Discount deal on Neutersol for humane societies in developing nations

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 2004:

FAYETTE, Missouri; CONCORD, N.H.– One day after the April
2004 edition of ANIMAL PEOPLE went to press, noting that the
U.S.-approved chemosterilant Neutersol is still not affordably
available to help control street dogs in developing nations,
Neutersol product director Cord Harper announced that the
manufacturer, Addison Biological Laboratory Inc. in Fayette,
Missouri, “would like to show a strong commitment to the
international animal welfare community by offering 100,000 vials of
Neutersol at $15 per vial to a coalition of groups that could put it
to good use in developing countries where it is desperately needed.”
Harper, who had not yet seen the ANIMAL PEOPLE coverage,
made the offer through Peter Bender and Anne Ostberg of the Pegasus
Foundation.
Based in Concord, New Hampshire, with a second office in
West Palm Beach, Florida, the Pegasus Foundation funds dog and cat
sterilization in the Caribbean, the Bahamas, and the Navajo Nation,
including parts of Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico.
“Neutersol has begun gaining acceptance in the U.S. animal welfare
community. Many of the largest shelters in the country are beginning
to adopt it,” Harper said. “We have inventory that would be much
better utilized to permanently and humanely sterilize hundreds of
thousands of dogs rather than sit in a warehouse.”

The first injectible chemosterilant for male dogs on the U.S.
market, Neutersol was introduced through private practice
veterinarians in mid-2003, after more than 15 years of development.
A similar product for cats is reportedly soon to be marketed.
While chemical sterilization appears to be the most practical
approach to altering male animals by injection, genetically
engineered immunocontraceptives that induce biological rejection of
sperm cells are believed to be the injectible product closest to the
market for altering females. Immunocontraceptives are already widely
used to control wildlife reproduction on an experimental basis, but
an accessible product for dogs and cats may still be a year or more
from federal approval.
Much of the development work on both chemosterilants and
immunocontraceptives has been done through the American Zoo
Association’s Contraceptive Advisory Group. Since 1990 the AZA has
collected data on the use of about a dozen contraceptive approaches,
involving nearly 300 species.
The discounted Neutersol price offered to the developing
world through the Pegasus Foundation is less than a third of the
listed U.S. price of $49.99 a vial, and is half of the Addison
regular price to developing countries of $30, Harper said.
Spay/Neuter Assistance Program founder Sean Hawkins, of
Houston, told ANIMAL PEOPLE that the Neutersol vials offered to
nonprofit organizations are two millilitres, which can be cut three
ways to sterilize normal-sized Mexican street dogs, who typically
weigh about 35 pounds, and can be cut four ways to sterilize
puppies. Addison Labs has applied to the USDA, Hawkins said, to
repackage Neutersol in smaller doses.
SNAP operates surgical neutering programs in Houston and San
Antonio, Texas; Los Angeles, California; Monterrey, Mexico;
and Native American reservations in Colorado, Arizona, Utah, and
New Mexico. Hawkins said the program in Monterrey has used Neutersol
to sterilize several hundred street dogs without complications.
A Mexico City colleague, Hugh Wheer, DVM, has already
sterilized more than 20,000 male dogs with Neutersol, Hawkins added.
SNAP is working with Addison Biological Laboratory, Sean
said, to “roll out Neutersol in a major way” to humane organizations
soon, totally separate from the Pegasus Foundaton project.
A May 4 international conference call arranged by the Pegasus
Foundation to enable interested organizations to discuss the Addison
offer to developing nations included representatives of the World
Society for the Protection of Animals, Maddie’s Fund, the Marchig
Trust, the National SPCA of South Africa, and the Oregon-based
Esther Honey Foundation, which assists dog and cat sterilization in
the Cook Islands and Tahiti.
Founder Cathy Sue Ragan-Anunsen e-mailed to ANIMAL PEOPLE on
April 24 that volunteer veterinarians recruited by the Esther Honey
Foundation have surgically sterilized 4,000 dogs and cats on
Rarotonga since 1993, and surgically sterilized 664 animals in Bora
Bora during February and March 2004.
The first of a series of introductory presentations for U.S.
animal shelters was scheduled for May 24 at the Oregon Humane Humane
Society in Portland. Inquiries about attending must be made to
Andrea Moulas at 503-416-5022 or <AndreaM@oregonhumane.org> by May 19.
The Humane Society of the U.S., WSPA, North Shore Animal
League America, Arizona Humane Society, and Humane Society of
Missouri participated at various points in perfecting Neutersol and
obtaining federal permission to sell it.
Friends of Animals has opposed the introduction of Neutersol
since 1990, primarily by accusing the developers of vivisection,
though the total number of animals killed in FDA-mandated testing
over the past 15 years is far less than the hourly toll at typical
urban animal control agencies. Friends of Animals was founded in
1957 to promote low-cost surgical sterilization, and still derives
more than half of its income from selling coupons for discount
sterilization surgery.
Comparable products are reportedly close to introduction in
Thailand, Brazil, and India. The India National Institute of
Immunology and the Blue Cross of India were apparently on the right
track when they developed a chemosterilant called Talsur more than 15
years ago, but it was introduced before all of the technical
problems were resolved, produced painful side effects in about a
third of the male dogs who were treated, and was withdrawn from
further use in 1991.
Chinny Krishna, vice chair of both the Blue Cross of India
and the Animal Welfare Board of India, told ANIMAL PEOPLE that
Neutersol product literature and his experience with Talsur suggest
to him that in the developing world Neutersol may be most useful in
treating puppies between the ages of three and ten months.
“The pain threshold for dogs is fairly high,” Krishna said.
“The pain exhibited by quite a few of the dogs [injected with
Neutersol in product safety tests] worries me. Since the dogs should
be ‘closely monitored’ for at least six days,” according to the
Neutersol instructions, “it might not be economically attractive for
India,” where even at the price of $15 per vial, treating three
dogs per vial, Neutersol would cost nearly as much per dog as
conventional surgery and follow-up.
“For the street dog Animal Birth Control program,” Krishna
opined, “the main constraints (other than cost) will be that only
males can be done,” and that Neutersol will not induce the same
behavioral changes as surgical castration.
“The plus side here,” Krishna said, “is that no surgical
skill is required to use Neutersol, and lack of skilled
sterilization surgeons is a major problem in India. However, since
females must also be sterilized,” Krishna concluded, “I think that
we have to start some sort of major surgical training.”

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