Our top priority is providing the highest-quality of veterinary care to each pet we treat. Every policy and medical procedure supported by our practice has been put in place with the health and wellness of pets in mind.
Our veterinarians perform declaw surgery on cats they believe cannot be trained to refrain from using its claws destructively in the home, or poses a danger to family members. Unfortunately, all cats are not amenable to behavior modification and we believe that this surgical procedure will result in fewer cats being abandoned or euthanized.
Understanding the Procedure
A surgical declaw procedure is called an Onychectomy. During the surgery the last segment of a cat’s digit (finger) is removed/amputated from the toes of the front paws. Many people believe that the Onychectomy is the removal of just the nail – this is false. In order to prevent the nail from continually growing out from the bone, the entire first section of bone of is removed from the toe.
Timing can make all the difference in comfort and recovery when deciding what age to declaw your cat. While younger, non-overweight cats typically recover from declawing procedures with fewer complications.
We believe feline onychectomy should be performed only with the medically appropriate use of anesthetics and analgesics and adherence to careful surgical and post-surgical protocols. We use several monitoring devices during your pet’s anesthetic. A veterinary technician continually assesses your pet’s vital signs during the procedure.
Your pet’s safety and comfort are our primary concerns when performing a declaw. We use advanced pain management techniques in conjunction with anesthesia to make sure your pet is as comfortable as possible during the procedure and after they are discharged. Our declaw patients receive pain medications during the procedure and go home with oral pain medication. We perform nerve blocks on the feet that provide additional pain relief immediately after the surgery. Our declaw patients stay with us overnight so that we can be sure they are comfortable, and to assess the surgical area before going home. At home, litter should be replaced with shredded newspaper or a commercially available pellet litter for 7 - 14 days.
Alternatives to declawing cats
There are several alternatives to declawing cats, although effectiveness may vary depending on a cat's age and temperament. Some of the more prevalent alternatives to declawing cats are:
·Behavioral Training: This is a much more effective alternative for kittens than adult cats, and involves redirecting a misbehaving cat to a toy or scratching post.
Nail Caps: Synthetic nail covers permit scratching while preventing damage. This requires a patient and dedicated owner but it is a reasonable alternative to declawing.
Frequent Nail Trimming: This is a less effective, but nonetheless widely used alternative to declawing cats. It involves trimming the nails very short. However, this method will not stop a cat from sharpening its existing claws and using them.
Scratching Post: This might be a foregone conclusion in the eyes of some cat owners, but it is very important to have sufficient options for recreation and respite. Be sure to provide material and size appropriate for your cat and provide positive reinforcement!
Synthetic pheromone sprays/diffusers: Consider using Feliway pheromone spray and/or diffusers to help relieve anxiety or stress, which may or may not be related to your cats scratching behavior. Apply spray on the objects or areas in your home where your cat has exhibited undesired scratching.
Appropriate environmental enrichment: Cats are natural hunters and explorers. When we make them indoor pets, they can experience stress if not provided with an enriched environment full of outlets for their inquisitive, playful energy. An enriched environment includes providing things like scratching surfaces, toys, cat trees and more.