The declaw procedure at the Livonia Veterinary Hospital is refined and humane. We perform the procedure using the highest standards available today to minimize the risk of infection and make the procedure as pain free as possible for your cat.
How is the declaw procedure performed?
The procedure is performed in the surgery room under general anesthesia. A technique involving precise surgical dissection is used to remove the claws with minimal trauma. An incision is made on each toe and the nail and bone are carefully removed, with great care taken to minimally involve the pads. This reduces discomfort as well as the possibility of nail re-growth.
What pain medications will my cat receive?
Aggressive pain management at Livonia Veterinary Hospital takes place in four stages:
- Initially, an injection of a morphine-like drug is given as part of the pre-anesthetic medication.
- Once the cat is anesthetized, a local anesthetic is injected under the skin in the wrist adjacent to the nerves that supply sensory innervation to the foot. This is similar to the local block administered at the dentist’s office when having work done on your teeth.
- In addition to the regional nerve block, a “splash block” of local anesthetic is applied directly to each incision site.
- That evening, we apply a transdermal patch of another powerful morphine-like drug (fentanyl) on all of our declaw patients. These patches adhere to the skin on the side of the cat’s body and the fentanyl is slowly absorbed. This provides continuous pain relief for several days.
When the above pain management protocol was initially recommended by the AVMA, it was used here on a trial basis. Drs. Jamison were so impressed by how well cats recovered, and how obviously more comfortable the patients were post operatively, that they quickly made it standard procedure.
Why are I.V. fluids included?
As with human surgeries, intravenous fluid therapy is an integral part of anesthetic procedures at Livonia Veterinary Hospital. Anesthesia can lower blood pressure during any surgery. The intravenous fluids increase blood volume, thereby maintaining your cat’s blood pressure at a safer level. In addition, should drugs ever be required in an emergency situation, the indwelling catheter provides us immediate IV access.
Why is pre-operative blood work required? (My cat is young and healthy.)
Pre-op blood work provides the same benefits as with human surgery. The tests will help tell us if your cat’s organs, particularly those associated with the metabolism of the anesthetic agents, are functioning properly. If congenital or age related abnormalities are identified, anesthesia protocols can be modified. If all is normal, we have established a valuable baseline for future reference.
Should I do anything special when my cat comes home?
Our feline patients go home with their personal bag of “Yesterday’s News” cat litter. This litter has large, non-crumbly particles which soften when moist and do not adhere to the surgical sites on the paws. PLEASE REMEMBER: It is recommended that declawed cats not go outdoors, since they are less able to effectively defend themselves.
Declawing is sometimes a necessary procedure and we feel strongly that we perform it in the most humane and problem-free manner possible.