Objectives: The objective of this study was to assess duration of efficacy, side effects and return to fertility following use of the 9.4 mg deslorelin implant (Suprelorin 12; Virbac) in cats, and test whether efficacy and duration of action are influenced by implantation site (interscapular vs periumbilical).
Methods: Sixteen healthy adult tom cats were checked with (1) reproductive examination, (2) gonadotropin-releasing hormone stimulation test and (3) semen collection until achievement of sterility, then with (1) and (2) only at 2, 4, 6 and 12 months, and every 6 months thereafter until treatment effect disappeared.
Results: Serum testosterone reached basal levels by 7 days post-treatment. Semen quality improved initially then started to worsen by 1 month post-treatment and after 70 days post-treatment all cats were sterile. Early in the third month post-treatment there was a significant decrease in testicular volume and penile spikes. Testicular histology was normal upon neutering performed after resumption of fertility. No injection site lesions or treatment-related side effects were observed. There was no difference between periumbilical and interscapular placement for all criteria, but there was a trend for the decrease in testicular volume to last longer and for the regression of penile spikes to start sooner after interscapular administration. One of 16 cats did not respond to treatment. Six cats were lost at variable times during the study while fully responding to treatment. In the cats that completed the study, normal fertility was regained after 805 days, on average, but with a variable duration of effect from 750-850 days.
Conclusions and relevance: Treatment with a 9.4 mg deslorelin implant in male cats was effective for a period of 750-850 days, which is 1.5-2 times longer than the effect of the 4.7 mg deslorelin implant. Fertility (based on serum testosterone production and the presence of penile spikes) was regained at the end of the study. Placing implants in the intrascapular vs periumbilical location did not affect duration of suppression of testosterone production. The interscapular location may be characterised by a better efficacy, although further studies are needed to clarify this issue.
Keywords: Tom cat; deslorelin; fertility; reproduction control; reversible sterility.