permanent, and non-surgical way to sterilize cats and dogs has waned due to lack of funding. But as Scienceâ€™s David Grimm reports in this weekâ€™s issue, a foundationâ€™s $75 million in research and prize money is revitalizing past efforts and promoting new sterilization research that may work for more animals than just cats and dogs.
Announced at the 2008 Spay USA Conference, the awards are the brainchild of Gary Michelson, a retired spinal surgeon and one of the richest people in the United States. He is looking to fund the development of a product as easy and inexpensive as a vaccination, that causes permanent infertility in cats and dogs. But, while $75 million seems like to a lot, is it really enough to fund a revolution like this? Yes! says Science journalist, and article author, David Grimm…
Well, first of all 50 million dollars is actually a really big pot of money, especially for a small field like this, so that money will probably last a long time. But, whatâ€™s also really important to note is, you know, a lot of these people that are applying for these grants are basic researchers. These are people that are just doing the preliminary experiments or maybe the preliminary clinical trials. And thatâ€™s whatâ€™s also really important about what Gary Michelson is doing: heâ€™s actually saying, ‘Look, once youâ€™ve got the product to the stage where itâ€™s ready to be commercialized, my foundationâ€™s going to step in and help with commercialization; itâ€™s going to help with the regulation.’
And his goal for this is two fold. First of all, he wants to make sure the product is cheap because if this product ends up costing as much as spay/neuter surgery then it has no advantage. And also, he wants to make sure it gets onto the market as soon as possible. He doesnâ€™t want this languishing in regulatory limbo forever. He really wants to make sure that once somebody really finds something thatâ€™s going to work, the foundation can make sure it gets out to all of these shelters and all of these developing countries that desperately need something like this.
According to the article, researchers are looking into a number of ways to permanently sterilise cats and dogs without surgery, including;
1) a vaccine that would block the release of sex hormones
2) a virus that would genetically silence fertility pathways
3) a chemical that would destroy eggs
4) a targeted cytotoxin that would destroy cells necessary for the production of sperm and eggs
5) a vaccine that would block sperm from entering eggs
While we wait with baited breath, it’s reassuring to see someone with the sheer clout of Michelson making this a priority project. Along with animal lovers around the globe, all empowered and lending their own unique contribution to fighting the needless killing of companion animals, we’re seeing big changes on the way.
The future is looking bright for pets.