Laser Declaw

Laser declaw

Coastal Cat Clinic does NOT recommend that you declaw your cat. In fact, we stand with the AAFP (American Association of Feline Practitioners) in strongly discouraging the declawing of cats. AAFP Declaw Position Statement.  Declawing is NOT just a short nail trim.  It is a painful surgery which involves amputating each of the kitty's toes at the last knuckle joint.  Most cats can be trained to use scratching posts, corrugated cardboard flats, or use Soft Paws nail caps.  Any declaw candidate must have a visit with our doctor to explain the procedure and see if alternatives can be found before scheduling surgery as we believe that declawing is not necessary in most cases.  All cats presented for declaw must already be spayed/neutered and current on vaccines, or the procedures will also be done at the time of the declaw.  If you are considering declawing your cat, please take the time to read the different links presented here before your appointment as it will help make your visit with the doctor more productive.

Cornell has released a video on destructive scratching.  Please watch it first before deciding to declaw.  

 Managing destructive scratching behavior (video)

 This is a downloadable brochure about alternatives to declawing and more information, well worth the read.  It can't be emphasized enough that scratching is a NORMAL feline behavior, and it can be directed onto appropriate objects, especially with a little bit of attention to training as a kitten.  Cat Scratching Brochure  Also, this is a nice guide to living with a clawed cat.  And yet another comprehensive guide for people trying to understand why cats scratch and what they can do about it short of declawing. 

However... we also understand that some cats are incorrigible and that some owners have special medical concerns or circumstances which make declawing (for them, not the cat) a necessity.  If a cat *must* be declawed, we believe that it is most humane to do it with our CO2 laser.  The laser cauterizes as it cuts, so we do not have to use tourniquets or pressure wraps (which can cause a lot of other long or short term  complications in and of themselves!) as you would with a standard procedure.  There is significantly less bleeding and painfulness after a laser declaw versus a regular declaw.  We do wrap  the feet lightly after surgery to protect the incision sites during anesthetic recovery, but it is NOT a pressure wrap, and the kitties are typically able to walk fairly well the day after surgery when they are discharged to their owners with a special litter to be used for about a week afterwards.  We also treat the cat with injectable pain medications to help to create consistent, long-lasting pain relief after the surgery to be sure the cat is as comfortable as we can make him/her.  Some cats may need take-home medications in addition to the standard pain protocol.

To the best of my knowledge,  Coastal Cat Clinic is the only veterinarian in Onslow County with laser declaw capability.