Oral Chemical Capture of Street Dogs – Part 2


Fatal Plus should not be used to orally drug street dogs for the purpose of spaying or neutering.  We are still searching for safe and reliable oral chemical capture drugs for dogs.

This past month, a reader described using Fatal Plus to orally drug a street dog who could not be captured any other way.  (See Oral Chemical Capture of Street Dogs – Part 1).  I sincerely appreciated her comments because it motivated me to study oral drugging with sodium pentobarbital (the principal ingredient in Fatal Plus), I have learned a lot as a result and I respectfully share what I have learned.

After reading her comment, I had grave thoughts about giving an oral dose of a euthanasia agent, Fatal Plus, but we also need as many options as possible for catching difficult dogs.  So I visited by phone with the owner of Vortech Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturer of Fatal Plus, and with Dr. Rebecca Rhodes, author of the Euthanaisa Training Manual published by Humane Society of the United States (2002).

Dr. Rhodes absolutely discourages the use of Fatal Plus because the concentration of sodium pentobarbital is so strong that it can be very difficult to successfully recover the dog from the drug effects.  In addition, it is a DEA controlled substance with great potential for chemical addiction and it should not be taken out of the secure clinical setting.

There can be great pressure to capture a particular dog, but do we pursue it at all costs?  At times it is good to ask ourselves, ”Are we doing this for us or for the animal?”  With Fatal Plus, there is far too much risk to the animal and too much risk to staff and the public.  And so it should not be a tool for chemical capture.

We still need to identify and test oral sedatives and anesthetics that can provide reliable chemical capture of street dogs, but even then oral drugging should only be used after all other capture methods have been tried. Oral drugging is inconsistent and unreliable because you do not know how much the animal will eat or how much food is in its stomach to dilute the drug; and oral drugging is a very weak method for administering the drug in general (See the post: Spay Neuter Project in Samoa).  Dr. Mark

2 Responses

  1. I appreciate the concern for the welfare of the voiceless animals. Request you to give me more details about using a dart to administer a sedative for positive capture with less side effects.

    • Narasimha,
      Thank you for sending me a request. I will do my best to answer your valuable question and support your work. Using a sedative to capture dogs requires attention to many details. There are many things which can go wrong. FOR THIS REASON, DARTING DOGS FOR CHEMICAL CAPTURE SHOULD BE YOUR LAST CHOICE AND WORK WITH THE SUPERVISION OF A VETERINARIAN. Since I cannot answer you question in this reply alone and will write a series of posts to cover this topic.

      We typically use ketamine and xylazine which can be delivered with a blow pipe. Even when darted properly it is common for the dog to run and disappear among the buildings or into the vegetation. So the location of the drugging should be selected carefully. There are many factors which will make the drugs work better and knock the dog down more quickly which I will write about in a later post, but a simple rule is do not chase the dog – keep his excitement down and the drugs work better.

      And when the drugged dog is in hand, it can easily die if temperature, pulse, and respiration are not properly monitored and proper care must be provided. Monitoring these three is one of the best ways “to reduce side effects” This is best learned from a veterinarian and requires a thermometer and a stethoscope.

      Narasimha, I will write a series of articles for you to better answer this question. Respectfully, Dr. Mark

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