Paw Project-Utah and PoC Helping a Declawed Cat

Introduction: this is a repost of a Paw Project-Utah newsletter. The objective is to spread the word about Paw Project-Utah and the excellent work they do while also providing updating information about Mollie a declawed cat and general information on caring for declawed cats. Good reasons to repost the newsletter.


By Kirsten Doub, DVM

Declawed cat Mollie

Mollie

Recently, Dr. Doub had the pleasure to be part of a team of people who collaborated their efforts to help a declawed cat get help, due to pain resulting from declaw surgery. This cat is named Mollie. She is an 8-year-old Siamese/Himalayan, who continuously shakes her paws to show how badly she wishes to get rid of the pain she feels. Mollie isn’t jumping like she used to and hasn’t covered her ‘stuff’ in her litter box for a good year. Mollie’s guardian, Tina, posted her story on the website Pictures-of-Cats.org (PoC) and caught their attention. Michael Broad, the creator of Pictures of Cats, explained that their website makes a donation every month to a cat charity. PoC stepped in to assist Mollie’s guardian financially for the x-rays to be done by a veterinarian in Mollie’s home town, who would then work with with Dr Doub in helping Mollie. The x-ray was performed by Dr. Serena Heig at Canyon Lake Veterinary Hospital in Rapid City, South Dakota, where Mollie lives. Dr. Doub has been able to review the x-ray, and determined that there are no fragments in Mollie’s paws. This is fantastic news; however, this does not mean that Mollie’s issues are not related to the declaw surgery. Following are the general guidelines for all declawed cats, and what Dr. Doub recommends for Mollie:

  • For starters, yearly x-rays, lab work, and a good Physical Examination (PE) including close examination of paw pads, to check for calluses and pain sensitivity. The x-rays should be done as needed, yearly, or biyearly. This is very important for your cat’s wellbeing, as the x-rays will identify any new nail or bone re-growth.Yearly lab work is a good idea for all cats. Some say declawed cats are more likely to get cystitis or diabetes….the jury is still out. We are subscribing to the cystitis, and looking at it in my study right now. The bottom line is that any stressed cat can develop cystitis.
  • Visual examination of gait at each visit. Make sure your DVM watches your cat walk, as this is very important. If it is determined that your cat walks more on his/her wrists (plantigrade stance), then laser treatment on the carpi of plantigrade is recommended. Most declawed cats will start doing this at about age five, as the arthritis starts in their wrists to compensate for abnormal forces.
  • All declawed cats would benefit from a joint supplement like dasuquin or cosequin, daily. Typically, it’s the contents of one capsule on the food, once a day. Both products can be purchased over the counter, and are available online. Dasuquin is better because it goes beyond the traditional glucosamine/chondroitin sulphate, by containing avocado/soybean unsaponifiables (ASU), which makes it a better joint health supplement.
  • Also recommended is Omega 3 Fish Oil, also daily. Typically, 250mg for a 10lb cat. Please take your time when purchasing any of these products online, and choose one that comes from a reliable company and is in the format that will work for you and your cat.
  • Gabapentin can also be helpful; it’s a prescription pain medication. Very good for neuropathic pain analgesia. Also called Neurontin in human med. It is deemed relatively safe due to it’s wide dosing range and the fact that it is renally excreted. Thus, for well hydrated, healthy patients, lab work does not typically need to be run before initiating this pain medication. Gabapentin has shown great promise in human medicine for phantom nerve pain in amputees as well as an adjunctive pain medication in inflammatory processes such as spinal and extremity pain including osteoarthritis. It is recently gaining great momentum in vet medicine. I prescribe gabapentin now just as much as NSAIDS like metacam and rimadyl, due to its wide use in a plethora of painful animal conditions. Neurontin is the generic however some liquid formulations of the generic contain xylitol and should not be used in companion animals such as dogs and cats due to the risk of hypoglycemia. Veterinary gabapentin is safe for companion animals. Gabapentin should also never be started and stopped quickly without veterinary supervision. This medication is also an anticonvulsant and abrupt changing of dose even in non-epileptic animals can produce seizures and other neurologic systems. Talk to vet and see if your cat could benefit from this medication.
  • Weight! Keep the cat in it’s ideal weight range. Overweight is not good because it will make the already stressed P2 bones (the bones left in thepaw, carrying all the weight now) even more likely to punch through the uncushioned paw pads. If you are not sure how much your cat should ideally weigh, ask your vet.
  • Minimize stress in the environment. Declawed cats are PTSD cats and ANY stressor will make them act out. Declawed cats may be stressed by the mere presence of other creatures. I highly recommend, extensively reading, the article written by a DVM titled, ‘Indoor Pet Initiative’ on the website http://pawprojectutah.us8.list-manage.com/track/click?u=ee2d453714f3b85e58c17026b&id=dfc6a3da3a&e=7761b4b918. Click on ‘For Cat Owners’ once you get there. I urge you to read about what stresses a cat. Inappropriate elimination can be due to paw pain or stress. The best thing to do when this happens, is to set the cat up in a bathroom, alone, with a nice soft litter box, food and water, and let him/her relax there for a few days. The goal is to see if the cat starts using the litter box again.
  • Shredded paper litter may be helpful for your cat when it comes to using the litter box.

Progress takes time, so be patient grasshopper.

Kirsten Doub, DVM

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Comments

Paw Project-Utah and PoC Helping a Declawed Cat — 15 Comments

  1. It’s good to share the newsletter on PoC thanks Michael, Kirsten gives very good advice for anyone with a declawed cat.
    I’m so glad it’s being known now that declawed cats are not ‘fine’ as some people say, because maybe more will get the help they need to improve their lives a bit.
    I feel so sad that they can never have their toe ends back, most declawed as kittens and never had the pleasure of enjoying their claws as cats have the right to.
    When will this cruelty stop! How many more cats are to suffer before it does 🙁

    • I am very pleased that this “project” between us worked. We made progress and I love that. It was an example of true international cooperation. I admire Dr Doub massively and her newsletter is first rate.

      I very proud of our website because of the quality we produce. Mollie makes me feel sad though.

      • As far as I know, PoC is the only UK website helping to educate about the cruelty of declawing and has saved many claws.
        You have every right to be proud Michael, I am proud to be part of your anti declaw ‘team’

        • You are definitely a major team member. It is rewarding to do something tangible rather than just discuss things although writing about it does achieve results over time.

          PoC gets 7,000-10,000 page views per day so we are talking to people.

  2. Poor Mollie.

    She’s an amazing looking cat isn’t she. Traditional looking. To me she is exotic looking in the right way.

    The fact there’s nothing in her paws is good and bad I suppose. If there had been something in there it could have been removed and possibly solved the problem. I guess even ‘clean’ ‘declaw’ surgeries leave cats incapacitated by pain for the rest of their lives.

    Declawing is animal abuse. It’s cruelty. But it is disguised as something quite opposite. To me that makes it all the more insideous. In a way an a$$ hole is not as bad as an a$$ hole in disguise. Declawing is the worst of the worst.

    • Her “white bits” are very dark for a Siamese. This may be because of her age – older Siamese have less good blood circulation causing the body to be cooler leading to darker fur. Or her home may be cool.

      Declawing is madness but I am proud if the international cooperation in this project.

  3. What a wonderful lady thank God there are now veterinarians helping these poor cats with their pain imagine being in pain 24/7 and you can’t tell anyone you just want it to go away 🙁

    At least the amazing work that Dr Doub is doing can be shown to those who constantly say that these complications are just animal rights propaganda.

  4. I think Mollie’s plight will make some impact here. I believe that Dr. Doub is being heard. But, it’s equally important that a site like POC keeps the mission in the spotlight and never lets it wain. I don’t think our Ruth would ever let that happen! LOL!
    I think POC has been a big force in keeping the insanity related to declawing in the limelight.

  5. We MUST keep declawing education in the limelight ALL the time until it is finally a thing of the past.

    Dr. Doub is amazing- I have no other words at this moment to describe how I feel about the incredibly important work she is doing. This article is truly awesome…

  6. Thank God for The Paw Project and everyone with their hearts of gold who care about these poor abused cats. This newsletter from Paw Project-Utah about Mollie is amazing, what has been achieved for her restores my faith that not all US vets are greedy grasping butchers, there is a force for good fighting the force of evil that is declawing. Thank you so much Dr Doub.

    But also thank you Michael and POC and everyone who is against and fights declawing, including my incredible sister Ruth who is determined to see it banned world wide, I am in awe of her commitment. That POC was able to be part of Mollie getting the attention and treatment she needed makes me so proud to be associated with you all. I hope the tide is starting to turn, the whispers against declawing are starting to become roars as more vets get on board and more people realise how much of a crippling life change declawing is to cats. We will celebrate the end of declawing one day!

    • there is a force for good fighting the force of evil that is declawing.

      Well said Babz, indeed there is. We need more people, more American vets actually to be brave and highly moral like Drs Conrad and Doub. We should all be proud of our effort to be part of getting help for Mollie. An international cooperation.

  7. From Tina:

    I was able to get pictures to Dr. Doub, Paw Project Utah, and Mollie needs to be on medication. She said, “her paws look rough.” It isn’t the end of the world, but sure would have been nice if she would have never been declawed!!! Thank you again to PoC, Ruth, Jo, Dr. Doub, Carla Krebs, and everyone who helped to make this happen. Mollie might have lived in this pain the rest of her life and now I can make it a little easier. Mollie has two devoted dogs who love her and a Maggie Mae who protects her and me who adores her. May God Bless every declawed cat in the world and make thier pain easier. God, give me their pain, they can’t handle it, I know how to. Amen

  8. I am happy to announce that Mollie is running through the house! She began her medicine last Friday, thank you again. Yesterday she started running in spurts, but this morning she ran from one end of the house to the other 🙂 Her meow has changed and sounds more relaxed, she lets me pet her front paws now, and no more box issues unless I don’t get it scooped soon enough in the mornings (there are 3 total). Thank you so very much for helping Mollie to be pain free. She might actually make friends with the newest kitty of the house who has all her claws. My heart is full and Mollie is doing well.

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