Declawed P2 Bone Devolopes Painful Callouses

These radiographs (x-rays) were acquired using a oblique dorsal-palmar angle. A digital dental sensor was used because of its high resolution and speed.

Arrows indicate pathology to distal P2 cartilage. Radius shows acute angle of formed by hyperflexion of P1 and P2. Raven is walking on her amputated toes. We can see digital paw pad callouses develop from the amputated bone ends being driven into the floor.



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Declawed Cat’s Paw-Blood Vessels Trying To Heal

Little arrows show the linear scar deep into the bone – suspect it was laser induced.
It may be difficult to see however, the big arrow is pointing to an area of slightly abnormally colored tissue. I suspect this is an area where cartilage from the toe bone was burned away during her declaw. What you CAN’T see are the tiny little blood vessels around it that were trying to heal it. This had been going on for many years!

Paw Project Indiana 2014

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Video-Declawed Cat Paralyzed And Bedridden

Declawed cat now paralyzed and bedridden. Video is on my Cassandra Cat Wants Her Claws Back Facebook Page.

imageWARNING: A heartrenching video to watch. Viewer discretion is advised.

She is a nameless declawed cat that would have been once a pet. A feeder in AMK found her at her usual feeding spot abandoned, utterly defenseless in an unfamiliar environment and badly beaten up by other cats. Her pelvis and lower spine is broken. She is now paralysed, bedridden and in pain.
The kind elderly feeder has taken her to the vet and the vet said she might die anytime because of her injuries. The feeder has many cats under her care but can’t stand for this poor cat to pass on from this cruel world without experiencing love and attention. But she needs help.
If you are an experienced fosterer willing to undertake end-of-life care for this cat’s remaining days, please email Because of the extent of her injures, 24hr round-the-clock care must be provided. She requires:
– Daily injections
– Feeding of medicine and food by hand
– IV drip 3 times a day
– A change pee pads every 2 hours
– A wipe down every 2 hours
– Vet visits for acupuncture
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AVMA Veterinarians Declaw Cats-Most Have Bone Regrowth-Declawing Was Started By AVMA In 1952





Understanding Declawing (Onychectomy)
The anatomy of the feline claw must be understood before one can appreciate the severity of declawing. The cat’s claw is not a nail as is a human fingernail, it is part of the last bone (distal phalanx) in the cat’s toe. The cat’s claw arises from the unguicular crest and unguicular process in the distal phalanx of the paw (see above diagram). Most of the germinal cells that produce the claw are situated in the dorsal aspect of the ungual crest. This region must be removed completely, or regrowth of a vestigial claw and abcessation results. The only way to be sure all of the germinal cells are removed is to amputate the entire distal phalanx at the joint.
Contrary to most people’s understanding, declawing consists of amputating not just the claws, but the whole phalanx (up to the joint), including bones, ligaments, and tendons! To remove the claw, the bone, nerve, joint capsule, collateral ligaments, and the extensor and flexor tendons must all be amputated. Thus declawing is not a “simple”, single surgery but 10 separate, painful amputations of the third phalanx up to the last joint of each toe. A graphic comparison in human terms would be the cutting off of a person’s finger at the last joint of each finger.

Many vets and clinic staff deliberately misinform and mislead clients into believing that declawing removes only the claws in the hopes that clients are left with the impression that the procedure is a “minor” surgery comparable to spay/neuter procedures and certainly doesn’t involve amputation (partial or complete) of the terminal-toe bone, ligaments and tendons. Some vets rationalize the above description by saying that since the claw and the third phalanx (terminal toe bone) are so firmly connected, they simply use the expression “the claw” to make it simpler for clients to “understand”. Other vets are somewhat more honest and state that if they used the word “amputation”, most clients would not have the surgery performed! Onychectomy in the clinical definition involves either the partial or total amputation of the terminal bone. That is the only method. What differs from vet to vet is the type of cutting tool used (guillotine-type cutter, scalpel or laser).

Onychectomy (Declawing) Surgery
The below is a clinical description of the the declawing surgery taken from a leading veterinary surgical textbbook. Contrary to
misleading information, declawing is not a “minor” surgery comparable to spaying and neutering procedures, it is 10, seperate, painful amputations of the distal phalanx at the joint (disjointing).

The claw is extended by pushing up under the footpad or by grasping it with Allis tissue forceps. A scalpel blade is used to
sharply dissect between the second and third phalanx over the top of the ungual crest . The distal interphalangeal joint is
disarticulated (disjointed), and the deep digital flexor tendon is incised (severed). The digital footpad, is not incised. If a nail
trimmer is used, the ring of the instrument is placed in the groove between the second phalanx and the ungual crest. The blade
is positioned just in front of the footpad. The blade is pushed through the soft tissues over the flexor process. With the ring of
the nail trimmer in position behind the ungual crest, the blade is released just slightly so that traction applied to the claw causes
the flexor process to slip out and above the blade. At this point, the flexor tendon can be incised and disarticulation of the joint
(disjointing) completed. Both techniques effectively remove the entire third phalanx.” (Excerpted from: Slatter D; Textbook of Small Animal Surgery 2nd ed vol I, p.352 W.B. Saunders Company Philadelphia.)

Declawing is not without complication. The rate of complication is relatively high compared with other so-called routine procedures. Complications of this amputation can be excruciating pain, damage to the radial nerve, hemorrhage, bone chips that prevent healing, painful regrowth of deformed claw inside of the paw which is not visible to the eye, and chronic back and joint pain as shoulder, leg and back muscles weaken.

Other complications include postoperative hemorrhage, either immediate or following bandage removal is a fairly frequent occurrence, paw ischemia, lameness due to wound infection or footpad laceration, exposure necrosis of the second phalanx, and abscess associated with retention of portions of the third phalanx. Abscess due to regrowth must be treated by surgical removal of the remnant of the third phalanx and wound debridement. During amputation of the distal phalanx, the bone may shatter and cause what is called a sequestrum, which serves as a focus for infection, causing continuous drainage from the toe. This necessitates a second anesthesia and surgery. Abnormal growth of severed nerve ends can also occur, causing long-term, painful sensations in the toes. Infection will occasionally occur when all precautions have been taken.

“Declawing is actually an amputation of the last joint of your cat’s “toes”. When you envision that, it becomes clear why declawing is not a humane act. It is a painful surgery, with a painful recovery period. And remember that during the time of recuperation from the surgery your cat would still have to use its feet to walk, jump, and scratch in its litter box regardless of the pain it is experiencing.”
Christianne Schelling, DVM

“General anesthesia is used for this surgery, which always has a certain degree of risk of disability or death associated with it. Because declawing provides no medical benefits to cats, even slight risk can be considered unacceptable. In addition, the recovery from declawing can be painful and lengthy and may involve postoperative complications such as infections, hemorrhage, and nail regrowth. The latter may subject the cat to additional surgery.” The Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights (AVAR)

Two recent studies published in peer-reviewed veterinary journals (Vet Surg 1994 Jul-Aug;23(4):274-80) concluded “Fifty percent of the cats had one or more complications immediately after surgery…. 19.8% developed complications after release.” Another study (J Am Vet Med Assoc 1998 Aug 1;213(3):370-3) comparing the complications of declawing with Tenectomy concluded “Owners should be aware of the high complication rate for both procedures.” Many cats also suffer a loss of balance because they can no longer achieve a secure foothold on their amputated stumps.

Vet Surg 1994 Jul-Aug;23(4):274-80
Feline Onychectomy at a Teaching Institution: A
Retrospective Study of 163 Cases.

Tobias KS
Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences,
Washington State University, College of Veterinary Medicine,
Pullman 99164-6610.

“One hundred sixty-three cats underwent onychectomy….. Fifty percent of the cats had one or more complications immediately after surgery. Early postoperative complications included pain…, hemorrhage…., lameness…., swelling…., or non-weight-bearing….. Follow-up was available in 121 cats; 19.8% developed complications after release.
Late postoperative complications included infection…., regrowth…., P2 protrusion…., palmagrade
stance…., and prolonged, intermittent lameness….”.

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Dr. Kirsten Doub Surgically Removes Bone Pieces From Declawed Jessie-Four Paw Declawed

We are so proud of our Directors!! Dr. Kirsten Doub was one of the earliest Paw Project Directors (see From her hospital in Utah, she has been working diligently to help end declawing and has been performing surgical treatment (see photos below — they are very graphic, but very informative) and other therapies to mitigate the suffering of cats crippled by declawing.

Sweet Jessie is a 4 paw declaw that is up for adoption at Nuzzles & Co.
Union Park Veterinary Hospital performed a paw repair surgery on her hind paws. The Hind paws had the biggest fragments seen on x-ray, so that is where we started. Jessie will need front paw repair in the future as well.

Union Park Veterinary Hospital Facebook Page

Dr. Martell-Moran Removes Bone Pieces From Declawed Elvis Cat


Dr. Moran had a busy week of salvaging the toes of declawed cats this week! There were three in Indy and she traveled up to Chicago to help with a 4th.
Here are some pictures from the week.
Elvis was all 4 paw declaw from Hamilton County Humane Society.
Alice and Purrmione were from the Indianapolis Humane Society.

Dr. Martell-Moran Removes Bone Pieces From Gina Cat-A Four Paw Declawed Cat

DECLAWED CHICAGO CAT HELPED: Dr. Nicole Martell-Moran (Paw Project Indiana State Director) from Indianapolis traveled to Chicago this past week to help with a paw surgery at Ravenswood Animal Hospital. The owner is Dr. Cindy Olsen, our Paw Project Illinois State Director.
This little girl was declawed on all four paws and pulling out her own hair on her feet. Hopefully removing the bone fragments that were left behind when declawed will help reduce some of her discomfort. Wish her luck in her recovery!

Gina is doing very well after her declaw repair surgery. Unfortunately, she had bone remnants in each of her digits. Many thanks to Dr. Nicole of the Paw Project Indiana for coming to Chicago to supervise the surgery.

Bone regrowth from P3 (the third phalanx or digit) is unfortunately a common aftermath of declawing. Imagine walking on the sharpest stone piercing your toe. Although she will never have her claws back, she will hopefully feel much better with the pieces removed.

Gina is such a sweet kitty and she is available for adoption at Harmony House Chicago.