OTTAWA - A veterinary medical association in Western Canada announced Friday a ban on the cosmetic cropping of dogs' ears, but some breeders warn it could lead to torn floppy ears.
The Manitoba Veterinary Medical Association passed the bylaw at its annual general meeting on February 3 after all four of Canada's eastern maritime provinces enacted similar bans, but only now publicized it.
Generally performed on Great Dane, Doberman, Schnauzer, Boxer and Miniature Pinscher puppies at around three months old, the surgical procedure reshapes the ears by removing skin and cartilage.
Nearly half of the entire ear is removed, and a splint or bracket is then used to hold the ears in an upright position while they heal.
The association said in a statement the cosmetic procedure is "unnecessary in the canine species, causing pain and distress to the patient without any medical benefit."
But breeder Cindy Kowalchuk said it also has a practical application: removing the floppy part of the ear prevents injury when dogs fight.
"They're going to see a lot of torn ears, (and) how do you fix that, from a veterinarian's perspective? You cannot re-sew that ear," she told public broadcaster CBC.
Veterinary associations in British Columbia and Alberta are also looking at creating similar bylaws.
Image: Jeff Johnson / via Flickr