To Declaw Or Not Declaw is a Very Important Question

Behavior, Cats

Declawing your cat can seem like an easy solution to problems like scratched furniture. But, it’s a procedure that can be detrimental to your cat’s physical and mental well-being. The decision to declaw should only be followed through after very serious consideration.

What Happens When a Cat Gets Declawed?

The medical name for declawing is onychectomy. The goal of this elective surgery is to prevent a cat from scratching which could lead to the destruction of property or injury to pets or people. To accomplish this, the surgeon amputates the last segment of the cat’s toe, preventing the animal from regrowing its claws.

This is typically performed on all of the front toes, though in some cases also includes the back toes. The method of removal can be via a scalpel blade, sterilized nail trimmers, or a surgical laser.

Evidence Against Declawing

Declawing has always been a controversial issue. Opponents of declawing consider it unnecessary, excessively painful, and leaving the potential for long-term complications. Studies do support these feelings to some extent. In a 2017 study, it was found that 63% of declawed cats retained painful fragments of their amputated toe.

The study also found that declawed cats had higher rates of back pain, inappropriate urination or defecation outside of the litter box, and increased aggression. It is thought all these conditions trace back to phantom pain in these toes.

What the Experts Say

The American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) recently updated their position statement to “strongly oppose” declawing as an elective procedure, and feel it is an obligation for veterinarians to provide alternatives to this surgery. Legislation has been introduced in states such as New York to ban declawing and it has already been banned in numerous other countries.

Due to the changing scientific opinion as well as our own ethical considerations, it is our hospital’s policy not to perform declaws except when it is medically indicated.

Alternatives to Declawing Your Cat:

Regular Nail Trimming

Trimming your cat’s nails can reduce the amount of damage done to the household. It is ideal to begin trimming your cat’s nails as a kitten so they are trained to tolerate the procedure. This can be done at home or at the veterinary hospital.

Scratching Posts

Scratching posts and furniture are the best way to allow your cat to engage in normal scratching behavior. These come in a variety of sizes and textures, so it is best to experiment with different types to see what your cat prefers. The placement of the posts is also important. The best locations are near where they sleep, or close to the undesirable location where your cat is currently scratching.

Temporary Nail Caps

These caps can be glued over your cat’s nails to minimize damage to the home.They typically last 4-6 weeks, though duration can vary.

Environmental Enrichment

Excessive scratching can sometimes be an indicator that your cat’s environmental needs aren’t being met. Consider enrichment such as toys or vertical jumping surfaces.

Feline Pheromone Products

Products such as Feliway mimic the normal pheromones a cat will emit through interaction with their environment. Spraying Feliway on the furniture where undesirable scratching is occurring can reduce this behavior. There is also a related product called Feliscratch that should be applied to the desired scratching locations. A combination of both these products can be used to train your cat to scratch in the right places.

If you have any questions about declawing or have interest in any alternatives, please contact us to speak to one of our veterinarians.

Essex Middle River Veterinary Center provides medical and surgical care for cats and dogs at our animal hospital and veterinary clinic in Essex, Maryland, just outside of Baltimore. Our services include preventive wellness care exams, vaccines, spays/neuters, and a variety of specialized care. Our state-of-the-art veterinary offices are conveniently located near I-695 where we see pets from Towson, Honeygo, White Marsh, and other neighboring Baltimore areas.

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We are so happy to be able to provide service for all appointments and surgeries again. Since we are still only able to provide curbside service and have to solely rely on our phone system, our call volume has increased significantly. We understand this is making it more difficult for our clients to contact us by having extended wait times. Please set your phone settings to accept blocked calls. We also ask that you use our PetPage App or our pharmacy prescription line to request food and/or medication refills. EMRVC appreciates your continued patience during these times.

APPOINTMENT REQUEST:
connect.allydvm.com/practice/essexmrv/appointment_request

PRESCRIPTION REFILL REQUEST:
connect.allydvm.com/practice/essexmrv/refill_request
... See MoreSee Less

We are so happy to be able to provide service for all appointments and surgeries again.  Since we are still only able to provide curbside service and have to solely rely on our phone system, our call volume has increased significantly.  We understand this is making it more difficult for our clients to contact us by having extended wait times.  Please set your phone settings to accept blocked calls.  We also ask that you use our PetPage App or our pharmacy prescription line to request food and/or medication refills. EMRVC appreciates your continued patience during these times. 

APPOINTMENT REQUEST:
https://connect.allydvm.com/practice/essexmrv/appointment_request

PRESCRIPTION REFILL REQUEST:
https://connect.allydvm.com/practice/essexmrv/refill_request

Happy Mother's Day from all of us at EMRVC - Has your pet ever been a mom? If so, share some pictures of mom and kids!! If not, share pictures of you and your fur babies! ... See MoreSee Less

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Princess & Chase

My baby Benji 🥰

My boy 💕

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Today is National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day:

If Covid-19 taught us nothing else, it is to be prepared for the unexpected. In recognition of National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day, our doctors have gathered a list of items they feel is important to keep prepared and ready in the event of a disaster. Keeping this things together and ready to go can save a lot of time and headache in the event you would have to evacuate quickly with your pet:

Food, Medication and Supplies
· 3-7 days’ worth of dry and canned (pop-top) food*
· Two-week supply of medicine*
· At least 7 days’ supply of water
· Feeding dish and water bowl
· Liquid dish soap
· Litter, litter pan, and scoop (shirt box with plastic bag works well for pan)
· Newspaper, paper towels, and trash bags
*These items must be rotated and replaced to ensure they don’t expire
Important Documents
· Identification papers including proof of ownership
· Medical records and medication instructions
· Emergency contact list, including veterinarian and pharmacy
· Photo of your pet (preferably with you)
Travel Supplies
· Crate or pet carrier labeled with your contact information
· Extra collar/harness with ID tags and leash
· Flashlight, extra batteries
· Muzzle
Comfort Items
· Favorite toys and treats
· Extra blanket or familiar bedding
... See MoreSee Less

Today is National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day:

If Covid-19 taught us nothing else, it is to be prepared for the unexpected. In recognition of National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day, our doctors have gathered a list of items they feel is important to keep prepared and ready in the event of a disaster. Keeping this things together and ready to go can save a lot of time and headache in the event you would have to evacuate quickly with your pet:

Food, Medication and Supplies
·    3-7 days’ worth of dry and canned (pop-top) food*
·    Two-week supply of medicine*
·    At least 7 days’ supply of water
·    Feeding dish and water bowl
·    Liquid dish soap
·    Litter, litter pan, and scoop (shirt box with plastic bag works well for pan)
·    Newspaper, paper towels, and trash bags
*These items must be rotated and replaced to ensure they don’t expire
Important Documents
·    Identification papers including proof of ownership
·    Medical records and medication instructions
·    Emergency contact list, including veterinarian and pharmacy
·    Photo of your pet (preferably with you)
Travel Supplies
·    Crate or pet carrier labeled with your contact information
·    Extra collar/harness with ID tags and leash
·    Flashlight, extra batteries
·    Muzzle
Comfort Items
·    Favorite toys and treats
·    Extra blanket or familiar bedding

EXCITING NEWS!
The Maryland State Veterinary Board has lifted some restrictions that were placed upon all Maryland hospitals due to COVID-19. We will now be allowed to schedule all types of visits and surgeries, including nail trims. We will be continuing our curbside service until further mandates are lifted. Give us a call at 410-687-1111 to schedule your appointment. EMRVC will be here for you and your pet through sickness and in health.
... See MoreSee Less

EXCITING NEWS!
The Maryland State Veterinary Board has lifted some restrictions that were placed upon all Maryland hospitals due to COVID-19. We will now be allowed to schedule all types of visits and surgeries, including nail trims. We will be continuing our curbside service until further mandates are lifted. Give us a call at 410-687-1111 to schedule your appointment. EMRVC will be here for you and your pet through sickness and in health.

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Mandi Mars

You guys are the best ! Thanks for seeing Skylee in the car since she is petrified of vet offices !!

Awesome, forgot to call today. My Maggie needs a nail trim, she's been slipping on the hard floors and stairs 😢 her black nails are tough for me to trim and she won't let me. You all are awesome!!

And here’s the other amazing tech seeing Skye in the car ! Thank you again

Thank you so much for all that you do and continue to do. As always, the staff is wonderful, even during this extra stressful time. Stay safe 💜

Great news so I shouldn't have any issues next week to get my fur baby's Heart Guard meds

Great Vet's !!

Awesome, now I can schedule my cats dental

Awesome

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