List of Shame - by State Contributions From our Readers
These hacks don't even follow AVMA guidelines - See for yourself!
John August, DVM College Station, TX - “When pet owners ask how old the cat should be before undergoing a declawing procedure, I like to tell them the younger the better," August says, "I recommend between 3 and 4 months old." This is an unusual position considering it comes from a faculty member of a veterinary college (Texas A&M) and a British-trained vet (The British veterinary association describes declawing as a form of "mutilation.") Dr. August's amputate-first-and-ask-questions-later thinking ignores the American Veterinary Medical Association's position on declawing, which includes the statement: "Scratching is a normal feline behavior....Owners must provide suitable implements for normal scratching behavior. Cats should be positively reinforced in the use of these implements. Appropriate claw care (consisting of trimming the claws every 1 to 2 weeks) should be provided to prevent injury or damage to household items....Surgical declawing is not a medically necessary procedure for the cat in most cases...(and) there are inherent risks and complications with any surgical procedure including, but not limited to, anesthetic complications, hemorrhage, infection, and pain."
Kevin Ketring, DVM Cincinnati, OH - a veterinarian at College Hill Pet Clinic, ignores AVMA guidelines and is quoted in the Cincinnatti Enquirer saying, "To allow the cat to have a wonderful house inside the home, the best way to go is to get a proper declawing,"
Denise Dietsch, DVM St. Louis, MO - This veterinarian was quoted in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch saying, "cat toes aren't comparable to human toes....I myself have no objection to declawing," she said. "I've done it to my own cats." She might be right about one thing. Cat toes AREN'T like human toes...they are more like human FINGERS.
Wendy Feaga, DVM Ellicott City, MD - is quoted in the Journal of the American VeterinaryAssociation (JAVMA), "I encourage the veterinary community to reexamine the procedure of declawing ... and recommend the procedure be preformed on 14-week-old kittens."
Steven G. Renard, DVM Hamilton, IL - In a letter to the editor in JAVMA, Dr. Renard wrote, "(A cat) should be declawed in all four feet at a very young age. The resulting pet will be more loving, more of a companion, and less a danger to humans."
John Parker, DVM Novi,MI - Another JAVMA letter-to-the -editor hothead, Dr. Parker believes that his veterinary colleagues who wish to end declawing are in the "PETA left-wing extremist camp." He adds, "Animal rights activists seem to have difficulty with logic and consistency when espousing their position....Poorly thought out, knee-jerk reactions by activists who hold their own agenda are an embarrassment to the rest of us..."
Thomas Reed, DVM and Christopher Galbreath, DVM Bargersville, IN - After working so hard to get into vet school, these vets end up hawking discount vet services on the internet. Examples: "Feline Front Declaw $74.00, Feline Front and Rear Declaw $96.00." What is really disturbing is the package deal, "Feline Spay and Front Declaw $132.00." In the vet biz, this is known as "supersizing" a spay.
Oak Springs Veterinary Diagnostic Hospital Austin, TX - The vets at Oak Springs Veterinary Diagnostic Hospital have earned their place in the hallowed Hall of Shame with their opinions that are quite removed not only from those of compassionate human beings, but also from the AVMA guidelines. Examples: "Even relatively nonagressive cats indulging in play scratching can cause serious injuries. Cats sharpen their front claws by scratching inanimate objects resulting in damage to furniture, rugs, and draperies. Declawing your cat's front feet eliminates the need to cause this damage. Declawing is a very safe procedure. It does does not affect cats' walking ability or balance. Can cats go outside after being declawed? Yes. Cats primarily defend themselves with their back claws and teeth. Declawed cats can climb trees, catch birds and mice, and adequately defend themselves under normal circumstances."
Julie Wickel, DVM, Kim Raess, DVM, Paula Ramsey, DVM, and Roger Terrel, DVM Pearland, TX - At Claws and Paws Veterinary Hospital, Dr. Wickel and her colleagues write: "Declawing is probably the single most important surgical procedure (other than neutering/spaying) that will help insure a satisfactory relationship between the cat and its owner. Declawing is recommended on all cats that spend 50% or more of their life in the house. Declawing does NOT make a cat defenseless. The primary fighting tools of the cat are the BACK FEET not the front feet! Declawed cats are still able to climb trees to escape from possible dangers."
Tracy Wight, DVM, Marnie Duplissis, DVM and Karen Claus, DVM Tempe, AZ - At McClintock Animal Care, these vets write, "declawing is performed under general sedation and consists of surgical removal of the nail bed." They neglect to mention that, along with the nail bed, the toe bone is removed. The doctors also tell us, "Scratching with the front claws is normal, instinctive behavior for cats. This behavior is normal, but unfortunately can be destructive and costly in the house. For many cat owners, declawing is the only solution." Your clients must think it is the "only solution" since you don't bother discussing behavioral training.
Tim Howell, DVM and Sara Bradley, DVM Indianapolis, IN - The Cat Care Clinic lists declaw surgery, to be performed at "3-6 Months," on its Vaccination and Wellness Schedule. That doesn't leave much time for training or behavioral modification?
Mark Graves, DVM, Sandor Gal, DVM, and Shelly Zacharias, DVM Indianapolis, IN - At Log Cabin Animal Hospital, you can get declawing (front or all-four) as listed on their "menu" of services on their website. But if you click on Behavioral Training, the webpage is "under construction." However, you CAN get Pulsating Magnetotherapy for your pet. According to the website Pulsating Magnetotherapy cures sinus infections, reduces depression, shrinks enlarged prostates ... it does everything, it seems, but re-grow claws.
Jay S. Kumaran, BVSc, MS Fort Wayne, IN - The first sign of trouble is the name of the clinic, Allpet Hospital & Laser Surgery Center. Sounds like somebody got a new toy. The website claims, "Laser Declawing is arguably the most humane and effective way to declaw cats!" Well, we'd be happy to argue with you, Dr. Jay. The site has multiple mentions of declawing and NOTHING on proper training.
Myra Jones, DVM and Alice Johns, DVM Indianapolis, IN - The doctors at The Cat Doctor write on their website, "Although many animal welfare organizations strongly discourage declawing, some pet owners have their cats declawed in order to avoid having to give up their pets." As one of our readers has pointed out, they fail to mention that inappropriate urination and aggression (MUCH more common reasons for "giving up" a pet) are often related to declawing, and there is NO mention of ways to prevent scratching on their website. It only promotes declawing.
Edward Tritt, DVM and Lorrie Tritt, DVM Tecumseh, MI - At Tecumseh Veterinary Hospital, they have a "Kitten Discount Plan" that gives clients a 15% discount on declaw surgery if paid at the first visit - when the kitten is only a few weeks old. As they put it, "You win because the bill is payed (sic) ahead." Why bother with behavioral training or nail clipping?
Ron Bachman, DVM and Jena Hirschbein, DVM Hesperia, CA - Victor Valley Animal Hospital has a disturbing website coupon for a $75 front declaw - just "print this page and bring it in to receive these great values!"
Dr. Marvin Mackey of Animal Birth Control Los Angeles, CA - This high volume, low cost clinic has a decent-sounding mission: to make spaying and neutering accessible for more animals. But the website's helpful hints on scratching behavior hide the true feelings of owner, Dr. Marvin Mackey, who wrote in the local Pet Press that declawing saves lives and that behavior training is largely futile.
Owings Mills Animal and Bird Hospital Owings Mills, MD - Dr. Slovon would have you believe that he is the king of "The Guilt-Free Laser Declaw." "Yes, it does cost a bit more, but it is worth it!" If you have a strong stomach, you can even see actual images of the procedure.
Accu-Vet Pet Lasers - Here’s the marketing plan…sell the vet a $50,000 dollar piece of equipment; then make him figure out a way to pay for it. The vet now has 50,000 more reasons to want to declaw your cat.
Rod Hartwick, DVM Chesapeake, VA - Doc Hartwick of Island Wharf Veterinary Clinic is now retired, but in his prime he insisted on being called the Father of the Laser Declaw Procedure (LDP). Maybe they'll write that on his tombstone.
Laser Les - We're not sure just who the hell Loser Les is, but his (Dis)Information on Declawing of Cats website is hilarious - in a pathetic sort of way. All of these laser declaw sites make the claim that laser declawing is less painful, even though all published scientific papers show it is as painful or more painful.
William Powell, DVM Coos Bay, OR - Discount De-Claws...only $65. The only thing worse than a pimp is a cheap pimp.
Ron Hines, DVM - This cybervet offers online consultations and will even prescibe medications that he can happily ship to you. About problem scratching, Dr. Hines writes, "I have never used the adhesive nail guards that are available on the market. But I imagine that they would be an awkward, expensive and psychologically traumatic solution to this problem." He thinks declawing is a nifty solution, though. We guess giving Soft Paws a try would be too much of a bother to even try...right, Dr. Hines? You obviously prefer the physically traumatic solution.
Wolf Merrick Animal Hospital Kenosha, WI - Drs. Scott Petereit and Richard Hendrickson tell us, "Your cat does not need the use of its claws indoors." That says it all.
Ray Habermann, DVM Dawsonville, GA - Dr. Haberman at Foothills Veterinary Clinic says he has "had to declaw cats because owners were diabetic, or immunocompromised (HIV positive) and a scratch would cause serious problems." Dr. Habermann, do you think your veterinary degree give you insight on how to treat human disease. Wouldn't teeth (bites) and feces also be a source of pathogens? How do you deal with that? Dental extractions and a cork in the anus? Why not follow CDC and US Public Health Service recommendations and just advise your immunocompromised clients to use common-sense precautions like regular nail trimming ... and perhaps Soft Paws?
Ronald E. Whitford, DVM Clarkesville, TN - Dr. Whitford has a travelling practice-management show for audiences of veterinarians eager to "increase profitabilty". He claims, "Telemarketing occurs every time you answer the phone!" and offers a sample declaw telemarketing script for animal clinic staff to better "sell" declawing.
David T. Roen, DVM Clarkston, WA - Dr. Roen of Clarkston Veterinary Clinic delivers homespun and unscientific, and opinions in a weekly column. He dismisses declaw alternatives such as Soft Paws as a nusance, calls delawing a "minor procedure" ("the cat will be a little sore for as long as a month or more" - that's minor?), and claims "there are a small minority of people who feel strongly that declawing should be banned" (a small minority?...about 75% in a 2003 Cat Fancy magazine poll said they would approve outlaawing declawing).
Martin L. Schwartz, DVM Los Angeles, CA - Dr. Schwartz of Park La Brea Veterinary Care nearly foams at the mouth when he hears that some people would like to ban declawing. They're "humaniacs" he writes in a letter he wanted to be published as a press release. In the same letter he asks rhetorically what the fuss is all about...after all, declawing is just the "removal of the germinal matrix of the nail." Maybe it's time for some continuing education, Marty! The AVMA (and everybody else) thinks it's an amputation.
Adel Fahmy, DVM Chatworth, CA - We got a number of requests to list Dr. Fahmy of Devonshire Animal Hospital ... so we will comply with those wishes. Dr. Fahmy indeed declaws ... according to his receptionist. What particularly galled the readers of this webpage is that Dr. Fahmy once worked for a compassionate and humane vet in Santa Monica, and his clients believed he would follow the same practice philosophy. He didn't. Welcome to the Hall of Shame, doctor.