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Canine devocalization

The American Animal Hospital Association is opposed to the practice known as debarking, canine devocalization, or vocal cordectomy.

Devocalization for inappropriate and excessive vocalization is often ineffective in achieving the desired results and can deprive canines of the ability to perform a normal behavior. Appropriate behavioral modification efforts should be employed that avoid the use of punishment or aversive methods. When deemed necessary, devocalization should only be performed by qualified, licensed veterinarians as a final alternative to relinquishment or euthanasia. Exceptions to this statement would be in the rare case of airway obstruction or laryngeal paralysis, which cannot be addressed through other surgical procedures.

Last revised by the American Animal Hospital Association Board of Directors October 2009.

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