Are declawing veterinarians contributing to more COVID-19 deaths? Read this story.

Photo of a cat that was posted on Instagram on March 25th. (Fair use.)

 

March 27, 2020

There are around 26,000 veterinary practices in America.

Around 21,000 of these practices declaw cats.

Most of these declawing vet practices are still using much needed PPE (masks, gloves, and gowns) to declaw cats and perform elective procedures despite national efforts to conserve this protective medical gear and despite the calls from the AVMA, state veterinary associations, healthcare organizations,  hospitals, and state officials, to cease all routine surgeries and services.

These declawing vets are putting profits first and are also defying nationwide pleas for sheltering in place by allowing their clients to come to their clinics for these elective, non-therapeutic procedures.

These declawing vets are using precious PPE to declaw cats and this cruelty towards cats could contribute to more COVID-19 deaths.

This selfish behavior risks infection with Covid19 in their staff, clients, and worst of all, hospital workers who are in desperate need of these limited resources.

Declawing vets are now part of the problem, and this time the problem not only will destroy cats’ lives, it has the potential to kill thousands and thousands of humans.

The AVMA sent a note to all their veterinary members that said this. “Veterinary practices can and should defer elective procedures to preserve medical supplies when circumstances call for that.”  AVMA COVID 19

Most of the state veterinary associations sent a note to their members asking them to follow this advice from the AVMA.


Here’s one of the many examples of how declawing vets are putting profits over the lives of cats and now over the lives of human beings.

As of March 26th, all of the veterinary practices of the Arkansas Veterinary Medical Association’s leaders, are still performing elective procedures, including declawing, except for one clinic.  Dr Marlow Ball’s, VP of the ArkVMA, SoMa Animal Clinic and House Calls is not performing elective surgeries and is a no-declaw clinic. Dr Marlow Ball’s no-declaw vet practice


How our investigation began.

We were sent this screenshot of a photo of a cat that was posted on Instagram on March 25th and the caption said, “Our sweet baby boy Mr.C aka Cotton has no clue what’s going to happen to him today. #declawed&neuter #rescuecat #catsofinstagram” and Vilonia Animal Clinic in Arkansas was tagged.

The co-owner veterinarian of Vilonia Animal Clinic in Conway, Arkansas, is Dr Paul Jenkins. Dr Jenkins is the President of the Arkansas Veterinary Medical Association.

According to a post on Dr Jenkin’s Vilonia Animal clinic’s facebook and Instagram pages, one of the services that they are suspending is nail trims.

 

Here’s that facebook post.

Our researchers made a cold call to Vilonia Animal Clinic on March 26th to ask them if they are still performing elective surgeries, including neuter/declaw procedures and they said yes.

An employee at Vilonia Animal Clinic said their two doctors successfully do declaws on a regular basis, there’s a discount if you get a declaw with a neuter, and each doctor uses a different method, either a scalpel or a clipper.


We reached out to the Arkansas Veterinary Medical Association Arkansas Veterinary Medcial Assoc. Website on March 26th and asked them this.

The AVMA recommended that veterinary practices defer elective procedures to preserve the much needed medical supplies. Many veterinary associations like the Michigan VMA followed the same path. Did the ArVMA give the same recommendation to their members? If so, when? Thanks.

 
We received a response from their Executive Director, who asked us to not use her name for this story without her permission, so we will leave out her name.
 
Here is the reply from the Arkansas Veterinary Medical Association’s Executive Director.
“Thank you for your question. We follow the guidance of the AVMA. We proceed daily on the information from the Arkansas Department of Health, AVMA, CDC and other agencies. We are monitoring the situation here and staying in communication with our members.

Most veterinarians here in AR are already limiting surgeries to emergencies to preserve PPE. At this time, which is just today (because it changes daily/hourly) we have not issued that directly to veterinarians. 

Tomorrow we will be collecting data, via a survey, on what supplies veterinarians in AR have that could be donated. 

Could I ask why you want this information?

(Her name)
Executive Director”
 
We told the Exec. Director of the Arkansas Veterinary Medical Association that we are  doing a story about how veterinarians are addressing this crisis since they routinely use PPE.
 
We asked her, “How did you come up with the info that most vets in Arkansas are limiting surgeries?
 

The Exec. Director’s reply was, “I know because I’m in contact with our district leaders.”


We did a quick cold call survey of the vet practices of the Arkansas Veterinary Medical Association’s Board of Directors and district leaders on March 27th and March 30th and asked them if they are still performing elective procedures including neuter/ spay/declaws.

We found that 12 of the practices where the Board of Directors/District leaders of the Arkansas VMA work are performing elective procedures during this crisis. Only one of them isn’t performing elective procedures.

(We also called 6 random vet practices in the Little Rock area and 5 out of 6 are still performing elective procedures, including declaws.)


Here’s the veterinarian leader who not only is putting the lives of cats first by never declawing cats at her clinic, but she is also doing her part to help save human lives and is helping to end this COVID-19 crisis.

Vice President, Dr Marlow Ball, SoMa Animal Clinic and House Calls. The employee said that they aren’t doing elective procedures at this time because of the AVMA’s recommendation and said it’s because the medical supplies that they use are needed in medical hospitals.

Dr Marlow Ball also does not perform declaws at her practice. The employee said that it’s a big, invasive procedure and Dr Ball does not perform them.

Here are couple posts about this on Dr Ball’s facebook page.


 


 

Here are the ones that said they are still performing elective procedures.

Trustee, District 1, Dr Beth Stropes, Crossover Veterinary Clinic. The employee said they are still doing neuter/declaws. They said that Dr Stropes does declaws and a neuter/declaw is $280.

Trustee, District 2, Dr Sarah Shendenhelm, Baxter County Animal Clinic. The employee said they are still doing neuter/declaws and asked, “Are we just doing the front?”  They said that Dr Shendenhelm does declaws. A 4 paw declaw/neuter is $151 and the employee said, “We do declaws all the time.”

Trustee, District 3, Dr Everett Rogers, Jonesboro Family Pet Hospital. This is an AAHA hospital with AAFP and Fear Free Certified members.  The employee said that they are still doing neuter/declaws and asked, “Do you want 2 or all 4 paw?”  The employee said all their doctors do declaws except for Dr Danielle Barnes. They said that she prefers not to do them. A neuter/4 paw declaw is $333.

—–

 

Trustee, District VI, Steven Ward, Ward Veterinary Clinic. (Dr Steven Ward sold this clinic in Nov. 2019 to Dr Brennan Pitard and it’s now called Pitard Animal Clinic.) The employee said they are still doing neuter/declaws and asked, “are you just wanting to do the front?” An all 4 paw declaw is $250.

Trustee, District VI Alt, Dr Loyd Nall, Animal Medical Clinic.  The employee said they are still doing neuter/declaws, Dr Nall has been a vet for 40 years and does the declaws, and a declaw is $200.

Trustee, District VII, Dr John Poirrier, Town & Country Veterinary Hospital. The employee said that they are still doing elective procedures and a declaw is $72.50. They said that Dr Poirrier uses a sharp toe nail trimmer for the declaws and gets as much off as he can. The employee said they are booked up until April 14th.

Trustee, District VIII, Dr Allan Breckenridge, Bald Knob Vet Clinic.  The employee said they are still doing elective procedures and asked if you want all four feet. A 4 paw declaw is $155.

AVMA Delegate/Board of Directors,  Dr Lindy O’Neal, Animal Medical Center.  The employee said they are still doing neuter/declaws and asked, “Do you want front or all four?” It’s $450 for an all four paw declaw. They said, “let us know if you want to get it scheduled.”

AVMA Delegate, Dr Laura Lynch, Eastside Animal Hospital. The employee said they are still doing neuter/declaws and Dr Robertson is the one who does them and asked if you want to schedule it.

Past President, Dr Natalie Cooper Towns, works at Honey Hill Animal Hospital.  The employee said they are still doing neuters/declaws and it’s $270 for a 4 paw declaw. When asked if they have a skilled surgeon who performs the declaws, they said that all three of their vets do them and it’s not a complicated surgery.

President Elect,  Dr Jerry Miller, Veterinary Healthcare Clinic.  The employee said that they are doing elective surgeries including spay/declaws which are $254. Dr Miller is one of the vets who performs the declaws.


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HERE’S ANOTHER STORY TO SHOW YOU HOW MANY DECLAWING VET PRACTICES ARE CONTRIBUTING TO THIS CRISIS. Declawing vets contributing to the COVID19 Crisis