When Chemical Castration Doesn't Work
Updated: May 20
Many of you that follow us on Instagram will know in April 2019 Chester had a Chemical Castration Implant as I wasn't sure neutering him was the best decision. Chemical Castration also leaves a small amount of testosterone which can help anxious dogs and that was a huge positive for me.
He initially had a 6 month 4.7 mg implant in April 2019 and in November 2019 I decided to put a year implant in which is 9.7mg.
What a disaster that was!
My plan was to put this implant in and then in September/October 2020 before it wore off to have him neutered and between then and now to work on building his confidence and dealing with his fear of the vets/strangers ect.
Instead what should have been a 10 minute appointment turned into a nine month nightmare!
Firstly those of you that follow our instagram will know Chester hates water, clippers or anything on his paws (I have been trying to help him through this for a long time) or anything with unexpected noise. The Vet decided that she needed to shave him (this didn't happen last time and I strongly disagreed) I tried to explain how Chester was and that I wanted it done without shaving like the vet previously had done. She wasn't having it. Trying to make it sound that he would get a huge infection if he wasn’t shaved and then tried to claim that the needle was so painful for him that she would have to take him out the back. Which also wasn’t the case as I witness the needle and Chester was absolutely fine with it. I ended up agreeing after about 5 minutes as I was due to pick my mum up from work.
I should never have let her take him. But I genuinely thought if he got really distressed like I knew he would they would stop. Big mistake. He cried, he howled, he smashed into things all with me listening. I tried to go to him but they wouldn't let me. I was desperately trying to keep my own emotions in check as I didn't want to make it any worse for Chester.
He was in the back room 15 minutes. The appointment should have been 10 minutes total.
When he came back to me is was terrified she had tried to feed him (our followers also know Chester is an actual pig! He will eat anything and everything) she brought the food in with her in a silver bowl and he hadn't touched it, I had instant rage i knew his relationship with food would be damaged from this, a relationship I had built with him from 8 weeks old.
I came straight over to me and hid behind me. I listen to the Vet ramble on not really paying any attention to what she was actually saying on account of my anger.
When we left he wouldn't talk to me (again if you follow him on instagram Chester is a very sensitive huffy boy and like to refuse to interact with me if he is upset with me for shouting at him or if I don't get him a toy he wants)
Chester has a very strange character in some situations he is very confident and happy others is shy and others really scare him but all his fears are very very specific.
But I have never seen him shake or have genuine fear. I walked out of that vets with a different dog 😩! He was shaking in the car he refused to look at me and he wouldn't take a treat which was such a big deal. I broke down at that point I hated myself and I hated the vets more. I pretty much spent that whole day crying and hugging Chester even though I could feel he didn't really want to be hugged he didn't move.
I sent a formal complaint to the vets.
For the next week he didn't eat. He shook in the car every time we past the vets, I was snowed under with my 3rd year of University and feeling very overwhelmed.
On the 19th November we ended up at our local vets (they didn't do the chemical implant at the time) and Chester has a stressed induced UTI. He ended up on antibiotics for 2 weeks and the vet advised me to make sure he was as calm as possible and not to put him in a stressful situation until the infection had cleared up. I had no intention of putting him in any stressful situation at that point. But I was getting very stressed about how I was going to get him back to how he was before.
At that point I hadn't given much thought to the implant not working, it had only been two weeks so it wouldn't have been working that early anyway and as it was the year implant and wouldn’t start working for 6 to 8 weeks after implementation. I kept a diary as i did with the previous implant to document changes, this time it was more important that it actually started working. (I had my suspicions they had put it in wrong due to the stress they put Chester under).
Fast forward to the end of January and the implant still hadn't started. At week 11 his testicles started reducing but only slightly. I was in the middle of my assessment week at University and couldn't deal with more stress from the weeks so decided to leave it a few more weeks to be sure it wasn't working properly. The following week they had gone down a bit further and he was displaying the behaviour associated with neutering (less marking, less humping and started to listen again).
This lasted till March when his testicles started to increase again and I was again in an assessment period of my dissertation. His behaviour was getting more and more out of control and he was barking at everything.
I ended up contacting them in June when I'd handed my dissertation in.
Firstly I contacted Virbac about the situation and asked about shaving Chester and they said that although it is recommended for long hair to be shaven for infection risk, if the owner said that it would distress the dog it would be acceptable for them not to be shaved as long as the owner understood the risks (which I has said to the vet that I was perfectly fine with the infection risk).
Then I sent them another complaint and told them from Virbac documents (Virbac sent me) I have assumed that the implant has been lost and needs to be re-implanted. I told them that I will accept another 12 month implant if the Vet that put his first implant in carried it out and Chester is not shaved. Then I said if they wouldn't do that then I would like a refund so that I can get him done at another clinic.
I think this was reasonable given the situation. From that complaint I was given this response:
Dear Ms Rowan,
Thank you for your email dated the 30th of June.
I am disappointed to hear after such a long time that you felt my previous reply was unsatisfactory. If you have any questions or worries it's always best to get in touch as soon as possible so we can try to resolve any issues and questions at the time.
Our vet is a very gentle vet and I am certain that she would never use any force. The nurses who were with her that day also confirm that at no time was any force was used. Vet did discuss the pros and cons of using the implant with you before going ahead with this. She also discussed castration instead of the implants due to Chester's nervous temperament.
I would like to make it very clear that at no point was Chester abused in any way.
Stress of any kind, and that can include a visit to the vets, can be the cause of a urinary inflammation. This is not someone's fault. I appreciate the situation was extremely stressful for you but inserting a large implant (especially after the first time as Chester then knew the procedure) is something that could always be stressful, especially for a very nervous dog. Again, I would like to emphasise that Vet implanted the chip according to gold standard procedure and at no point was any force used. We would always abandon such a treatment plan if a dog got overly stressed.
There is no scientific evidence that the efficacy of a Suprelorin implant would be affected in any way by stress.
Again, I'm really sorry that you feel dissatisfied by our services and I'm disappointed that it looks like we weren't able to help with your concerns at the time. We always do what's in the best interest of client and pet and it's disappointing to hear you feel this wasn't the case. I sympathise with your concern for Chester and I appreciate you feel we should not shave his fur in the future despite the small risk of infection this would carry. Another option would be to consider a surgical castration to avoid putting Chester through repeated implants.
I do trust we have provided all information with my previous and this reply.
I have changed the vets name to vet
How in any way is that a response!! No solution and just defending a vet that didn't do her job correctly
This was my response
Thank you for your response however it still has not resolved my issue. The implant that was implanted is not working and has not lasted the 12 months that I paid for. And as I have previously asked and you have ignored I would like a replacement implant or a full refund.
Chester was unaffected by the first implant it did not cause him any pain or nervousness. I am aware of the size and that is not an issue. What causes Chester nervousness is people he is not familiar with.
The implant is the best option for Chester.
Kind regards Sarah.
They still then maintained that it was implemented to gold standard and it was not the implementation technique that was at fault and tired to blame Virbac and the implant. They said they had contacted Virbac for me. They asked for the diary I had kept about his testicle size and wanted a blood test to check his testosterone levels.
They offered to wave the consultation fee if I had the blood test done at their vets. I told them I would accept the blood test if I could be with Chester holding him. They refused due to the pandemic.
I called our Vets and explained the situation and they were too happy to let me hold Chester and reassured me that they would only do the best for him. I was so relieved that i was able to stay with him and he was absolutely fine coming out of that appointment because i was with him, don’t get me wrong he was stressed but it was limited to just the appointment.
The blood test came back the next week. Chesters testosterone level was 5.3 a normal level for a neutered/chemically castrated dog is < 1.0. After I got the results I emailed the vets to ask for a full refund.
Our local vet administered a new 1-year implant within 2 weeks it was fully working.
They have completed refused and I have gone to the VCMS for help. Vets cannot be allowed to cause trauma to our animals and just because they cant speak up for themselves get away with it.
I have photos from both implants
November 2019 - incorrect implant
August 2020 - Not shaven, Calm implant
I have spoken about how good chemical castration is and i still stand by that. But please follow your gut when it comes to vets and a good vet will always respect your requests for your dog. You know them best. I know so many Instagram dogs that have had awful experiences that their owners are now going to training sessions for that could have been avoided.
Thank you for reading
Sarah & Chester