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October 31, 2016

ACC&D's new flipbook  highlighting 
key projects
 
We've been quite busy this year, and are excited to share what we've been up to with you!
 
ACC&D fills a special niche in the field of animal welfare, and as such, we  are often  tackling unique and exciting projects. We've created a  flipbook to  provide visual highlights of our latest work , and invite you to take a look. 
 
And below, we provide some recent updates on the field of non-surgical fertility control and related innovations as they impact dogs and cats, as well as acknowledge some visionary individuals who contribute to this work.
 
Please enjoy these updates, and as always, we welcome any comments or questions.
 
Sincerely,
Girl with dog in Columbia
Joyce Briggs, President


P.S. ACC&D staff will be attending the Society of Animal Welfare Administrators (SAWA) annual conference in Portland, OR on November 16-18th, 2016. We hope to see you there! 
Enrichment for study cats
With funding from the Morris Animal Foundation and The John T. and Jane A. Wiederhold Foundation, ACC&D sponsored a study to evaluate the safety and efficacy of a vaccine called GonaCon, manufactured by the USDA's National Wildlife Research Center, that showed promise in prior studies as a contraceptive for female cats. Due to an incidence of pregnancy (70%) in treated cats far higher than the benchmark for continuing the study, the study team made the decision to complete this study at the one year mark, November 1st, 2016, instead of continuing on for 5 years as anticipated.
 
We continue to try to understand these results, and are proud to report that the level of detail and thoroughness in our protocol and documentation of every activity in the study has enabled us to have confidence in ruling out a variety of explanations for the results.
 
In addition to launching a new, progressive model of research specifically to help free-roaming cats, this critical field study has simultaneously saved the lives of 44 once-homeless cats. To meet the study participants, including those cats still available for adoption, please visit our website

New ground was broken in August, when the first fertility control option to manage rat populations was approved by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). According to Dr. Loretta Mayer, CEO of Senestech, which developed the product:  "ContraPest┬« is more humane, less harmful to the environment, and more effective in providing a sustainable solution to rodent pest infestations than traditional lethal methods." 
 
Both males and females must eat a sufficient dose of liquid bait over 15 days to suppress fertility. The company notes that a trial in the New York subway system yielded promising results, though little documentation is available. According to the EPA, "treating female rats alone (through the use of the bait stations) with ContraPest® results in a decrease of 35% in litter size, whereas treatment of both male and female rats results in no pups." The product is approved for use by professional applicators in commercial settings and is available in bait stations accessible only by rats.
 
Senestech states its intentions to expand the technology for contraception in other species, including companion animals, although there is not yet any evidence that the compound will suppress fertility in dogs or cats and as formulated it will have significant challenges. Among them is the amount of the drug needed for effectiveness. EPA documents note, in commenting on the safety of human exposure, that a child would need to ingest 1.1 liter per day for 15 days to receive a dose equivalent to a treated rat. Imagine the amount of product that a dog or cat would need to consume! 
 
Congratulations to Senestech for achieving this milestone. This product certainly provides a much more humane alternative for controlling the population of rats. 
ACC&D is pleased to announce our presence on the World Continuing Education Alliance's Veterinarian Education Network. This online portal (in addition to our website) makes resources like our Product Profile and Position Papers, comprehensive E-Book on contraception and fertility control in cats and dogs, and present ations from symposia available at no cost to the global veterinary community. We are always eager to reach new audiences with information about non-surgical fertility control and encourage you to take a look! 
The Portland Audubon Society and the Feral Cat Coalition of Oregon, with strategic input from ACC&D and other partners, launched a multi-year project in 2014. The goal: to monitor the number of free-roaming cats on Hayden Island (Portland, OR) while intervening with Trap-Neuter-Return, adoption, and community cooperation. Joyce Briggs, ACC&D President, Susan Getty, ACC&D Coordinator, and John Boone, Vice-Chair of ACC&D's Board of Directors, again took part in the annual "cat count" in September. This project ties in with our computer simulation modeling work looking at SmartTNR to humanely accomplish population management goals. Click here to read the first report on the Hayden Island project.

Photo: A volunteer citizen scientist counting free-roaming cats. Credit: Mercedes McCreight, Courtesy of Audubon Society of Portland
Holly Hazard (with Fenway)
Holly Hazard, Senior Vice President of Programs and Innovations at the Humane Society of the United States, has joined ACC&D's Board of Directors. In addition to her role as the Senior Vice President, she is the executive responsible for the Equine Protection Program and The Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, Animal Care Centers, Animal Rescue Team, Wildlife, Companion Animals, and the wild horse immunocontraception program. She also serves as Executive Director of the Doris Day Animal League, and as the President of the Fund for Animals. Joyce notes, "I've been a fan of Holly's work for decades!" Welcome to ACC&D, Holly!
John at our 2010 Symposium
ACC&D is deeply saddened by the unexpected death of Dr. John C. Herr, age 68, on September 17th, 2016, the same day as he completed a 10K run. Dr. Herr contributed greatly to the field of reproductive biology, both human and animal. A talented scientist and entrepreneur, he is perhaps best remembered as the discoverer of a unique sperm protein called SP-10, and related development of the first FDA-approved home-diagnostic tests for male fertility. 
 
Dr. Herr spoke at three ACC&D Symposia and was an energetic collaborator in an ACC&D Think Tank that explored silencing reproductive genes in the dog and cat. His work in the field of non-surgical fertility control primarily looked at targets in both the sperm and the egg. He was a recipient of a 2011 Michelson Grant in Reproductive Biology for his work targeting oocytes before they become eggs.
 
Dr. Stephen Boyle, ACC&D co-founder, shared with us that: "Aside from the many students and postdoctoral fellows John trained, he will be remembered by his colleagues not only for his renaissance understanding of reproductive biology but his willingness to listen and give insightful advice and commentary on what you were doing. He had all the characteristics of a well-respected mentor as he cared about what you were doing and was willing to help." 
Valerie Benka, ACC&D's Project Manager, recently published her Master's thesis research in JAVMA. She used anonymous surveys and telephone interviews to learn about clients of a subsidized, reduced-cost feline spay/neuter program, and the cats they brought to the clinic. Research to date has focused largely on reasons why people fail to sterilize their pets, and this took a different approach: what are peoples' motivations to spay or neuter, and particularly to use a subsidized program? What would happen if this resource were not available? Learn more about the study findings and recommendations here



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