2 F-M vet clinics put permanent pause on cat declawing

The Animal Health Clinic, 1441 S. University Drive, was the first to publicly announce that they would be on a permanent pause. In a May 24 post on Facebook, the veterinary clinic said “We’re giving cats a voice” by deciding to end the amputations.

Valley Veterinary Hospital, 3210 Main Ave., followed a few weeks later with a July 9th Facebook post stating that kittens will be kittens too.

Tammy Ness, a veterinarian at the Animal Health Clinic, said the debate about continuing the practice had been going on for a while.

“This is right for our feline patients,” said Ness.

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“We’ve been on the fence about declawing for a while, and we’ve discussed it in the past, and whether it’s ethical to do this. We even had a vet here who refused to do it; she wouldn’t do it at all, ”said Ness. Friday 2nd July 2021.

“And we’ve taken the stance so far that if people wanted to, we really seriously discuss what it is and what serious potential complications it could have, and offer alternatives and encourage alternatives,” she said. “We have noticed in the last two or three years that the number (of declawings) that we have carried out has decreased significantly. People are just more aware of this now and ready to do the alternative things like training on a scratching post, training work behavior, realizing that this is normal behavior for cats, and making nail caps. “

Ness said the declawing is something the clinic has reserved for extreme cases.

“There were some cats that were hell on wheels for the owners. If a little old couple walks in with scratches on their legs, you think you can probably go through the procedure because it’s not a good situation, ”said Ness. “It is really reserved for such cases. (But) even in these cases you still felt, I felt kind of sick about it. “

Declawing means amputating the last bone on the ball of each paw. It’s mostly done with the front paws, but some people have declawed all four paws, she said. Several Fargo-Moorhead veterinary clinics said they are trying to limit the procedure to kittens under six months old.

It’s painful, said Ness. To relieve the pain, the clinic uses lasers to cut and reduce pain and swelling. They also prescribed pain medication.

“It’s like removing our fingertip, that bone and everything else,” said Ness. “It’s an orthopedic operation. It’s the amputation of a digit. “

Cats are usually cured within a few weeks, but some were sore for months and some had visible changes in their mobility over the long term, she said.

Ness said the practice follows guidelines from Fear Free, an initiative aimed at promoting animal welfare and reducing anxiety, anxiety and stress in pets.

Although there are many Fear Free Certified Professionals in the Fargo-Moorhead area and across the country, the Animal Health Clinic is the only fully certified Fear Free practice in North Dakota, confirms Fear Free.

In its announcement, Valley Veterinary Hospital said that it not only strives to provide the best possible care for pets, but also works for their welfare.

“Because of this, our belief in fearless vet visits and our accreditation with the American Animal Hospital Association, we have decided to adapt to their recommendations and stop declawing cats immediately,” said the company’s Facebook message. “Thank you for entrusting us with the care of your pet and we thank you for allowing us to be your voice!”

The forum attempted to receive further comments from Valley Veterinary but received no response.

Cat’s Cradle Shelter in downtown Fargo declines the trial.

“We have a no-declaw clause in our adoption contract,” said Gail Adams-Ventzke, co-founder and managing director on Friday, July 16.

“We are firmly against declawing because of the massive pain and behavioral problems we have seen in cats with declaws,” said Adams-Ventzke. This can include urinating outside of their boxes or becoming more aggressive.

Adams-Ventzke said a cat admitted to the shelter had to be taken to a specialist in the Twin Cities for surgery because its paws were so badly damaged by the surgery.

Homeward shelter in north Fargo

Ness said that a pet’s emotional health and wellbeing is much more emphasized with the Fear Free Veterinary Philosophy.

“In the past, you’ve done what you need to do and keep going, and that’s not great. As part of being Fear Free, the Fear Free people made a really strong statement that practices have to stop declawing or you will lose your certification. I think that was the only little nudge we needed to go all the way down this path, ”she said. “They had practices in place until the end of the year to get it phased out. But we’re done. We thought we wouldn’t wait until the end of the year. That too is something that we really wanted to do anyway. “

Ness said the animal health clinic never recommended removing the claws for outdoor or indoor / outdoor cats, as doing so would deprive the cat of some of the opportunities to escape a threat or defend itself.

Some people, she said, just believed that declawing was exactly what you did along with spaying or neutering. After being educated about the issues that followed declawing, most people chose not to pursue the declawing any further, she said.

For others it was the destruction of furniture, carpets, the scratching of their children that led to the decision to declaw.

Ness said cats can be trained to use scratching posts. It helps to keep her nails trimmed, and the nails can be capped, she said. Some animals have anxiety states that can be addressed, she said.

“People have to realize that it’s natural behavior. It feels good. It’s a smell thing, a tag thing so that other animals know they were there. So it’s natural behavior, you won’t stop it. You just have to redirect it to the right place, ”said Ness.

The American Veterinary Medical Association does not recommend onychectomy or declawing of cats as an option and supports non-surgical alternatives. You discover that it is a surgical amputation

The American Animal Hospital Association and the American Association of Feline Practitioners also strongly oppose the declawing of domestic cats.

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