AVMA Rules and Policy Change for Declawing

Practices and Methods

The AVMA discourages the declawing or onychectomy of cats in favor of non-surgical alternatives to the procedure. With that stated, the AVMA does respect the right of veterinarians to use their professional discretion when determining what is best for the health and welfare of an individual pet. This means that the veterinarian must adequately counsel the pet owner regarding the natural scratching behavior of cats, what the declawing surgery entails, and its potential complications. The veterinarian should also discuss alternatives to the surgery. In cases when the declawing procedure is elected, the pet owner must utilize pain management for his or her pet. 

How does the AVMA’s Stance Compare with its Prior Stance? 
The AVMA’s prior policy on declawing, which was last updated in 2014, stated that the procedure should only be utilized as a last resort, and highly encouraged the education of pet owners on this topic. The new policy still encourages pet owners’ education on pet behavior, the surgery, and its risks. However, the policy’s main focus is now on the importance of professional judgement in determining whether to declaw a pet. There has been no change regarding the mandate for pain management after the surgery has been completed. 

What’s Behind the AVMA’s Current Stance on Declawing?  
By discouraging pet owners to declaw their pets, the AVMA is consistent with the position of the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) and American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). The AVMA’s current stance on declawing was also influenced by states and cities that were adding or considering measures to ban declawing.  
 
Ahead of voting to adopt the current policy, AVMA delegates debated if the new proposal in whole or part would limit veterinary practice, set rigid pain management requirements, or enliven arguments favoring city or state bans on declawing. The decision was centered on the AVMA’s potential to lead on animal welfare issues that are important to the public, and act as a “voice” for the animals. 

No Comments

Leave a Reply

Practices and Methods
Veterinary Rules and Policy Updates in California Horse Racing

Following the frustrations expressed by some horse trainers in California over the changes in horse racing rules, officials from the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) and horsemen groups met in a teleconference on March 3 to clarify the rules and procedures for the treatment of entered racehorses. Here are the …

Practices and Methods
Tackling Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome

Image from azequine.com Equine gastric ulcer syndrome (EGUS) is common in horses. Ulcers can be found in the terminal esophagus, stomach (nonglandular and glandular regions) and the proximal duodenum. Prevalence estimates range from 25 percent to 50 percent in foals and 60 percent to 90 percent in adult horses, depending on …

Practices and Methods
Coping with Equine Geriatric Lameness

Image from Wagwalking.com Old age claims more horses’ lives than any other cause, according to the National Animal Health Monitoring System. The most common specific causes of death in these aged horses were weight loss and inability to ambulate; one researcher suggests the two are related.  You will find that …