Use of Contraceptives in Dogs and Cats

Use of Contraceptives (depoprovera) in Dogs and cats

This article covers contraceptives in detail and its use in veterinary medicine.

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Table of Contents:

What is contraceptive?

Any medicine/device/act which intentionally prevents pregnancy in any way is termed as contraceptive. Contraceptives are used to avoid unwanted pregnancy. Contraceptives ensure safe sex.

Uses of contraceptives in dogs and cats

  • Contraceptives are used to suppress the heat cycle in female dogs, and also used to treat various behavioral problems, including aggression in dogs and cats. Contraceptives are used to prevent undesired pregnancies. Naturally high level of progesterone P4 hormone acts as contraceptive in body. This effect is achieved through medication which is chemical analogues of this naturally occurring hormone and they act as contraceptives. 
  • Behavioral disorders in dogs and cats are a common reason for veterinary visits. 
  • Unacceptable or dangerous animal behavior problems may lead some owners to elect euthanasia as an ultimate solution to the problems they face with their pets.
  • Recently, veterinarians have placed greater emphasis on proper training and behavior modification practices, and specialists working in the field of animal behavior have increasingly adopted drugs used in human behavior for animal use.
  • Medroxyprogesterone acetate (MPA) is one of those drugs. It is a synthetic form of the hormone progesterone. Progesterone is a sterosex hormone. During pregnancy, it acts to protect the embryo and encourages the growth of the placenta.
  • MPA has been used to control certain sexual behavior problems.
  • MPA has been used to suppress the heat cycle in bitches.
  • It is also used to treat various behavioral problems, including aggression in dogs and cats; urine spraying or marking by male cats; and to suppress unwanted male behaviors, such as mounting and humping.
  • Can be used to treat some dermatological problems including Alopecia X in dogs and psychogenic dermatitis in cats.
  • MPA is a prescription drug and can only be obtained from a veterinarian or by prescription from a veterinarian.
  • This drug is not approved for use in animals by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but may be prescribed legally by veterinarians as an extra-label drug.

Available forms of Contraceptives

Medoxyprogesterone acetate is available as 2.5 mg, 5 mg, and 10 mg tablets (usually for humans).
MPA is also available as a suspension in 150 mg/ml and 400 mg/ml concentrations.

Safe dosage of contraceptives

  • Medication should never be given without first consulting your veterinarian.
  • MPA is usually injected in either a low dose or a high dose.
  • The low dose is 1 mg per pound (2 mg/kg) every 3 months or 1.5 mg per pound (3 mg/kg) every 4 months.
  • The high dose is 2.5 to 5 mg per pound (5 to 10 mg/kg) for dogs and 5 to 10 mg per pound (10 to 20 mg/kg) for cats, with an interval of no less than one month between injections.
  • The duration of administration depends on the condition being treated, response to the medication and the development of any adverse effects. Be certain to complete the prescription unless otherwise directed by your veterinarian.

Precautions and side effects

  • While generally safe and effective when prescribed by a veterinarian, MPA may cause serious side effects in some animals.
  • MPA should not be used in animals with known hypersensitivity or allergy to the drug.
  • MPA should not be used in animals diagnosed with diabetes mellitus.
  • It should not be used in intact females because it may induce serious medical complications, such as uterine infection (Pyometra).
  • Prolonged treatment may cause mammary tumors, diabetes mellitus and other systemic disorders.
  • Minor side effects include increased appetite, increased thirst, depression, mammary gland enlargement, weight gain and lethargy.
  • MPA may interact with other medications. Consult your veterinarian to determine if other drugs your pet is receiving could interact with MPA. Such drugs include rifampin and corticosteroids.

Brand names of contraceptives

This drug is registered for use in humans only.
Human formulations: Provera ® (Upjohn), Cycrin® (ESI Lederle), Amen® (Carnrick), Depo-Provera® (Pharmacia and Upjohn) and various generic preparations
Veterinary formulations: None

Frequently Asked Questions Related to Contraceptives

Is contraceptive safe for use in dogs and cats?

Yes contraceptives like provera or depoprovera are completely safe to use in dogs and cats. But their use is always governed by a licensed veterinary medical practitioner.

What is best contraceptive in cats?

So far Medoxyprogesterone is safest contraceptive in cats.

what are side effects of contraceptives?

Contraceptives induce dizziness. Your pet would be more sleepy and less active.

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