31 March 2017

HEALTH - Canadian Veterinary Medical Association Opposes Declawing of Cats

The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) has updated its policy on declawing cats to clearly oppose the procedure.

The CVMA changed the position statement’s title to Domestic Felid Partial Digital Amputation (Onychectomy or Declawing) to better reflect the nature of the procedure, and explicitly states that it “opposes elective and non-therapeutic Partial Digital Amputation (PDA), commonly known as declawing or onychectomy, of domestic cats.”

Dr. Troy Bourque, CVMA President, said in a release, “Much research has become available since we last examined this position statement and it is evident that felines suffer needlessly when undergoing this surgery as an elective measure. Furthermore, behavioural research has advanced to allow veterinarians in this field to help clients modify unwanted scratching behavior without the completion of an Onychectomy.”

Animal welfare organizations have long held policies condemning declawing for elective or non-therapeutic reasons and have promoted behaviour modification to address scratching issues.

The new CVMA policy recognizes scratching as a normal cat behaviour and nails are used by cats to assist with balance, climbing, and self-defence.

The policy goes on to say, “surgical amputation of the third phalynx of the digit alters the expression of normal behaviours in cats, causes avoidable short-term acute pain, and has the potential to cause chronic pain and negative long-term orthopedic consequences.”

Does this new policy mean the surgery is banned in Canada?

No. It is up to veterinary regulators in each province to decide whether to ban the procedure.

Some provinces in Canada ban elective and non-therapeutic surgeries such as docking and cropping in dogs, and only time will tell if that happens for declawing.

Declawing is banned in the U.K., Europe, Australia and several California cities, and New Jersey is considering a law that would ban the practice unless a vet deems the operation medically necessary.

For now, Canadian Veterinarians “have the right to refuse to perform non-therapeutic Partial Digital Amputation surgery. If alternatives fail to alleviate undesirable scratching behaviours, veterinarians have the right and responsibility to use professional judgement for a humane and ethical outcome.”

No comments:

Post a Comment