If you don't like the idea of surgically neutering your puppy, which requires anesthesia and a day at the vet, there's an alternative. Products containing zincum gluconicum, better known as zinc gluconate, are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for injectable neutering of dogs under the age of 10 months. With zinc gluconate, your veterinarian can neuter your puppy in minutes and you can take him directly home.
Zincum Gluconicum and L-Arginine
A solution composed primarily of the trace element zinc gluconate and the amino acid L-arginine effectively sterilizes young dogs when injected directly into the testicles. Marketed under the names Zeuterin and Neutersol, the product works by destroying the sperm currently in the testicles -- but permanent sterilization results from scar tissue forming in the seminiferous tubules, so new sperm can no longer pass through. This form of sterilization doesn't completely eliminate testosterone production, but it does reduce it by approximately half.
The vet will measure the width of your dog's testicles in order to determine the correct amount of solution for sterilization. Because it's crucial that the veterinarian is able to inject the animal in the middle of each testicle, an unruly dog requires sedation. That doesn't mean anesthesia, which is necessary with surgery and which sometimes causes death. Instead, your vet will give the dog medication to calm him so she can perform the procedure.
Some dogs experience swelling and discomfort in the injection area for a few days after the procedure. Skin irritation might develop, causing biting and licking of the scrotum. Some dogs vomit after sterilization -- so you should withhold food for approximately 12 hours before the procedure. If your dog stops eating, experiences diarrhea or becomes lethargic within a week or so after the injections, or if his scrotum appears ulcerated, contact your vet.
Because some sperm potentially remains for a period after the injections, keep your dog away from female dogs for at least two months. Your dog retains his testicles, which means he is still vulnerable to testicular cancer, unlike surgically neutered dogs, whose testicles are removed. Because testosterone production doesn't cease, the dog sterilized with zincum gluconicum and L-arginine is at greater risk of prostate cancer. There is some evidence that dogs undergoing noninvasive sterilization are more prone to retaining or developing certain intact male dog behaviors -- including marking, mounting and roaming -- than in conventionally neutered canines.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.