Independent study of veterinarians regarding non-surgical sterilants and contraceptives for pets
In late 2007 and in 2008, ACC&D commissioned two independent studies on the perception and use of nonsurgical sterilants (contraceptives) as a viable alternative (or supplement) to the use of surgical spaying and neutering in controlling dog and cat populations. The studies were fielded by BN Research, a leader in animal health marketing research, with over twenty years of experience interviewing veterinarians and pet owners.
In 2007, ACC&D conducted a survey among 200 general practice, small animal veterinarians, and in 2008, 240 veterinarians who are current members of the Association of Shelter Veterinarians (ASV).
There is lots of interesting data in the study write ups. Below are brief highlights of the survey results, followed by some perspective, and the links so that you can review the reports directly.
While veterinarians in both surveys agree that unplanned litters are the major cause of unwanted pets, there was a significant discrepancy in how shelter vets versus general practice vets felt about the potential for non-surgical sterilants as a solution.
Shelter veterinarians were almost twice as likely as general practice veterinarians to recognize many possible benefits of non-surgical sterilizations.
Even more shelter veterinarians than general practice veterinarians indicated that it was very important that a non-surgical product require only one treatment, provide permanent sterilization, reduce unwanted behaviors of a sexually intact pet, and protect against hormone-related diseases.
All veterinarians saw the greatest need for sterilants to be female cats (compared to male cats, or female and male dogs).
While shelter veterinarians more than general practice veterinarians recognized a greater need for non-surgical sterilants to control the (especially) feral cat population, they were much less likely to recommend a temporary contraceptive (three-year) out of concern that the cats would not receive a repeat treatment.
ACC&D's Perspective on Research Findings
Although these surveys are now several years old, we think they are still likely representative of the profession. ACC&D is concerned, if not too surprised, about the results of this study. The timing is right for the veterinary field to become more supportive of developing useful tools to extend our reach for humane, safe and effective population control.
We know it is normal for veterinarians to be uncertain about new medical options until all their questions are answered. This study helped us clarify key questions and concerns from veterinarians currently working in or with animal shelters and nonprofit sterilization clinics. This input will help to both to guide the product research to meet these needs and inform the dialogue we would like to continue on this topic.
To view the full reports, please download the PDFs below