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Animals In Print
The On-Line Newsletter

From 11 August 2004 Issue

What Really Happens To your Pets
Declawing and Debarking

For the sake of cats and dogs who may be saved from these procedures if their guardians learn what really happens to their pets at the vet's offices.

Sadly, debarking and declawing are common here in the US. I've worked as a Vet Tech for 24 years and I can tell you that declawing cats is so common, it is almost the norm. As more people live in these crowded cities and keep cats indoors they find that the cats claws are a nuisance and want them removed when they are spayed or neutered.

A common practice is to use one of those guillotine style clippers, used to trim a dogs toenails. The cat's paws are cleaned and soaked in antiseptic, tourniquets are tightly placed on the upper leg to stop blood flow. The Vet just chops off the first digit of the toe which of course includes the claw. One must be certain that the whole digit is removed or the nail will grow back in a bizarre fashion and the people will of course demand that the procedure be repeated.

Once all the toes are removed, the feet are quickly dried and a drop of glue is dropped into the gaping holes and pinched closed with forceps. The feet are then bandaged. Tourniquets are removed and the cat is left to wake up in agony, thrashing and flinging it's bloody bandaged legs all over the cage. The fortunate cats finally give up, exhausted and panting. Some of them manage to tear off the bandages and the slamming of their paws against the cage walls opens up the toes and the blood is everywhere. These poor cats are not quite out of the anesthetic and often need to be noosed, injected with a sedative IM and re-glued and bandaged while still semi awake.

Debarking is even worse.

The debarking is simply going down a dog's throat with a sharp debarking instrument and tearing apart it's vocal cords by removing chunks of flesh. It is bloody and messy. The debarking tool is an elongated device, similar to small salad tongs, with serrated edges. The dog is under general anesthesia of course as the Vet reaches down it's throat tearing out chunks of vocal cords and tossing them in the bucket or the floor. This process is repeated over and over. The dog's head then must be kept facing down off the table to allow blood to drain and avoid drowning, despite an ET tube. Upon recovery, the dog drools, coughs up blood and sadly tries to bark. They are sent home the next day on tranquilizers to prevent barking which will cause scar tissue and enable the dogs to once again vocalize as they should.

The most common dogs to undergo this procedure are the herding dogs, Collies and such whose very nature it is to bark.

I wish I had better news to share.

Tami Myers

Founder and Director
The Angry Parrot Inc

Return to Animals in Print 11 August 2004 Issue

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