Bearing in mind widespread spaying and neutering – surgical procedures to stop the procreation of unwanted cats – it would nice if there was a safe and effective cat birth control drug in 2019. But when I research the subject I see caution and uncertainty. I also see work in progress but no settled, safe alternatives to spaying and neutering.
For example one of the top pages on this topic (dvm360.com) was written in 2010 and starts, ‘A viable alternative to spaying and neutering for canine and feline population control is being intensively investigated’.
The books that I have are dated earlier at the 1990s and 2008. Both seem to be out of date. The point I am making is that this is still an evolving area of veterinary medicine as far as I can tell. It is therefore important to only use modern information when writing about it. My gut feeling is that there is resistance to using alternatives to surgery because the drug alternatives are yet to be as good when taking into account all factors such has effectiveness, side effects health risks etc..
You’d expect to see lots of information of cat birth control dugs on the internet (and you have to rely on the internet for up to date information) but it isn’t there in the quantities that I’d expect. There is also an element of negativity about cat birth control drugs.
For instance on the vetinfo.com website they mention cat birth control injections – Depro-Provena -which they say is safe for cats. It contains ‘medroxyprogesterone acetate, a synthetic hormone that prevents ovulation’. But there are risks with this drug such as a uterine infection, diabetes, mammary tutors, lower energy levels and weight gain. So it is not that safe.
Another possibility is Ovaban which is used by cat breeds apparently. This is a hormonal supplement which stops the heat cycle in females.
They say it is safe but (the ‘but’ is very telling) there are potential side effects again such as diabetes, mammary gland cancer and uterine disease. Also unspayed females who don’t mate have a high risk of developing a dangerous infection of the uterus – pyometra. These are serious adverse side effects which as I read it makes the drug almost unusable. In 2008 Ovaban was not approved for us in the USA for use in cats.
Also in 2008, my book – Cat Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook – on cat health stated:
“Work is currently under way to test a contraceptive vaccine for use in cats. The goal is to block a cat’s LH [feline luteinizing hormone] so that ovulation won’t occur.”
When I google ‘cat contraceptive vaccine LH’ I get research projects but no marketable vaccine. Is there one out there in the marketplace? You tell me please.
Yes, my online research on this at the time of writing this post brings up studies but no mainstream cat drugs for birth control. This is indicative of an unsettled situation. Correct me if I am wrong but we are yet to create a cat control drug which is a satisfactory alternative to spaying and neutering which is why the latter is seen as the only practical way in early 2019 to effect birth control in feral and domestic cats.