I allege that many tens of thousands of American veterinarians regularly lie to their customers about the operation called onychectomy, the scientific term for declawing which is a highly misleading word for the removal of the last phalange of the toe – a severe mutilation.
However, the lie is not in the use of misleading language (but the language is a part of the web of lies). It is far worse than that. It is a plain example of fraud and misrepresentation.
Some veterinary clinics provide their receptionists and vet techs with a prepared script that they must follow when talking about declawing with the customer. The script is a lie. It is lying by omission.
The script does not explain what declawing is. The script deliberately leaves out the bits that would put a customer off. The receptionist is not allowed to explain that the operation is an amputation of part of the cat’s toe. Oh no….The customer is left with the impression that it is removing the “nail” only. They have no idea there will be a gaping hole where the claw once was and that the cat will be doped up with the strongest possible pain killers and suffer possible debilitating complications.
Of course, the customer can ask probing questions and if so the answers will probably be honest unless there is a script for that too. But, no one asks questions. They trust their vet to be honest. The vet relies on his status in society to successfully mislead and feel immune from being sued. It is the worst kind of breach of trust.
We can say with complete confidence that tens of thousands of American veterinarians (“doctors”) lie by omission to their customers.
Lying by omission is deliberately leaving out an important fact to deceive the recipient of the statement. Many cat owners will have misconceptions about declawing. They need to be educated and informed; part of the vet’s job. Omitting to tell the whole story is unforgivable.
Lying by omission could be a misrepresentation in the USA. Depending on the state’s legal code it should be actionable as a misrepresentation in contract law. Let’s see some customers sue their lying vets.
Perhaps there are a few hundred vets who don’t declaw. There are 97,000 vets in the US (2012). The percentage of declared non-declawers to the total is about 0.3% – miniscule. I have to conclude and allege that many American veterinarians routinely lie to their customers and let’s not forget they are also routinely in flagrant breach of their oath.
- Important Note: I don’t like writing these articles but my love of animals and cats compells me to do it because millions of cats are suffering unnecessarily because of this deception.
- Source about scripts for employees “Some practices employ ‘scripts’ that staff members must follow or face chastisement”. Dr. Robinson, DVM, DO, Dipl. ABMA, FAAMA, oversees complementary veterinary education at Colorado State University.
- Article by Elisa on a similar subject.