Neutering can be a hot topic in many families. Many families decide against neutering their male pets because they do not like the appearance of their dog after the surgery.
In 1993, Gregg Miller of Buckner, Missouri, felt the same way. It was time for him to make a decision about neutering his beloved bloodhound, Buck, but he didn't want his dog's appearance altered. He was disheartened to learn that testicular implants were not available for dogs.
Miller had Buck neutered the old fashioned way, but the experience gave him an idea. That year, Miller brought together a team of veterinarians with the goal of developing testicular implants for dogs. They dubbed their enterprise the Canine Testicular Implantation project (CTI).
CTI began researching and developing testicular implants, referred to as "neuticles." With costs exceeding $500,000, a safe, and patented, implant was finally developed. In 1995, a 9-month-old Rottweiler named Max received the first commercially available neuticles.
Since the first implantation in 1995, over 50,000 pets throughout the world have received neuticles.
With the success of canine implants, neuticles have been successfully implanted in cats, horses and even bulls.
Pet overpopulation is a serious concern. Any safe method that will help reduce this overpopulation is usually endorsed and accepted by veterinarians, humane organizations and animal shelters. Since some people feel that neutering is disfiguring, the cosmetic answer is neuticles. Vasectomies are rarely, if ever, performed in dogs. It is an expensive procedure and does not remove the negative behaviors of intact male dogs such as aggression, urine marking and roaming.
What are They Made Of?
Currently, there are three models - originals, naturals and ultras. Each model is made from FDA approved (for human use) material and is similar in size, shape and weight of the natural testicle.
The original neuticle model is made from a type of plastic. They are non-porous and rigid. The natural model is made from solid silicone and is more similar in texture and firmness to normal testicles. The ultra model is also made from solid silicone but is 30 percent softer in firmness than the natural model.
There are five different sizes available for dogs and cats and only one size for horses and bulls. Custom sizing is available.
Are There Any Complications?
Ever since the first neuticle was implanted, there have been no significant complications or side effects. Since these implants are made from solid silicone and not gel silicone, leakage is not a concern. Even though complications are unheard of, each neuticle implantation is backed by a $1 million product liability guarantee.
Even though most neuticles are implanted at the time of neutering, pets up to 5 years following neutering have been implanted with neuticles, without complication.
What Do They Cost?
The original model of neuticles cost under $40 per pair. The natural and ultra models range in price from $80 to $130. This price does not include neutering or implantation.
Neuticles have been implanted in all 50 states and 20 foreign countries with a total of over 8000 veterinary clinics.
Even though some may feel that implants are silly, unnecessary and are simply cosmetic, some owners are quite disturbed about removing a natural body part from their pet. If neuticles are the way to increase the numbers of neutering procedures, then we should all support it. Any safe and effective effort to reduce pet overpopulation should be applauded.