COLLEGE STATION, Feb. 19, 2008 If youre a land owner and animals such as coyotes or wild pigs are driving you hog wild, help may soon be on the way to control their numbers in a humane way in the form of a birth control pill for animals being developed at Texas A&M Universitys College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. The concept would be to get it to wild animals through baited food, researchers say.
Researchers are testing oral contraceptives used in much the same way as in humans and the results are promising, says Duane Kraemer, a professor in veterinary physiology and pharmacology and a world leader in embryo transfer who has been involved in cloning four different species in recent years.
Kraemer, one of the pills creators, and other members of the research team are testing the contraceptive for use on wild animals, but the applications could most likely be used in pets, he believes.
No one method will be useful in all situations, he stresses.
This approach inhibits maturation of the egg and therefore prevents fertilization. The animals continue to cycle, so it will not yet be ideal for many pet owners. But there is an advantage for use in wild and feral animals.
Kraemer says the research team has recently started tests on domestic models for predators animals such as feral pigs and cougars but if successful, it could be used on a wide variety of animals, including dogs and cats, he explains. The team also has submitted grant applications for similar projects on coyotes and deer.
A spinoff of this contraceptive could probably be used on many different species, he adds.
The $90,000 project is being funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and private donations.
The pill works by inhibiting the maturation of the egg, not the entire cycle, Kraemer says. The technical name for the drug is called a phosphodiesterase 3 inhibitor, and it is one member of a family of
|Contact: Keith Randall|
Texas A&M University