What is declawing?
Declawing is the removal of the tip of each digit (toe) on the front paws. A piece of bone is removed which includes the base of the nail, so that it does not grown back.
What are declawing pros and cons?
Benefits of declawing are predominantly for the humans in the house, with a reduction in destructive behaviour and a reduced risk of injury via scratching. The toes are painful for a few days to weeks after the surgery and it does reduce the ability of a cat to defend themselves.
What method does the clinic use? (blade or guillotine method)
We tend to use the “blade technique” at Clappison, using a scalpel blade to remove the piece of bone. It has a very low rate of complications.
How old does a cat have to be to be declawed?
Most cats having the declaw procedure are about 6-8 months old. It is often combined with the spay/neuter to reduce anesthetic risk. They can be declawed at any age, but we find that the older cats require additional pain management.
What are some potential complications?
Pain is the most common complication of this procedure. At Clappison’s we automatically include very good pain medication with the procedure. Occasionally some patients require additional pain management for a few extra days. On rare occasions a toe or two may become infected. This is easily reconciled with a short course of antibiotics
What are alternatives to declawing?
Regular (ie. every 2 weeks) nail trimming, providing appropriate scratching appliances or applying “Soft Paws” are possible alternatives to declawing.