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Reversable Birth Control on lions

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by Marios, 15 Dec 2010.

  1. Marios

    Marios Member

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    Nicosia Cyprus
    Hi I am a new member from Cyprus and would like to ask a question :)
    I have read that neutering and spraying of big cats is not reversable and I guess it takes away their sexual desires.
    I heard that zoos use a contraceptive pill which is reversable, but my question is, during the time a lioness takes the pill, does she still come in heat and mates? Does the pill just prevent pregnancy like human pills?
    I also heard about another reversable birth control on lions which is basically an implant. If anyone knows about this, does that still take away sexual desire?
    Thanks so much I hope someone can answer all that
    Marios
     
  2. KCZooFan

    KCZooFan Well-Known Member

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    On the contraceptive pill, due to the charecteristics of the pill and its effect on animals (including humans) I don't beleive that it would stop the hormones causing the cat to go into heat/mate. They would inhibit the fertility of the female, so they would be as effective as a hybrid, such as a mule.

    Also, welcome to the site. I don't think that we have a mamber from Cyprus yet:)
     
  3. Jarkari

    Jarkari Well-Known Member

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    Implants seem to becoming more popular. They are also used on humans and last for a certain number of years.
     
  4. Marios

    Marios Member

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    Thank you for your replies guys:)
     
  5. RowanGreen

    RowanGreen Well-Known Member

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    Yes, neutering is not reversable. Neutering actually refers to both sexes, though in the States I know it's generally used to refer to the male operation. Spaying is the removal of womb and ovaries from the female. Castration (the correct term for male neutering...) is the removal of the testicles. Both remove sexual hormones. Though they are not harmfull to cats, and can in fact be benificial, in male lions castration causes the loss of the mane, which most zoos are not going to want for some reason! A surgical alternative for the male would be vasectomy, which means the tubes are tied without actually removing the testicles.

    I couldn't tell you exactly how implants etc work in big cats. But in domestic cats I've personal experience, having used 'the pill' for a while for 2 female cats of my own. It does work to supress heat, but was tricky to use as the dose needed to be monitored and adjusted to do that. I guess with zoo cats more work has been done to work out correct dosages (and my cats were many years ago when such things were newer!). In domestic cats neutering is a better option as most cats cannot breed unless we want to be killing lots of unwanted kittens, so fertility does not need to be maintained, and neutered cats are less likely to catch diseases, get into fights, stray and get certain cancers. Neutering would probably be benificial for some zoo lions: I think sometimes females are spayed, and males vasectomised?
     
  6. RowanGreen

    RowanGreen Well-Known Member

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    PS: remember that humans don't 'come in heat' so there is no heat to suppress. Humans have sex for lots of reasons besides getting pregnant. Human pills also suppress hormones, but our sex drive is separate to them, and so not suppressed in the same way as cats etc.