Dr. Robin Downing and Steve Dale Talk Declaw at FETCH


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Today there is more information than ever regarding declaw in cats. We know better about how to use behavior modification and even a new pheromone product called Feliscratch to attract cats and kittens to scratching posts. We also know more about the deleterious medical problems that are directly correlated to declaw. In this instance causation is clear. Dr. Robin Downing and myself are speaking  in Kansas City at the FETCH Veterinary Conference, 3 to 5 p.m. on Friday August 23 about both behavior modification and new data regarding the harmful impact of declaw.

If you can’t attend – you can get a feel for what we’ll be talking about from this interview from my national Steve Dale’s Pet World radio show.

Dr. Robin Downing

Dr. Downing is Boarded animal rehabilitation, and is a renown expert on pain/pain management of companion animals and is a clinical bioethicist. All those props are relevant.

What a declaw is

She says, “We need to stop sanitizing” declaw – it’s not innocuous – and she explains why. In fact, we’re forever damaging the way the cat walks and moves for the rest of its life, and those changes are forever altering and damaging. If cat hobbles, you know that cat is in pain. If a cat isn’t lame, it doesn’t mean that the cat is not in pain – and she will explain.

Downing knows as much about biomechanics – how cats should be moving – as much as anyone else. And she says declawed cats’ movements aren’t normal. As cats’ age, those changes become even more apparent and therefore painful.

I ask Dr. Downing about phantom pain and whether declawed may suffer from this, and her answer is both striking and definitive.