Dr. Robin Downing: "Let's call it what it isa toe amputation"

August 25, 2019
Robin Downing, DVM, DAAPM, DACVSMR, CVPP, CCRP, CVA, MS
Robin Downing, DVM, DAAPM, DACVSMR, CVPP, CCRP, CVA, MS

Robin Downing, DVM, DAAPM, DACVSMR, CVPP, CCRP, CVA, MS in Clinical Bioethics, is a founder and past-president of the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management. She owns Windsor Veterinary Clinic and The Downing Center for Animal Pain Management in Windsor, Colorado. 

This veterinary pain and bioethics expert has an issue with conventional terminology surrounding feline declaws.

Whether veterinarians should perform feline declaws is an ongoing debate in the profession, and it's come to the forefront again lately through news like New York becoming the first state to ban the procedure. (You can see the thoughts of some of your colleagues in letters to dvm360 and through Veterinary Confessionals.)

Robin Downing, DVM, DAAPM, DACVSMR, CVPP, CCRP, CVA, MS, has a firm message for her fellow veterinary professionals: “We as a profession have failed our cat population of patients miserably by sanitizing this procedure of feline toe amputation by using the term ‘declaw.'”

When using the term “declaw,” she says, client don't truly understand what happens in the procedure, and are more likely to ask to get it done on their own cats.

Using the term “toe amputation,” Dr. Downing argues, “gives us the opportunity to help them understand why we need to eliminate this barbaric procedure.”

See her take on changing terminology of the onychectomy procedure in the video below, filmed live at Fetch dvm360 conference in Kansas City.