A June 18 vote within the Nova Scotia Veterinary Medical Association that could have paved the way for the banning of cat declawing in that region failed to gain enough support.

Thirty-four veterinarians voted against the ban while eight voted their support for it.

According to CBC News, Nova Scotia would have become the first jurisdiction in North America to outlaw the procedure if the ban had been instituted.

Hugh Chisholm, DVM, the veterinarian who put forth the motion, has previously referred to declawing as a "barbaric mutilation that does nothing to benefit the cat," as well as "an embarrassment to our profession" on CBC's radio program, CBC News reported. His firm stance against declawing is a departure from his early career, when he performed the surgery before stopping in the early 1990s.

Even before the vote, Chisholm said he had low expectations that it would pass because declawing has become such a common practice over the years.

"Veterinarians change slowly," Chisholm said. "Especially where this is something that's been done for so many years, that to suddenly stop doing something that's been widely accepted as an OK procedure, I think that's a tough pill for people to swallow."

Chisholm told the Chronicle Herald that although he is disappointed in the vote's outcome, he will continue to press the issue.

Comments (2) -

Arnold L. Goldman DVM, MPH
Arnold L. Goldman DVM, MPHUnited States
6/19/2014 3:52:03 PM #

Bravo for the Nova Scotia VMA! Surgical decision-making includes owner and veterinarian only.
The VCPR does not include associations, activist organizations or individuals unconnected with any particular patient. Arguments against onychectomy can apply equally to ovariohysterectomy, ovariectomy and orchidectomy, yet we do those, purportedly in the interest of animal welfare. Onychectomy has acquired a bad reputation because of poor case management but also anthropomorphism on the part of activists who argue we should not decide what may be best for a particular owner or pet owned by that owner.

Any surgical procedure may be accomplished humanely when accompanied by appropriate and necessary attention to proper anesthesia administration, gentle tissue handling, accurate dissection, pre - intra - and post operative analgesia and most important perhaps, post operative nursing care equal to the case at hand and which includes individualized titration of analgesia to the procedure and to the animal.

If the profession agrees to banning of one procedure, it will open the door to activist organizations deciding for our clients and for us, what we can do for the animals our clients own. No thanks. My VCPRs are all full.

Olivia, Veterinary Student
Olivia, Veterinary StudentUnited States
7/28/2014 11:22:30 AM #

This isn't about veterinarians changing slowly, this is about providing a service to our clients to ultimately help more cats find a home. If you are going to change anyone's mind, it needs to be through clients first. Banning declaws could mean more clients asking veterinarians to euthanize their cats because they are destroying their house, or it could mean that these cats are thrown out on the street. The first thing that needs to happen is education. We can educate our clients about alternatives to declaws and offer training advice for their destructive kitties.

Just outright banning things, no matter what they are, does nothing to help improve the community.

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