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New VCA Policy on Elective Declaw Procedures in Cats

February 21, 2020

We believe that every pet owner has the responsibility for providing a safe and supportive home for their animal that enables appropriate expression of natural behaviors and fully integrates them into the home and family. Every medical procedure supported by our veterinary practices has been put in place with the health and wellbeing of pets in mind and, based on this, we do not support the elective declawing of any animal in our veterinary practices.
 
Declawing includes surgical onychectomy, digital flexor tendonectomy, and generalized phalangectomy for non-medical reasons. Feline scratching and nail sharpening are normal behaviors and the removal of nails has been shown to lead to chronic pain and, in some cases, to cause long-term behavioral issues. We believe that education of pet owners about appropriate behavioral and environmental modifications are humane alternatives to these elective procedures. 

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