Dr. Marty Becker-The Evidence Against Declawing Cats Just Keeps Mounting

The evidence against declawing cats just keeps mounting

We’re seeing yet more evidence that not only does declawing not keep cats out of shelters, but it can cause a lifetime of pain and difficulty walking for cats who have undergone the procedure.

The routine declawing of cats, known as “onychectomy,” has become extremely common in the United States, but that’s not the case elsewhere — in fact, it’s illegal in many countries, and rarely practiced in most.

We in the veterinary profession have long justified performing this surgery by saying it would prevent cats from scratching furniture and other possessions, as well as people, in their homes, and keep them from being taken to a shelter or put outside to fend for themselves. We’ve also claimed that, when performed skillfully and with appropriate pain medication, it was not harmful.

I’ve written about post-declawing pain syndrome before, and a study published in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery this spring reinforces my concern. The researchers found declawed cats are at risk of back pain and gait problems, retained bone fragments, and were more likely to bite and stop using their litter boxes. Additionally, they stated:

Declawing cats increases the risk of unwanted behaviors and may increase risk for developing back pain. Evidence of inadequate surgical technique was common in the study population. Among declawed cats, retained P3 fragments further increased the risk of developing back pain and adverse behaviors.

The use of optimal surgical technique does not eliminate the risk of adverse behavior subsequent to onychectomy.

In another study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association late last year, the authors found that declawed cats who live with other cats are three times more likely to fail to use the litter box appropriately than those with intact claws:

(H)aving cats that had undergone onychectomy in a 3- to 5-cat household were all significant predictors of house soiling. Notably, having cats that had undergone onychectomy in a 3- to 5-cat household increased the risk of house soiling by more than 3-fold, indicating that the association between onychectomy and house soiling was influenced by the number of cats per household.

Compare this finding with the results of the analysis in which onychectomy status was stratified by the number of cats per household, which showed that onychectomy status had no confounding effect on this association. Taken together, these results indicated that when there were 3 to 5 cats in a household that had also undergone onychectomy, there was a greater risk of house soiling in that household.

Since litter box avoidance is the top reason cats are surrendered to shelters, continuing to use keeping cats out of shelters as a way to rationalize declawing seems increasingly insupportable.

It’s also worth noting that virtually all national humane organizations, including the Humane Society of the United States, the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, Alley Cat Allies, AdoptAPet.com, the North Shore Animal League, Petfinder, and Best Friends Animal Society, as well as countless shelters and rescue groups across the country, vehemently oppose surgical declawing of cats unless medically necessary due to a condition such as cancer or severe injury.

I’m with them. I hope the rest of my profession joins us soon.

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Dr. Marty Becker Link To His Post



My name is Cassandra Cat, I have been front declawed ten years ago. My previous owners dumped me into the woods because I started to bite them. My paws have nerve damage and are always numb. I shake them all the time. I wake up from my naps because I hiss and growl in my sleep. I have nightmares all the time, flashbacks of my declawing. A veterinarian who does not declaw cannot examine my paws unless they medicate me, I may have bone fragments in my paws from a botched declaw. The veterinarian said she did not want to put me through medication, X-rays, possible correction surgery because it would traumatize me further. She used to declaw many years ago and stopped. I take herbal medications daily for my mental instability and pain. I will never forget laying on the operating table while each of my toes were being amputated. I heard the snap, and saw my claws on the table next to me. It wasthe most horrible experience, I cried and cried and no one heard me. Did I tell you there is NOT a strong enough medication in the entire WORLD that can quench the pain of having bone amputated? I bite my new owner, she cannot pet me or brush me. She can give me a bath, the warm spray from the shower head feels good on my arthritic back; declawed cats walk unnaturally as the entire skeletal system is out of whack and causes arthritis. Try walking without much needed toes, cats walk on their toes. I am extremely heartbroken humans have done this to me. I cannot knead, climb, hunt, and I never purr.

Declawing is a major orthopedic operation, it is amputation of the third distal phalanx toe bone and was marketed by the American Veterinary Medical Association in 1952; using furniture/skin as a selling tool because veterinarians needed extra cash to pay off their huge college loans. Declawing does not benefit a cat, there are no pros, only cons, do the research. The pros of declawing are for veterinarians only, as I have mentioned. Most veterinarians who declaw train their receptionists to promote declawing with the spay/neuter, have discount coupons, never explain the long term detrimental side effects, have expensive lasers to pay for. A declawing can go up to $900, it depends on how good the veterinarian is with marketing. Or it can go as low as $100, it depends on what back alley discount spay/neuter butcher shop is used. Most pet parents, once they learn what onychectomy REALLY is and who are not lied to about the procedure, will refuse to declaw. Some pet parents are lied to and told declawing is a simple surgery, the pain goes away after several days. No More Excuses! Do your own research! That’s what the Internet is for, a vast library full of scientific information about the procedure! Read the NEW peer-reviewed study in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery-Pain and Adverse Behavior in Declawed Cats 6/2017, Google it. It was done by ethical veterinarians who do not declaw (The Paw Project) and you WILL NOT find this study in the AVMA’s journals because they want to continue to have their veterinarian members declaw to pay off their college debts.

The American Veterinary Medical Association @AVMAVets, American Animal Hospital Association @AAHAHealthypet and American Association of Feline Practitioners @CatVets all do nothing to stop declawing, their declaw ‘policies’ are useless. They could care less their animal abusing members cash in on claws. The AVMA promotes declawing at their ‘accredited’ colleges, they hold declaw wet-labs around the country, and the other two associations mentioned participate. I will say there ARE ethical veterinarians who do not declaw that belong to one or all of the above. I give the Paw Project an honorable mention, they have banned declawing in eight California cities and their members perform paw-repair surgery on deformed and mutilated declawed paws which their ‘colleagues’ declawed.

A NOTE TO VETERINARIANS: Who promote declawing with coupons, discounts, and verbally: You should have your fingers axed by all the cats you declawed since 1952 and be prosecuted to the fullest in a court of law, then in prison for LIFE for animal abuse. You declaw 5,000 cats a day and never blink an eye, sick psychopaths. Monsters.

AVMA/AAHA/AAFP: Why do you exist? You are nothing but greedy blood sucking corporations that use your members for their dues only, you give them nothing back. AVMA is always pushing for more veterinarians when the market is already over-loaded, there is a vet on every street corner, like McDonalds, most are in debt and use declawing as another income source because they are in competition with each other. 4,000 vets graduate yearly and are forced to join corporate hospitals and are forced to declaw to meet the monthly quota OR they are out of a job. So, I wonder WHY THE DEPRESSION in the veterinary field is so high. Stop using cyber-bullying when people speak up about declawing, COWARDS. Cowards harm innocent, once healthy animals. How do you sleep at night? I hope your dreams, from this day forward, are nightmares with cat’s scratching out your eyes continuously. See how YOU LIKE having nightmares every night like I do.

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American Veterinary Medical Association Did NOT Peer-Review Declawing In The 50’s Or Ever


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#savma #studentavma
#vetmed #vetlife #veterinary #vettech #veterinaryjob #vetschool #vetstudent