Surgical Policies

For info on our general policies visit If Your Pet Needs Surgery

For more information on the background of the following specific decisions go to CVMA

The following is modified to Beechwood Animal Hospital from the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association policies as directed in the above link.

 

Declawing of Cats

At Beechwood Animal Hospital we discourage the declawing of cats. We take time to educate clients on how to  perform regular nail trims, and to provide safe opportunities in the home to help cats to take care of their own nails (scratching posts-vertical and horizontal- and cat trees).  Nail covers can also be purchased. Proper cat handling and training can avoid most nail related problems. You should be aware that the declawing of cats may soon be illegal, for any reason, as is the case in the United Kingdom, some states in the USA and in New Brunswick.

We recommend declaws be done with our electrosurgical unit to decrease pain and speed healing.

Electrosurgery – Vetroson V-10 Bipolar Electrosurgical Unit

This is a surgical unit that has 4 basic electrical currents of radio frequency (also called radiosurgery).  Mostly it is used for simultaneous coagulation and cutting for close to bloodless surgery. It can be used solely for coagulation, cutting or furguration ( a current for destroying warts, small tumors or for debriding of diseased tissue spaces).   It is particularly indicated in surgery of removing vascular tumors and for declawing cats (generally discouraged procedure at Beechwood A.H. by any method).  It allows bloodless declawing of cats without the use of tourniquets, fine cutting control to avoid pad injuries with minimal collateral tissue damage (like CO2 Laser )and good bridging by granulation tissue (better than CO2 Laser) (from JAVMA 2010 Nov-Dec:46(6)375-384). This should lead to better/ faster healing and less pain compared to conventional methods.

Declawing of domestic cats should be considered only after attempts have been made to prevent the cat from using its claws destructively, when declawing presents a zoonotic risk for its owner(s) – disease transmission through scratches to immunocompromised patients, or to prevent scratches in geriatric or disabled patients. CVMA declaw

Tail Docking Puppies

At Beechwood Animal Hospital we discourage the tail docking of puppies.  If puppies were born with tails they should have tails.  That is the way it was supposed to be.  Any other reason is simply the human’s desire to modify a pet’s looks for human enjoyment.  There are breeding association/ club and dog show requirements that interfere and pressure us to have tail docking performed. We encourage our clients to join the trend setting group promoting animal rights and refuse having it done.

Tail docking of puppies will only be done within the first 5 days of life, and only to those puppies that are strong and nursing well.  Be aware that no anaesthetic is used since it is too dangerous for young pups, and giving a local anaesthetic is more painful than the actual quick cut (judging by the amount of crying that occurs).  Two absorbable sutures are generally placed.   Requests at any other age must be carried out under general anaesthesia and is much more expensive.  Unlike ear cropping below, the pain associated with the procedure seems short lived and complications are uncommon.

Ear cropping (making the ear stand upright)

At Beechwood Animal Hospital we do not perform ear croppings. For similar reasons as for tail docking we feel it is an inhumane unnecessary procedure.  It can only be done when the pet is at least 6 weeks of age. At this time they need a general anaesthesia and will have quite sore ears after the procedure.  You can have bleeding problems, poor wound healing, ear margin and external ear infections as well as general discomfort and pain post-surgery.  All for the look!  Unfortunately as more and more vets refuse doing the procedure the black market with non-veterinarians may likely be increasing.

Spaying Pets

We encourage the spaying of pet dogs and cats.  Spaying of dogs and cats can prevent mammary cancer, uterine infections (pyometra, metritis), reproductive cancers (ovaries, cervix etc.) and prevents unwanted pregnancies, the attraction of males and heat signs. Spaying dogs before their first heat almost completely eliminates the chance of developing mammary cancers. In Cats mammary cancers are very malignant, but in dogs they tend mostly to just be aggressive locally early on.  Dogs in heat attract male dogs, and bleed from their vaginas for around 9 days, before their true heat begins, when they allow breeding.  In cats they tend to have very variable cycles that are seasonal, and they tend to be very vocal and excessively affectionate during their heat periods.

Generally we follow the recommendation of the humane societies and recommend spaying for these medical reasons and to prevent pet overpopulation.  We encourage you to adopt a pet from the humane society to help decrease pet euthanasia and to discourage buying from sources that may buy from puppy mills.  Animals are generally treated very inhumanely at puppy mills – poor hygiene, parasite infestations and viral diseases.  Thousands of healthy pets are euthanized each year at humane societies due to over-crowding and not enough people available for adoption.

There is a tendency for some pets to gain weight after spaying and neutering.  It is strongly recommended that you decrease the amount of food given after neutering and be more vigilant of early signs of gaining too many pounds. (The ribs should be easily felt but not seen, not too much shoulder fat and there should be a good waste indentation. In cats the ribs and the abdominal fat are important to look at).

Neutering Pets

We encourage the neutering of pet dogs and cats.    Neutering of dogs and cats is mainly done to prevent over population of our pet animals, however there are some behavioural and medical reasons to consider this procedure.   In dogs, when they are unneutered, they can develop prostates and prostatic cancers, anal tumours, prepuce infections, transmissible venereal tumour and uncommonly testicular tumours. Only the anal sac tumours may have more of an increased incidence post neuter.  Dogs tend to roam less (‘run away’), hump less people’s legs. and inter-male aggression at dog parks  is lessened..

In cats the problem is mainly urine spraying around the house when kept unneutered, 90% of spraying tom cats stop once neutered.  Male cats also tend to be much more territorial leading to cat fighting and associated cat abscesses and cellulitis.  Viral transmission of AIDS and Feline leukemia is higher in intact male cats. These intact males transfer these viruses when they get into fights with any outdoor cat.

Generally we follow the recommendation of the humane societies and recommend neutering for these medical/ behavioural reasons and to prevent pet overpopulation.  We encourage you to adopt a pet from the humane society to help decrease pet euthanasia and to discourage buying from sources that may buy from puppy mills.  Animals are generally treated very inhumanely at puppy mills – poor hygiene, parasite infestations and viral diseases.  Thousands of healthy pets are euthanized each year at humane societies due to over-crowding and not enough people available for adoption.

There is a tendency for some pets to gain weight after spaying and neutering.  It is strongly recommended that you decrease the amount of food given after neutering and be more vigilant of early signs of gaining too many pounds. (The ribs should be easily felt but not seen, not too much shoulder fat and there should be a good waste indentation. In cats the ribs and the abdominal fat are important to look at).

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