Intratesticular and intraepididymal injections to sterilize male cats: from calcium chloride to zinc gluconate and beyond.
Aim and rationale: The aim of intratesticular and intraepididymal injections is to provide an inexpensive non-surgical method for sterilizing tom cats. Intratesticular and intraepididymal injections have been studied for decades and warrant continued investigation. While both methods result in azoospermia, intratesticular injection of sclerosing agents induces orchitis, resulting in decreased spermatogenesis, whereas intraepididymal injection blocks sperm transport but does not alter spermatogenesis. Evidence base: Sclerosing agents that have been used effectively for intratesticular injections in cats include calcium chloride dihydrate and zinc gluconate. For sclerosis by intraepididymal injections, chlorhexidine digluconate has been used successfully in cats. The volume, formulation and concentration of sclerosing agents for intratesticular and intraepididymal injections in cats have not been standardized. Challenges: Neither intratesticular nor intraepididymal injections entirely eliminate gonadal testosterone production, which may be undesirable for pet cats and therefore may restrict the application of this method of sterilization to feral cats with limited human contact. In addition, both methods may require sedation or general anesthesia, leading some to support routine castration over these non-surgical methods. Lastly, even if the technique is successful in inducing permanent sterility, normal fertility may persist in treated males for 1-2 months after treatment because of sperm present within the epididymis and vas deferens.