Researchers See Progress on Fertility Vaccine

Trials on feral cat populations show vaccine effective at preventing pregnancies.

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A free monthly spay-and-neuter program at the University of Florida is testing the efficacy of a new sterilization vaccine on feral cat populations.

Under the program, dubbed Operation Catnip, feral cats are injected with a vaccine that targets a hormone in the brain called GnRH. When GnRH is controlled, the cat doesn't produce estrogen or testosterone and becomes temporarily infertile.

"So far, the results are promising. Fifteen female cats vaccinated in May 2004 haven't gotten pregnant, despite living with an un-neutered male," says the researchers.

We know the vaccine won't last forever, but it is exceeding our expectations, said researcher Dr. Julie Levy. Its important to find out how powerful it will be.

The study, funded by the Morris Animal Foundation, officially concludes in December 2005.

Posted: Nov. 24, 2005, 3p.m. EST

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