Onychectomy: surgical excision of a fingernail or toenail (according to Merriam- Webster)
I wanted to start off Friday with something a bit different. I got a chance to watch the Paw Project on Netflix as recommended by several people I know and it was heartbreaking. It started off with one mobile vet treating large cats who had been declawed who were getting infections due to the declawing. This led her to think about our domestic companions which led her on a campaign to stop declawing. The movie starts in 2009 and ends in 2010 after 8 cities in California pass the ban on declawing. The movie interviews several vets and vet techs and they go into the gruesome truth that is declawing and mention something I have never heard of which is called a tendonectomy, which is an alternative to declawing and in hearing what it is I was even more horrified.
A ligament is cut on the underside of each toe to prevent grasping motions. The claws remain but the cat cannot extend them.
Because the cat can no longer make grasping motions, the claws will naturally grow in a circular manner into the foot pads causing pain and infection unless the owner is able to trim the nails on a regular basis. (The tendonectomy patient will require life-long regular nail-clipping.).
The August 1, 1998 issue of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association reports a study that compared the long and short term complications of tendonectomy vs. those of traditional declaw. Owner satisfaction with both procedures was also measured. While cats who received the tendonectomy showed significantly lower pain scores immediately post operatively, both procedures showed an equal frequency of other complications (bleeding, lameness, and infection).
DECLAW and TENDONECTOMY Most cat owners at some point face the decision on whether to declaw their feline companion at the time of the neuter or spay surgery. Most concerns regarding this procedure center on patient discomfort. At Jane Animal Hospital, we routinely perform feline front declaw, however we also want to make aware an alternative procedure that can achieve the same desired result. Feline tendonectomy is a surgical procedure also offered to feline patients. What is involved in a feline declaw? A feline declaw is the surgical removal of the third digit on each forelimb digit. Ideally, this procedure is performed during the spay/neuter surgery at 6 months of age. All declawed cats should remain indoors. What is involved in a feline tendonectomy? The flexor tendon at the base of each digit on a cat’s paw is responsible for pushing out the claws when flexed. In a feline tendonectomy, this tendon is severed and the claws remain permanently retracted, limiting the cat’s ability to scratch. After the tendonectomy, your cat’s nails will need to be routinely clipped. Owners who are unable or unwilling to trim nails every 2 weeks will be advised against this procedure. (Taken from http://janeanimalhospital.ca/education-center/spay-and-neuter/declaw-and-tendonectomy.html)
Why would any cat lover/owner/parent even consider mutilating their feline companion like this? Because they want to save their furniture, their kids, themselves from getting scratched. As a cat guardian/parent, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten clawed and scratched by my cats (I have four), they have destroyed an office chair I got at goodwill, clawed my leather couch, scratched the carpet and den couch and yet they have three cat trees and that’s just what they’ve done with their claws. I don’t get mad at them, yes it hurts when they scratch me but I know they are cats. They scratch because it is in their nature to mark territory or I’ve done something to upset them. Declawing is an inhumane practice that should be banned in the U.S. It is cruel and leaves the cat no only without their natural defenses but alters the cats behavior.
If you have a cat or know someone who has a cat and are considering declawing, stop and think about the following:
- Is your furniture really worth the health of your cat?
- What if they got outside?
- What if they are on pain meds for life?
- What if they couldn’t walk or started biting?
- Or started to urinate on your clothes?
- Is that really worth the $400-$800 to save a piece of furniture that can easily be replaced?