Declaw position statement

Cat claw

What to know about cats and claws

Scratching is a normal feline behavior. It maintains claw motion for hunting, sharpens the claws and removes claw sheaths, stretches muscles, and provides stimulation for kittyBAE eyes and noses.

Banfield does not support elective declawing.

Every medical procedure supported by our practice has been put in place with the health and wellness of pets in mind and, based on this, we do not support the elective declawing (removal of normal digits) of any animal.

Current evidence does not support the use of elective declawing surgery as an alternative to relinquishment, abandonment, or euthanasia. This position statement aligns with the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) 2017 Declawing Position Statement and current bans in various US cities and municipalities.

Declawing includes surgical onychectomy, digital flexor tendonectomy, or phalangectomy. This includes surgical procedures performed with a laser. Banfield veterinarians should educate and encourage owners on alternatives to declaw. Surgical declaw is only performed when the following criterion is met:

Declawing is determined to be medically necessary as part of a comprehensive treatment plan to relieve pet pain or illness

If the above criterion is met and a medically necessary declawing procedure is to be performed, the providing medical team shall review the surgical procedure with the owner, including outlining all possible complications and post-operative care.

Banfield also requires that any surgical procedure be performed only with the medically appropriate use of anesthetics and analgesics and adherence to careful surgical and post-surgical protocols.

The above guidelines do not apply to the removal of dewclaws.

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