Tag: stephen zawistowski
This year fewer than 4 million unwanted dogs and cats will be euthanized, down from as many as 20 million before 1970, the Associated Press reported this week.
That figure’s still nothing to brag about, but it’s a massive improvement, and a testament — not just to surgery, but to the work shelters, rescue groups and animal welfare organizations do to encourage adoptions.
Most animal experts, though, according to the AP story, believe spaying and neutering has played the biggest role in reducing the number of unwanted, euthanized pets.
Nearly every public shelter, private rescue or animal welfare organization in the country now donates money, space or time to low-cost spay and neuter clinics, and spaying and neutering, in addition to becoming a requirement for most adoptions, has become the law in some states, counties and cities.
Spaying and neutering have also become less traumatic — for pets and owners.
“Now they make a one- or two-inch incision and use self-absorbing sutures” that mean a much quicker recovery for the animals, said Stephen Zawistowski, science adviser for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).
Zawistowski recalled when he got his first dog spayed 50 years ago, “she had an incision that must have been a foot long and was sewn up with what looked like piano wire.”
In addition to eliminating shelter kills, spaying and neutering can make pets easier to manage, less aggressive and healthier, said Andrew N. Rowan, president and CEO of Humane Society International and chief scientific officer for the Humane Society of the United States.
The first public spay and neuter clinic in the U.S., according to the AP story, was opened in Los Angeles in 1969.
What makes the figures all the more impressive is that the decline in the number of animals being euthanized each year comes even as the pet population has boomed. There were about 62 million companion pets in 1970, versus about 170 million today, Zawistowski said.
In years ahead, sterilizing a dog or cat may not always mean surgery. Work continues on pills, implants and vaccines that render cats and dogs unable to reproduce.
Dr. Gary Michelson, a billionaire orthopedic spinal surgeon and founder of Found Animals, posted a $25 million prize in 2008 for the creator of an affordable chemical sterilant, and has put up another $25 million for grants to scientists doing the research.
“When we first saw grant proposals coming in, we saw old ideas that had been laying around for 15 or 20 years. What we are seeing now are proposals based on cutting edge science — areas related to cancer and stem cell research. The level and sophistication of the science has moved to a higher level,” said Zawistowski, who is on the prize board.
In 2003, the FDA approved the first sterilant for male dogs. But at about $50 a shot, Neutersol was too costly. It was reworked, the price was cut to about $6 a dose and it was again approved by the FDA under the name Esterilsol. After trials around the world, it is expected to be available in the United States later this year.
Posted by jwoestendiek July 6th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: andrew rowan, animals, aspca, cats, chemical, clinics, contraception, dogs, esterilsol, euthanasia, euthanized, found animals, hsus, neuter, neutering, neutersol, perceptions, pets, pills, reproduction, rescues, shelters, society, spay, spaying, stephen zawistowski, sterilizing, surgery, unwanted