Neuticles are prosthetic testicular implants for neutered dogs and other domestic animals. Creator Gregg Miller won the Ig Nobel Prize, a parody of the genuine Nobel Prizes, for medicine for this invention. Miller states he has sold more than 230,000 of this product (115,000 pairs) in 49 countries.
Miller thought of Neuticles in 1993 when his Bloodhound named Buck disappeared and was located days later over 20 miles away. Buck had picked up the scent of a female dog in heat. "It was either neuter Buck or go through the nightmare of him taking off again and the next time I most likely wouldn't find him."
He asked his Missouri veterinarian if implants were available so Buck would look the same as before being altered. Dr RD Holder of the Independence Animal Hospital in Independence, MO remarked, "I've been a vet for over 45 years and no one has asked for such a thing."
Miller discounted the idea and termed himself a "neurotic pet owner". A week later when Buck went back to have his stitches removed Dr Holder brought up the idea to Miller. "The more you think about implants for pets the more sense it makes," Dr Holder told Miller. This convinced Miller decided to start development.
Two years later the first commercially Neuticled pet was implanted. Worldwide publicity followed and interest continues to this day. According to their website, over 230,000 pets have received Neuticle implants since they became available in 1995. Neuticles are made from FDA medically approved materials and are crafted to replicate the weight and feel of the animal's natural testicle. They are made of solid silicone and are not gel-filled and therefore cannot leak.
Miller says "Neutering is traumatic. It's traumatic for the pet and for the pet's owner." Until Neuticles were invented pet owners had no options. Miller maintains "With Neuticles it's like nothing ever changed and this is important to caring pet owners." Miller also said that his product encourages pet owners to neuter that simply would not before and as a result pet overpopulation is being reduced and "Neuticled" pets are living happier, healthier and longer lives. Neuticles have proved popular enough that several companies have tried to copy the patented prosthetic. In a June 2000 press release CTI Corporation, which manufactures Neuticles, cited an investigation which revealed companies in New York and California were making knock-off Neuticles. CTI warned of potential health risks to the animals getting the fake product and reminded the public of the years of research that went into the product's creation and the development of the surgical technique used to implant them.
Neuticles have been endorsed by a number of national, state and regional humane societies including ASPCA. "Who can argue with a perfectly safe surgical procedure that encourages pet owners to neuter?" (ASPCA Animal Watch Spring, 1997) The Spay/Neuter Incentive Project & Sanctuary praises Neuticles as eliminating one of the last reasons people are reluctant to neuter their male pets. The demand for such a product is more common than previously thought. Talking to The Houston Press News, Veterinarian Kenneth Williams says that for every 200 dogs neutered he gets one inquiry or request for implants.
Miller has also written a book which details how Neuticles were invented. Entitled Going Going NUTS! the book was published by Publish America. His company's newest product is an eye implant for pets who have lost an eye. They are available in sizes suitable for dogs, cats and horses.
Miller and Neuticles were featured on an episode of the Penn & Teller series Bullshit! which featured the extremes people will go to in order to pamper their pets. A 2007 article for the Scottsdale Times in Arizona covered similar ground including the issues of Neuticles, lavish spending on posh pet wardrobes, heated dog bowls and other creature comforts. Responding to critiscism of such pampering, Gregg Miller said:
"But why not? What’s the harm? Who’s it hurting? If people don’t like it, tough cheese.”