Category Archives: Contraceptives

Why over vaccinate?

Why over vaccinate?

Why over vaccinate tiny little dogs?

I don’t know.


Dogs With No Names project has worked in several Indigenous communities across Canada using contraceptive implants to rapidly reduce an unwanted dog population by initially targeting females.
This provides two clear and immediate benefits:

1. Increased public safety through decrease fighting/chaos around females no longer in heat.

2. Huge welfare benefit for females who may otherwise deliver unwanted puppies in the winter.

As such, we also provide rabies vaccine, essential in case of dog bites, and over the years, we have added a parvo/distemper vaccine to prevent mortality of sexually-neutralized females.
Outdoor females, that is.

Lately, a spay/neuter group went to a First Nations community to hold a surgical clinic. That is good news. However, ‘driveable’ First Nations (FN) communities in southern Alberta have access to veterinary care. That means, many FN residents take their dogs to a veterinarian for routine care such as vaccinations.

At my veterinary hospital, 8 small dogs (under 10 pounds) owned by regular FN clients came in to get vaccine boosters for their dogs who had just been ‘done’ at the recent spay/neuter clinic.

This was an unpleasant situation: all 8 little tiny dogs were already properly vaccinated with several of them on a 3 year vaccine schedule. The FN dog owners were upset their dogs got over vaccinated. These little dogs are totally indoors and do NOT contribute to the overpopulation of dogs on the rez nor put public safety in jeopardy.

Dogs With No Names project has federal oversight and reports on all contraceptives used in dogs in Canada. To that intent, all dogs in our projects are microchipped.

Some outdoor dogs just spayed, had recently received an implant. Thus, one of us wasted resources as females do not need their ovaries removed AND an implant.

A phone call before the spay/neuter clinic would have easily identified the dogs at risk (welfare), the dogs in need of spaying, and residents dealing with semi-feral dogs in dire need of help.

We all have finite resources, why not work together to enhance these resources for the benefit of the dogs who really need a break?

As for neutering and vaccinating 5 year old chihuahua living exclusively indoors… I don’t get it.

~Judith Samson-French DVM

The problem…which rez dog do you neuter?

The question

What problem are you trying to solve?

If an overpopulation of dogs is perceived, why are you neutering males?

If you are neutering males, which males do you neuter first?

Free roaming rez dogs

The big alpha ones who run the show and are intent to breed females in heat? Or the ‘satellite’ males, the ones who run around at the periphery and not really taking part of the action?

If you neuter the alpha ones, the satellite dogs will become the alpha ones. If you neuter the satellite dogs, the alpha ones still run the show.

Most of all, why neuter 5 year old indoor yorkie or chihuahua males?

What problem are you trying to solve when indiscriminately neutering males, or neutering small indoor males?

Dr. Judith Samson-French

Chemical castration of dogs – helpful?

Chemical castration of dogs – helpful?

The answer may be found in a study done on a statistically significant number of dogs in Chile.

It concluded the majority of dogs displayed no long-term (up to 6 months) testosterone levels change after chemical sterilization.

Does castration help reduce roaming?

The implications? We need to better understand the role testosterone plays on sexual, aggressive and
roaming behaviours to appropriately chose the best method of sterilization and intended impact on male dogs beyond shooting blanks.

Our team does not believe, at this point, that chemical sterilization is an ideal choice for free-roaming rez dogs: if a chemically castrated dog continues to pursue females in heat and engage in dog aggression, it remains a public safety issue.

Your thoughts?

Dr. Judith Samson-French

Effects of surgical and chemical sterilization on the behavior of free-roaming male dogs in Puerto Natales, Chile.
Garde E1, Pérez GE2, Vanderstichel R3, Dalla Villa PF4, Serpell JA5.

 

Who owns Alberta Wildies?

Cecil the lion always ‘belonged’ to trophy hunters.
He lived in the wild but on borrowed time.
Cecil’s time was up when trophy hunter Palmer decided it was.

And so it is with entire ecosystems across the world.
Alberta is no different.
Wildies in logged area near Sundre Alberta
Alberta has sold/given crown land rights away to extraction companies, ranchers and hunters decades ago.
In doing so, Alberta has privatized chunks of crown land and abandoned its role as steward to become a landlord.
Often, a very generous landlord.
Wild animals and their habitats, a cherished public heritage, are now at the mercy of short-sighted private industry groups.

And so every year, the charade of evaluating secretive information (not accessible to public) about Wildies to decide their fate has become a disappointing winter ritual.
But really who owns the Wildies?

Isn’t it time for Alberta to transition back from a landlord role to one of stewardship?

The conflict of nature’s ownership, Wildies in clearcut area by Duane Starr Photography

Dr. Judith Samson-French

Why can’t the government make the right decision about wild horses culls?

Why can’t the government make the right decision about wild horses culls in Alberta?

In my view, because the wrong people are handling the issue.

Wildies management falls under the Alberta Grazing & Range division whose mandate is to preserve forage for cattle. The range biologists are very knowledgeable about vegetation and livestock grazing needs of crown land.

However, since Wildies do not fall under the Wildlife Act, forage specialists are managing a mammal population that is far beyond their expertise: that is where things fall apart.

When range biologists are questioned on survey methodology and population estimates of Wildies (which often make no sense such as impossible population growth…) no sound explanation is put forth. And that is normal because they are out of their proficiency and budget zone.

On the other hoof, Fish & Wildlife biologists are very skilled at producing reliable population COUNTS for ‘huntable’ species (moose, elk, deer…) with strong confidence intervals. Statistically significant population counts are achieved through properly designed survey methods such as stratified blocks, and time tested computer modelling. It’s about defining age and sex cohorts AND the variables that affect those.

All that range specialists have been able to do is establish TRENDS based on poor methodology – this would be totally unacceptable for our ‘huntable’ species.

So how many Wildies should be culled (what sex and age, and in which area) have so far been done based on wild trends guesstimates.
As a result, culls have been very poorly executed.

Sadly, this inefficiency elegantly demonstrates that culls beget more culls when done inappropriately. And that is a waste for all.

Bewildered Wildies trio by Duane Starr Photography

Dr. Judith Samson-FrenchAlberta wildies

3 solutions – which are you using?

When assisting communities to humanely deal with unwanted dogs, there are 3 possible immediate solutions:
IMG_0193
 
1. Stop or decrease “littering”
This starts with the prevention of as many pregnancies (ie targeting females) as possible, as fast as possible, with surgical and/or non-surgical intervention and conventional means (sequestration of females in heat).
 
2. Prevent influx of dogs in the communities.
Especially non sexually neutralized dogs (spayed or neutered).
 
3. Encourage adoption of excess dogs within and outside the communities.
For a dog population management plan to sustainably succeed in the long term, more than one solution needs to be applied. This also implies that each community needs to implement a set of bylaws suitable and enforceable to their specific needs.
Respectfully,
Dr. Judith Samson-French

Chemical castration – desirable for dogs with no names?

In my opinion,  the answer is no.

But let’s get a little background info first.

Chemical castration of dogs refers to two products: Zeuterin (Zinc gluconate) and Calcium chloride. The former is approved in USA (but not in Canada) while the latter has not had proper clinical trials to evaluate its efficacy and safety. Both involve injecting testicles with a chemical to produce tissue atrophy. Tissue swelling (which occurs from the mere fact of injecting liquid into a capsular structure) is a primary cause of discomfort post-injection and pain management must be implemented.

Zeuterin, unlike surgical castration, leaves enough testosterone behind to produce testosterone driven behaviours such as mounting of females (but shooting blanks), roaming  and packing. Those are precisely behaviours that people living in our remote and isolated communities find undesirable.

Free roaming dog

As for Calcium chloride, there is an overall lack of consistency in formulation, dosage, and administration as well as inadequate measures of sterility, safety, and testosterone reduction. For those reasons, Calcium chloride needs more controlled clinical trials BEFORE  its use in the field for purpose of sterilization be considered.

Because both products may produce significant pain and debilitating scrotal problems, chemically sterilized dogs should be kept under supervision and pain management implemented for one to two weeks post injection. This is simply not feasible with free-roaming dogs, dogs with no names.

As always, when trying new medical protocols in the field, one must be very conscious not to take advantage of disadvantaged populations who do not know better.

Dr. Judith Samson-French

The dogs who never bit us

The Dogs Who Never Bit Us

Northern Dog Project 2015-16, James Bay, Canada

A dog carrying the Arctic fox strain of rabies was discovered in the James Bay coastal community of Kashechewan in 2013.

A humane and sustainable Dog Population Management (DPM) Project was initiated to prevent the spread of this deadly virus to animals and people in the remote and isolated communities of James Bay, namely Moosonee, Moose Factory, Attawapiskat, Kashechewan, Fort Albany and to the north in Hudson Bay, Peawanuck.

The four pillars of our DPM consist in permanently and reliably identifying each dog with a microchip, stop the spread of relevant contagious diseases by vaccinating against rabies, parvovirus and distemper, and deworming to help maintain good body condition. In addition, we use a non-surgical fertility control method (contraceptive implant) in potentially fertile females to prevent the birth of unwanted puppies. As a bonus, one ton of dog food was distributed to the dogs in the region.

A formal dog registry was compiled for each of the six communities so a DPM plan can be tailored to their specific needs and abilities Gentle dog

including practical solutions and measures for dog bite prevention.

Just over 600 dogs were handled and welcomed in this world premiere project using non-surgical contraceptives. It is with pride and pleasure, on behalf of all involved in this project, that Pearls 365 presents photos of some of these beautiful great Northern dogs at http://wearpearls365.com/northerndogs/.

Heartfelt gratitude to all who helped from close and afar: this project is the result of an immense collaboration of agencies, businesses, people who have proven that goodwill is alive and well (thank you Sam).

A special thank you to all the dogs who never bit us.

Dr. Judith Samson-French

The spay-neuter debate in dogs

Until 10 years ago, the primary incentive to spay and neuter was to prevent uncontrolled numbers of dogs produced and euthanized at shelters across the continent.

However as the primary impetus to breed dogs (for form and function) has considerably changed, the views on spay and neuter are also evolving, especially in light of dog health and social differences observed in other countries  (mainly in Europe) which do not endorse surgical sterilization.

PREVENTION OF MAMMARY CANCER

Other than population control, the most important reason to spay dogs is the prevention of mammary tumours, if spaying is done early in life. However this comes at a cost: increased urinary incontinence.

INCREASED RISKS OF CANCER

There is growing evidence which is not conclusive due to the lack of statistically significant controlled studies (as opposed to observational ones) indicating that certain cancers such as osteosarcoma (bone cancer), bladder transitional cell carcinoma, splenic hemangiosarcoma and mast cell tumours may be increased as a result of gonadectomy (removal of gonads, ie ovaries or testicles).

 

SPAY AND NEUTER IN REMOTE COMMUNITIES

This brings into focus the need to elaborate specific protocols regarding spay and neuter in remote areas such as First Nations communities where the mortality rate of dogs may be relatively high.

Is it done to benefit an individual dog or the community?

If population control is the aim, shouldn’t all available females be spayed first before neutering males?

What about neutering males who do not have clear male-on-male aggression behavioural issues – why spend resources on them before spaying females?

Should breed predisposition to ailments resulting from gonadectomy be considered when spaying or neutering a dog in remote areas?

The Dog Population Management project of James / Hudson Bay area of 2015-16 is helping to bring to light specific needs and solutions for dog populations in remote areas. We would love to hear your thoughts!

Dr. Judith Samson-French

When and who to neuter depends on the end goal.
When and who to neuter depend on the end goal.