Oral Chemical Capture of Street Dogs – Part 2

Summary

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

Oral Chemical Capture for Street Dogs – Part 1

Note: I am creating the following comment and my reply as a post so people can search this by category under “Chemical Capture”.  In general, oral drugging is inconsistent, unreliable, and ineffective. That is one reason why it is not commonly used.  We are still searching for safe and reliable oral chemical capture drugs for dogs.  Chemical capture is best chosen after all options of non-chemical capture are tried.  Dr. Mark

laura jackson, on June 8, 2010 at 2:41 pm Said:

I’ve just been reading this website and thought I’d submit a comment. I operate a free spay/neuter program entitled ‘SpayStreet,’ in Austin Texas. I’ve had to capture a number of feral female dogs lately – all trap resistant – and I’ve tried oral sedatives likes telazol, ace and dormitor. Nothing worked. Then we tried darting, but that just terrified the dog and she ran faster. Basically, nothing worked. Then we tried a sure thing…. Fatal Plus. Guesstimating body weight and then dosing at half the body weight, it safely sedated the most skiddish dog. (For example; a 60 lb dog received 3cc). We gave the drug orally in wet cat food and waited about 15 minutes (safely following the dog at a distance). The dog gradually stumbled and layed down. I threw a net over her, loaded her and she was spayed 30 minutes later and released the next day.

Dr. Mark’s reply: Continue reading