8 November 2016

Research in non-surgical contraceptive methods in dogs and cats

Ground-breaking research contributes to welfare of companion animals

The most effective birth control method for dogs and cats is the removal of their reproductive organs. But from the perspective of animal welfare, a non-surgical method would be strongly preferable. Veterinarian Karin Albers, specialist in training at the Reproduction Department of the University Clinic for Companion Animal Health (UKG), has recently received a research subsidy of $ 300,000 together with her colleagues.

With this funding, they will be able to conduct research into a method for making dogs and cats infertile through non-surgical means. This ground-breaking research will help the UKG contribute to the welfare of companion animals.

Fewer strays
The funding for the research was provided by the Found Animal Foundation (USA). This foundation, which was initiated and financed by the surgeon Gary Michelson, encourages research into medicines that can act as life-long contraceptives after a single, non-surgical administration, in order to reduce the numbers of stray dogs in countries such as the USA.

Switching off reproductive organs
Albers and her colleagues have set up a research project in cooperation with Prof. Lee Smith and Dr. Pamela Brown of the University of Edinburgh’s MRC Centre for Reproductive Health. In this project, they will use genetic techniques to ‘switch off’ hormone receptors in the reproductive organs that are essential for reproduction. The first part of the four-year project will take place in Edinburgh. After that, the researchers from Utrecht will take over the conduct of the clinical part of the study. The Found Animal Foundation has provided a total of $ 950,000 for the entire project.