Carnation Seeking Approval Of Birth-Control Dog Food
NEW YORK (AP) _ After 10 years of development and tests with different breeds of dogs, Carnation Co. is ready to ask the government to approve a new product it says will ease pet owners’ fears of unwanted puppy pregnancies - birth-control dog food.
″Unless you’ve had your dog spayed - and a lot of people do not want to spay their dogs - you’re concerned about your dog getting pregnant,″ said Hugh Chamberlin, manager of new products in the pet food division of Carnation. ″This product answers that concern.″
About 7 million unwanted dogs are destroyed each year, according to estimates by the Humane Society of the United States.
Carnation’s product, called ″Extra Care,″ is already available by prescription from veterinarians, but the company is seeking Food and Drug Administration approval for over-the-counter sales.
Chamberlin said a final proposal would be submitted to FDA this month. Susan Cruzan, a spokeswoman for FDA, said products that win approval do so an average of two years after the final proposals are submitted.
The dog food contains mibolerone, a birth-control drug developed by The Upjohn Co. specifically for animals, Chamberlin said. It has been tested in three separate studies - one using 200 beagles, one using 13 different breeds, and one using 600 dogs in eight cities, Chamberlin said.
″It worked great in home use,″ keeping the females from going into heat, Chamberlin said. When it was withdrawn, the dogs were able to have normal, healthy puppies, he said. It has no effect on male dogs.
The FDA will test the dog food for safety, effectiveness and labeling and ″I think we’ve got the answer to all three,″ Chamberlin said.
Humans who eat the dog food would not be harmed unless they ate the equivalent of 24 cans at once, he said. The drug would be toxic to animals only if they ate 1,000 times the recommended amount, he said.
Ms. Cruzan said the product label must explain that dogs with different weights need different amounts, that it should not be used for more than a year without a break, and that it is not intended for animals used for breeding purposes.
The Humane Society is aware of the product, but believes spaying and neutering are the most effective means of birth control for dogs.
″Once you do that, you don’t have to worry about it,″ said Janet Huling, a spokeswoman for the Humane Society. ″What’s the point of going on a long- term birth control program? We know that’s harmful in humans. It’s probably harmful in animals as well.″
Phyllis Wright, a Humane Society vice president, said she did not believe the FDA would approve the product soon. The agency has been studying an injectable drug for sterilizing dogs since 1978, she said.