Declawing is big in America. It is simply big business (about $20 billion on my estimate) and it is that which drives vets to do it. But despite all the feeble attempts to justify what is cosmetic surgery for the benefit of the cat owner (and to dress it up otherwise is nonsense) declawing is a problem for vets. Some even refuse to do it! I am shocked!
On the basis that declawing does present moral questions for a small percentage of American veterinarians they had to devise an alternative that seemed more acceptable to the public. A procedure that repackaged the process but which still brought in those precious dollars.
And they came up with the procedure of tenectomy or tendonectomy on cats (it can be performed on other animals). This procedure is defined as "the surgical resection of part of a tendon". Notice the jargon of the word, "resection". Resection means, "the partial or complete removal of an organ or other bodily structure". In other words the procedure of tenectomy or tendonectomy on cats is the cutting and removal of a part of the tendon of the cat which in turn is part of the mechanism that controls the extension (flexing) of the cat's claws.
In removing this piece of the cat's anatomy the cat's claws cannot be retracted (drawn in) and are rendered almost useless, as I understand it. The after effects are as high as for declawing (although this is still work in progress it would seem). Incidentally, the level of short-term after surgery complications for declawing is not as low as some vets make out. They can be as high as 50% and in the long term as high as 20% "Feline Onychectomy at a Teaching Institution: A Retrospective Study of 163 Cases," Veterinary Surgery, Vol. 23, no. 4 (July-August 1994): 274-280). My thanks to this website: catclinicofnorman.com.
The procedure of tenectomy or tendonectomy on cats is becoming increasingly common. The cat owner will need to trim and maintain the cat's claws regularly after the operation. I wonder whether they do bearing in mind that a request to carry out this procedure is likely to come from people who are not that inclined to devote a lot of time to their cat? This may result in more health problems for the cat.
As the procedure is newish there have been no long term analysis as to its effects on cat welfare. On that basis alone it should not be carried out or recommended by veterinarians and in any case it is the same story. A wholly unnecessary surgical procedure that is prohibited under the European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals (note: the procedure is not referred to by name as it is new but is still covered by the convention under Art 10 as it is non-curative and totally unnecessary in respect of benefit to the animal).
Article 10 – Surgical operations
- Surgical operations for the purpose of modifying the appearance of a pet animal or for other non-curative purposes shall be prohibited and, in particular:
- the docking of tails;
- the cropping of ears;
- declawing and defanging;
- Exceptions to these prohibitions shall be permitted only:
- if a veterinarian considers non-curative procedures necessary either for veterinary medical reasons or for the benefit of any particular animal;
- to prevent reproduction.
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