Washington VMA finds veterinarians nearly evenly split on declaw issue

Veterinary association surveys members in anticipation of legislative effort.
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Aug 18, 2014
By dvm360.com staff

Amid speculation that anti-declawing activists may launch an effort to make declawing of cats illegal in the state of Washington through a ballot initiative, the Washington State Veterinary Medical Association (WSVMA) recently undertook an effort to study the literature on the topic and find out where its members stood on the issue and why.

Of the 467 respondents to the WSVMA survey, 64 percent said they currently do perform declaw surgeries and 58 percent do not, according to the July/August issue of the association’s membership publication, WA Veterinarian. See figures 1 to 3 for more results from the study.

The survey also requested—and the association reported—individual comments reflecting veterinarians’ thoughts and perspectives on the issue. Here are some examples:

>  “Before becoming a veterinarian I thought I would not declaw. My opinion changed when I understood the problem of homeless feral cats. I would rather declaw a cat than have it become homeless.”

> “I do not believe they are necessary. I am opposed to the procedure. I do not perform ear cropping or tail docking either.”

> “Declawing should never be offered as a routine procedure but reserved for those instances when other methods ... have been excluded for other reasons. My opinion is that the option to have indoor cats declawed should not be taken away from practitioners by any legislative process. This is a medical, not ethical, decision.”

> “The number of declaw surgeries I perform has decreased tremendously since I graduated in 1980. I may perform one or two a year if that. People are more cognizant of their options and willing to try them.”

See wsvma.org for the article “The Declaw Issue,” which contains additional opinions and study details.