Declaw references

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Jennifer Conrad shares the sources she used to make up her mind on the declaw debate.

Studies showing that laser declawing is no less painful than other techniques:

1. Levy J, Lapham B, Hardie E, et al. Evaluation of laser onychectomy in the cat. Proceedings. 19th Annu Meet Soc Laser Med. 1999;73.

Synopsis: Complication rates were generally higher for the laser declaw group in the first two days, but were equivalent thereafter.

2. Holmberg DL, Brisson BA. A prospective comparison of postoperative morbidity associated with the use of scalpel blades and lasers for onychectomy in cats. Can Vet J. 2006 Feb;47(2):162-3.

Synopsis: No difference in lameness between laser and scalpel beyond the first couple of days after surgery. Discomfort was observable for eight days after surgery in both groups.

3. Mison CB, Bohart GH, Walshaw R, et al. Use of carbon dioxide laser for onychectomy in cats. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2002 Sep 1;221(5):651-3. Comment by Goldman AL, in J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2002 Oct 15;221(8):1100; author response pp. 1100-1101.

Synopsis: Laser and scalpel techniques were similar in terms of discomfort and medical complications.

References for increased behavior problems and relinquishment in declawed cats:

1. Yeon SC, Flanders JA, Scarlett JM, et al. Attitudes of owners regarding tendonectomy and onychectomy in cats. J Am Vet Med Assoc 2001;218:43-47.

Synopsis: One study documented that 33 percent of cats developed behavior problems (house soiling or biting) after being declawed.

2. Bennett M, Houpt KA, Erb HN. Effects of declawing on feline behavior. Comp Anim Pract 1988;2:7-12.

Synopsis: One study showed 16 percent of declawed cats developed behavior problems (12 percent biting, 4 percent litterbox avoidance), and more declawed (55 percent) than clawed (45 percent) cats were referred to a veterinary teaching hospital for behavior problems.

3. Patronek, GJ, Glickman LT, Beck AM, et al. Risk factors for relinquishment of cats to an animal shelter. J Am Vet Med Assoc 1996;209:582–588.

Synopsis: Inappropriate elimination was almost twice as common in declawed (52.4 percent) as intact cats (29.1 percent.) Declawed cats were nearly twice as likely to be relinquished to a shelter than clawed cats (actual odds 1.89 to 1, range 1-3.58).

4. Landsberg GM. Cat owners' attitudes toward declawing. Anthrozoos 1991;4:192-197.

Synopsis: Eleven cats developed or had worse behavior problems post-declawing; Five clients reported that their cats had developed litterbox and biting problems.

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