Cat presented for laser declaw and we found a rubber band around the tongue

This photo and caption reminds me that cats deal with discomfort and pain with great stoicism. We can’t assume our cat is not in discomfort. This cat was at the Cuyahoga Falls Veterinary Clinic, USA for a laser declaw (more on that below) and by chance the vet spotted that the tongue had been injured quite badly by an elastic band which appears to have been wound around the tongue. For how long and with what sort of pain? It looks very painful. Lacerated tongues are painful in my experience.

Cat's tongue injured by elastic band
Cat’s tongue injured by elastic band. Click on the image to see it in larger format. The photo is published here with the kind permission of Cuyahoga Falls Veterinary Clinic from their Flickr photostream.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Anyway, moral: don’t leave short lengths of string and elastic bands lying around the floor if you have a cat in the house (dangers). As for declawing, this clinic states that they carry out very high standard laser declaw with neither post-op behavioral changes nor medium to long term discomfort. Well done. You are probably highly skilled vets. However…..

What I find concerning is that they wash their hands of the moral dimension to declawing:

“Our stance on declawing: We’re not out to change anybody’s mind on the to subject, and we’re not on any sort of moral crusade….”

Well, I am sorry, you should take a moral stance on declawing because a major aspect of veterinary work is underpinned by making correct moral judgements and this certainly applies to declawing. It is no good being a wonderful vet if you lack morality. What they are saying is that the moral dimension of declawing is something that should not concern them or avoid. I don’t see how they can defend that point of view. My feeling is they avoid it because it is too uncomfortable to address it.

Take this simplistic example. A cat owner comes in to the clinic with her three-year-old healthy cat and insists the vet euthanizes him (this does happen). The only barrier to carrying out the instructions is the moral judgment of the vet. His oath is based upon it and vice versa.

In my view it is obligatory that a vet takes a moral stance on declawing because it is nearly always for non-therapeutic reasons which means it is almost certainly against their oath 99% of the time. Therefore in carrying out the operation the vet is making a consciously immoral decision and it does not matter how this aspect of the operation is repackaged and presented to the public.

I don’t wish to be critical of this veterinary clinic but needs must.

2 thoughts on “Cat presented for laser declaw and we found a rubber band around the tongue”

  1. Why the heck is laser declawing trumped up to high Heaven as some sort of saintly, merciful miracle procedure when it’s just the same mutilation with less bleeding as the laser cauterises as it cuts????!!!!!!!As to the dangers with elastic bands – my cats are indoors only, but a lot in the building do go out, and I’m forever picking up elastic bands, (think they are dropped by postal workers), so the cats and dogs can’t try to eat them! Thanks for highlighting this danger.

  2. Poor kitty! If he was displaying unfavorable clawing behavior, it was probably due to the lacerated tongue that no one addressed until it was too late. I bet his scratching behavior would have gone away without the declawing.

    Shame on declaw vets for breaking their oath to protect animals against harm! Too much greed in medicine!


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