Friday, September 24, 2004

Mice Birth Control

I wrote to one of the scientists that originally developed the virus that was created to sterilize mice*...
From: Trish Lewis
Sent: Friday, 24 September 2004 13:00
To: Hinds, Lyn (CSE, Gungahlin)
Subject: Mouse Contraceptive

Dear Dr. Hinds:

I have read with interest about a 'contraceptive' virus in development for mice in Australia. It begs the question, however, that couldn't this lead to the extinction of mice?

Trish Lewis
Fargo, North Dakota (USA)
http://weelittlebeasties.blogspot.com
http://weelittlebeasties.trishymouse.net
_______________________________________

From:
To:
Subject: RE: Mouse Contraceptive
Date: Fri, 24 Sep 2004 14:18:31 +1000

Dear Trish

We are still in the process of developing this agent for the management of mouse plagues in Australia. However, even when we have done the research and have permission to use it in the field, we do not expect that it will be so successful that it will eradicate wild house mice here. What we want to achieve is a reduction in the impact of mice - that is, have the mouse population maintained at low numbers and certainly below a level where they are causing economic damage. The contraceptive is targeted only at the introduced house mouse, Mus domesticus, and not other Mus or other rodent species.

Regards
Lyn

-------------------------------------------
Dr Lyn A. Hinds
Tropical Landscapes Program
CSIRO Sustainable Sustainable Ecosystems
GPO Box 284
Canberra, ACT, 2601 AUSTRALIA
EMAIL: Lyn.Hinds@csiro.au
WEB: www.cse.csiro.au/communityecology
My second email to Dr. Hinds asked her for her opinion on the viability of a chemical/biological contraceptive for mice. Her answer is encouraging...

From: Trish Lewis
Sent: Friday, 24 September 2004 15:45
To: Hinds, Lyn (CSE, Gungahlin)
Subject: Possible applications

Dear Dr. Hinds:

Thank you for your reply. I have one final question...

I keep domestic mice as pets. Many pet mouse owners ask if there might be an effective mouse contraceptive developed someday so we would not have to house males separately from females. Normally that is not that big of an issue, but you might be surprised, also (maybe not) that we find that many pairs come to care for one another, get along well, and some males even make great parents to pups, but there's always that problem of another pregnancy. Neutering them is too costly for the average pet owner. An afforable chemical/biological means would be wonderful. Do you see that as a real possibility someday in the not-too-distance future? Thanks...

Trish Lewis
Fargo, North Dakota (USA)
________________________

Hello Trish

There are a few products being developed for long-term immunocontraception of cats and dogs which could have potential for use on smaller animals if the dose was worked out. There are already steroid implants available for dogs and cats, and gonadotrophin releasing hormone agonists (which affect the hypothalamus in the brain)
are being fine tuned.

So maybe in a few years time mice and rat owners will have a choice other than expensive surgery to control the fertility of their pets

Cheers
Lyn

-------------------------------------------
Dr Lyn A. Hinds
Tropical Landscapes Program
CSIRO Sustainable Sustainable Ecosystems
GPO Box 284
Canberra, ACT, 2601 AUSTRALIA
EMAIL: Lyn.Hinds@csiro.au
WEB: www.cse.csiro.au/communityecology


* The method was developed in direct response to the need to control mice overpopulation in Australia. In recent years, the traditional 7 year cycle of 'mice plagues' has been lowered to every 2-3 years, having devastating effects on agriculture...

6 comments:

rraven said...

Any update on this? I don't have any rodents at the moment, but used to (too dangerous now because of the dog). Fertility was always a mounting problem...umm...did I just type that? Anyway, if they do develop a infertility vaccine (or whatever) it would be a great boon to rodent rescuers...and do you think we could slip it to people, too? Maybe cutting back on the population would help me land a decent job! Seriously, interesting post.

Trish said...

Alas, not to my knowledge, but your question prompts me to try and find out...stay tuned!

rraven said...

Cheers! Good luck with your research :-)

one of us said...

My mice would love to be able to be housed together. As it is, I'm still having a time figuring out males from females sometimes with the mice until they are older. A contraceptive would be fabulous.

Don said...

Hello,
I just took in two apartment mice and they are doing very well in their deluxe retro fitted no expenses spared accommodations. I kept them apart for a couple weeks to make sure they were healthy and both females.... HOWEVER, now that they are happily cohabiting it appears that they may actually be male and female. YIKES! I hate to split them up as they are so much more content then they were when they were singles, and think that after a week together it may be too late anyway. Do you have any suggestions??? I noticed in the article on contraception that it is from 2004. Is there any update on this? Is there now contraception for mice available?
Sincerely,
Better Late than Never

Trish said...

I'm sorry, Don, but to my knowledge this is still being worked on and is not readily available to the general public, but feel free to research it and/or contact the person in the post. If you find out different, then let us know, please do! By the way, you are probably very right regarding your mice - they love company, and if they are male and female, it's too late. But I'd definitely separate them before the female gives birth. Male mice alone are OK, you just have to handle them more to offset their loneliness. They can become quite attached to you, and you to them. Good luck!! :)