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Q. We have 2 feral cats w rescued 5 yrs ago. We have done it all to stop the clawing. How can we find someone you can trust to do a good job declawing?

A. Well this a very loaded question and I will do my best to answer it. I have done many many successful declaws and I am an advocate for pain control when it comes to this painful and disfiguring procedure. Declawing is a controversial procedure that some vets will agree to do and some vets will flat out refuse to do. I personally see the benefit in declawing if it will help maintain a good relationship between owner and cat. However, I do warn owners that declawing your cat can in some instances change their personality, and not in a good way.

But to answer your question. Once you have established a reliable veterinarian that you can trust by having your annual health visit's done, they may entrust you with some good recommendations for declaw procedures. Lots of veterinarians that have been in one location, for say over 4 years, will have a pretty good reference book for vets that specialize or are good at certain procedures. Who knows you may even luck up and your regular vet is the one known to do well with these types of procedures.

If this approach doesn't prove successful, then you are required to now do a little more digging to find a good candidate for your cat's procedure. It is ok to ask a veterinarian some questions

1) How many declaws have you done?

2) What type of pain management do you use after the declaw procedures? (typically this is Buprenorphine given for up to 3 days following the procedure) I make sure that I give this medication immediately after the procedure, oftentimes before the patient even wakes up because once "Wind-up" pain is present it is so difficult to stop

3) Make sure you pet is kept overnight with bandages in place and discharged the next day. This is an overnight procedure and is best if they can monitor your kitty the whole night. Obviously this can be a little difficult to find if the clinic is not a 24-hr hospital, however this is the ideal situation. There are still clinics that are not 24-hr that are still suitable if that is all your can find, because at least kitty will be in a crate all night and not allowed to wander around freely.

Well that is all I have as far as things to inquire about when it comes to selecting a good skilled veterinarian for this procedure. This is a common procedure that is done by a lot of veterinarians so I am confident you will find one that suits your needs and expectations.

Mahalo!

- Dr. H

Answered By
DESTINI R. HOLLOWAY, DVM

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A. Please do not declaw your cats. Declawing means amputating the last bone of each "finger" with the nail and can cause serious phantom pain. Also, the cat is deprived of its first line of defense, which in quite a few cats makes the cats use their second line of defense: biting. Try scratching boxes made from cardboard with catnip, or a nice larger piece of a branch with bark to entice them to use that. Cutting the tips of their nails regularly helps also. (clawing usually has one of two reasons: 1) the nails grow and get too long and start hurting and the cat needs to get rid of the outer shell, and 2) getting attention). There are also www.softclaws.com/ and www.softpaws.com/ and various other companies that make similar products.

Answered By
DR. ANDREA M. BRODIE, DVM

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