AZA Wildlife Contraception Center Frequently Asked Questions

The 9.4mg Suprelorin® (deslorelin) implants are backordered. Can I just use two 4.7mg implants instead?

No, two 4.7mg implants are not equivalent to one 9.4mg implant. The formulation(4.7mg or 9.4mg) refers to the duration of effect; the number of implants represents the dose. So, if you give an animal two implants when the recommended dose is one, you are potentially overdosing your animal, i.e., you’re giving a double dose. Also, the two different formulations are designed to release the drug at different rates, thus resulting in shorter and longer durations of effect.

Should I use an MGA implant or a Suprelorin implant in my primate?

It depends on what your needs are since each product has pros and cons. MGA is more invasive to place and is larger than Suprelorin, so it might be more easily groomed out. But, it is easier to find for removal and there are more data on reversibility. Suprelorin is small and easy to place, but is more difficult to remove. Unpredictable length of suppression is the primary drawback of Suprelorin. Many individuals are suppressed much longer than 6 or 12 months and it is possible that some individuals may never recover from treatment. So, if your primate is going to receive a breeding recommendation in the near future, MGA is probably a better choice.

In what species do you always recommend the Ovaban supplement to deslorelin?

We recommend using an oral progestin such as Ovaban® (megestrol acetate) as a supplement to Suprelorin for all carnivores. We have data that show female canids treated with an Ovaban + Suprelorin regimen had a lower risk of developing endometrial hyperplasia and pyometra than those treated with Suprelorin alone. Since Ovaban suppresses the stimulation phase, it helps protect the uterus from high levels of progestins that would circulate during ovulation and pseudopregnancy. We also recommend this regimen for felids since data also indicate that high levels of progestins are associated with progressive uterine and mammary growth in this taxonomic group. As a precaution, we extend this recommendation to all carnivores even though each group has not yet been systematically studied. Other than carnivores, we recommend using Ovaban + Suprelorin primarily to prevent conception during the stimulation phase rather than preserving uterine health.

I just received my report for the Annual Contraception Survey. Do I only need to fill out surveys for animals listed on the report? We have a lot more animals on contraception than are on the list.

We ask that surveys be filled out for any animal that has been administered a contraceptive at your institution. Because we supply Suprelorin only to AZA-accredited institutions, we are able to track which animals require updates. But, if you order an MGA implant or administer Depo-Provera, for example, we have no way of knowing that product was used unless you report the information to us. Please report ALL contraceptive information at your institution, especially reversals following treatment.

Do I need to re-administer Ovaban every time I give deslorelin?

If treatments overlap and the animal has not shown any signs (e.g. estrous behaviors) of recovering from Suprelorin suppression, Ovaban should not need to be re-administered.

Do we have to separate the female from the male if we give Ovaban to suppress the stimulation phase?

No. As long as the female starts Ovaban at least seven days prior to implant placement and continues for no more than eight days following implant placement, she does not need to be separated. However, she MUST consume the entire dose every day in order for the drug to be effective.

Are over-the-counter tests effective in detecting pregnancy in non-human primates?

Maybe-it depends on the individual and the species. Pregnancy tests are designed to recognize and bind human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), so the more distantly related a species is from humans, the less likely the test is to be accurate. Tests are more likely to be accurate for chimpanzees, gorillas, and bonobos, but the Orangutan SSP recommends using only Clear Blue Easy pregnancy tests. So, there is no harm in trying, but you may receive a false negative because the test is simply not sensitive enough to detect pregnancy in species other than humans.

I am a vet at a non AZA-accredited institution or in private practice. How can I order Suprelorin?

Email Mary Agnew at contraception@stlzoo.org for contact information for the manufacturer (Virbac/Peptech). FDA regulations prohibit us from distributing Suprelorin to anyone other than AZA-accredited institutions, but if you can obtain the product directly from Peptech, we can help you determine minimum effective dose for your animal and answer your questions.