One of the many declawing factories in America

September 2016

I received this sad note from a cat owner in Feb. 2015 about a beautiful kitty named Misty.


misty1


Dear City,

I had a vet that recommended I declaw my kitten.

It was my first cat ever, and I didn’t understand what it truly was. I was told it was like getting a nail trim, and that it was a good thing. It ended up being an up-sell to another surgery. They were trying to add procedures, to get more money.

We adopted her from the Michigan Humane Society in 2001. She was 4 months old. At her first appointment at Parkview Animal Hospital, when getting her another round of shots, I remember him (Dr Albrecht) asking if I was planning or interested in the declaw.

Misty was my very first cat. I had only grown up having dogs. I didn’t know anything about the declaw procedure, and took the advice of someone who I trusted. (Dr. Albrecht)  
 
I didn’t know not to trust him, as my family had been bringing our dogs to him for years.
After learning the truth, I was devastated that I had done that to my kitty.
 
It is still very upsetting to me.
 
Even 15 years later.
 
Thanks for all you do.

This is the invoice for Misty’s declaw in 2001 that was recommended and performed by Dr Stephen J Albrecht.

FYI, torbugesic is a very short acting analgesic and no longer used in cats for declaws. An injection for pain like that usually only lasts 20-30 minutes.

(Now an employee with Parkview Animal Hospital says they use either Buprenorphine or Metacam right after the cats wake up from the declaws and you can purchase their “Comfort Injection” which is Onsior if you want to give your cat more pain meds. According to two veterinarians, this pain management protocol still is inadequate and not enough.)

mistyinvoice1


 I wanted to find out if things have changed for the better in regards to declawing at this Parkview Animal Hospital.  This longtime AVMA vet, Dr Albrecht has pretty much retired and owns the animal hospital. Aside from the pain meds and using a laser, not much has changed in how they address declawing.

Of course declawing is a legal procedure in Michigan but it is still very important for veterinarians to be honest to their clients and to cat owners about this inhumane and mutilating procedure and to counsel them about the humane alternatives.

Here’s their information about declawing on their website. Parkview Animal Hospital

 

Screenshots from ParkviewAnimalHospital.com parkviewwebsite1


parkviewwebsiteprices


 I reached out to Parkview Animal Hospital in Michigan by numerous phone calls and emails in April 2016, and asked to speak with Dr Albrecht and one of the main doctors, Dr Purdy, both longtime AVMA vets, (they have 8 doctors) and the office manager to ask them some important questions about their declawing policy since they are clearly deceiving and lying to cat owners in Michigan about this inhumane procedure. I never received any kind of reply.

 I also had a veterinarian reach out to them to discuss these issues and they were told that the manager would call them back, but they never got a reply either.


I needed some answers since I knew hundreds of cats each year were being tortured and suffering at this animal hospital, so I had my FBI (Feline Bureau of Investigation) team reach out to them throughout the last 5 months on quite a few calls to check on declaw prices and how they address declawing to “first time cat owners.”

 Here are some of the things that employees at Parkview Animal Hospital said to them. On every single call that my FBI team made, every single person answering the phone asked if you want two or four paws.


Here is a summary of some of the things they told first time cat owners.

“Most people will just have the front claws taken out , the only time we would recommend having the rear claws removed also is there was a small baby at home or if you have leather furniture but if that isn’t an issue we would recommend the front.”

“We do several declaws a day. There is no age limit for a declaw.”

“Yep they should be ok unless it’s an outdoor cat and we don’t recommend doing it because they learned how to use their claws . I got mine declawed at 3 yrs and she was completely fine. The 4 paws is ok too? “yea that’s what I did on my cat. It’s more common to get the front ones done just because the front ones are what they claw with and tear your furniture up with but you could get all four done.”

“there’s no consequences or anything like that. Why people think it’s inhumane is just because it’s like cutting their knuckle off, which it isn’t, we’re taking the nail out of the cat and that’s where a lot of people think it’s inhumane but personally I don’t just because indoor cats don’t use their nails that much and but if it’s an outdoor cat and catches mice and all sorts of stuff like that, then yea I could see it, but indoor cats don’t use their nails much for anything.”  

“All of our doctors do 5-7 a week. They are all very good at the declaws. Laser helps healing process and reduces inflammation.”

“We don’t recommend doing it on a senior cat, 10yrs old and up, its a lot harder for them to recover but 2 yrs old is still a younger cat so your cat should do just fine and should be ok long term.”

if you notice when get the kitten home and she is clawing at your furniture, your bed, or your carpet, which is pretty typical for cats, we go ahead and do the front declaw, it’s not going to hurt them. Typically we don’t recommend doing front and back because that’s their only defense mechanism is their claws, but doing the front declaw isn’t going to harm them at all. The front declaw with spay if pretty typical.”

“No, we’ve never heard of anything (long term problems). We have had a lot of positive results from people getting their cats declawed. Usually front is more common than getting both.” When asked what does she mean by positive results. “They (cat owners) get the declaws so they don’t scratch furniture, that’s why most people get their cats declawed.

“Usually we have 1 or 2 declaws per doctor per day , sometimes we have two docs in surgery per day, on the higher end we may be doing 4 declaws per day.”



BORDER

 I reached out numerous times in April of 2016 to speak with the office manager, doctors, and the owner, Dr Stephen J. Albrecht, for this story but none of them returned my calls or emails in regards to questions for this story.

BORDER


A cat owner emailed, Dr Stephen J Albrecht, who is a long time AVMA vet, to ask him questions about declawing. Here are some of the questions.

Does Dr Albrecht recommend declawing for my cats and if so why? Cat owner is concerned about having a declaw done to their cat and the long term negative consequences and if declawed cats bite more or have arthritis or long term negative problems?
 How long will it take for them to recover from the 4 paw declaw? One of my cats is 6 months old and the other is 3 yrs old.


 Here are Dr Stephen J Albrecht’s answers.

 

Hello _ _ _ _ _,

Declawing is an elective procedure that has both advantages and disadvantages.   It is important that the declaw procedure be done properly to minimize any discomfort to the pet.   Normally the younger the pet is the more comfortable it will be after the procedure.   It is unusual for anyone how has had the declaw procedure done on their cat to say that they regretted their decision.  Some to the advantages of performing the declaw procedure are:

  1. You no longer have to trim the nails
  2. There is less risk of injury to people or other pets from the claws.
  3. You do not have to worry about the nails becoming embedded in the pads.
    1. We only see this occasionally and it is more common in older cats that are less active.

Some of the disadvantages of performing the declaw procedure are

  1. Although it is very unusual to have anyone comment that they regret they had their cat declawed it is not reversible and we cannot put the claws back.
  2. The cat may no longer be able to climb trees
  3. You do need to be careful so that the cat does not get litter in the declaw incision.
    1. (Pelleted paper litter is best while the incision is healing but  some cats will not accept it)
  4. If the cat goes outdoors it may be at a disadvantage without it’s claws

Recovery

  1. This can very a great deal from pet to pet.   Generally young cats recover much quicker than older pets.  So long as the pet is at a healthy weight lighter cats generally recover quicker than older cats.  We normally recommend performing the declaw procedure at about 3 months of age.
  2. I believe that most people who decide to have all 4 feet declawed usually do all 4 at the same time.   Some people do the front first and decide to do the rear later but then you have two procedures and 2 recoveries.

Arthritis + Potential Problem Response

  1. The claw and the bone that is attached to it are non-weight bearing.   I do not believe the declaw procedure would either prevent or cause arthritis.
  2. It is important to both keep the incisions clean and also encourage the pet to use the litter box so it does not develop bad habits.   You do need to keep the litter box clean and close to the pet during the recovery period so the pet does not develop a habit of going outside of the litter box

General Comments:

  1. We cannot guarantee results for any procedure and all cats are individuals which makes it hard to give exact answers.
  2. I would recommend that you make your decision as soon as possible and then either go forward or keep the claws.
  3. It is a personal decision.
    1. Most people who declaw their first cat will declaw any new cats the get.
    2.  Most people who do not believe cats should be declawed will always believe that cats should not be declawed.

Hope that helps.

Sincerely,

Dr. Albrecht


Here’s the info from all the calls that my FBI team made and the details.

 
 
 
 

Employee 1– Checked to get a price for declaw for 9 months or 4 yrs. Asked if you just want the front feet done.

What do you recommend since I wasn’t sure. “Most people will just have the front claws taken out , the only time we would recommend having the rear claws removed also is there was a small baby at home or if you have leather furniture but if that isn’t an issue we would recommend the front.”

Said they have a nice leather chair in the house.

She said, “well then you might want to have the rears taken out also otherwise that chair could get ruined.”

They said they only do it with a laser. It’s $208 for all four and if your kitty is over 5 lbs, it’s an additional $2 per pound for anesthesia and if you do front and rear then they will send home with pain meds depending on how much they weigh and that’s $20 -$30.

They said there is no age limit for declaws and there are no long term issues but the older cat will take a longer time to heal. Younger cat 2-4 weeks and older around 2 months. No long term consequences or negative effects they say.

Asked if their docs are skilled at declaws. “Oh all of our doctors are, we do several declaws a day so all of them would be perfectly qualified to do a declaw. Traditional way would be they take a scalpel blade to remove the claws and we use a laser beam and after it removes the claw it cauterizes, seals the nerves so there is less bleeding and so they heal faster.”

 

Employee 2-  Asked about getting a 3 and 4 yr old cat declawed 4 paw declawed. With laser and comfort injection for 4 paw ranges from $201 to 211. Is there an age limit? “If they are over 6 yrs old we do fluids on them and we run blood work to make sure they are able to go under anesthetic and a quick exam to make sure they are healthy enough to go under.”

Asked about it being humane and ok to do to a cat. “Yep they should be ok unless it’s an outdoor cat and we don’t recommend doing it because they learned how to use their claws . I got mine declawed at 3 yrs and she was completely fine.

The 4 paw declaw is ok too? “Yea that’s what I did on my cat. It’s more common to get the front ones done just because the front ones are what they claw with and tear your furniture up with but you could get all four down.” Why did you do all four paws? People get it done for all sorts of things. A lot of people get it done for their furniture and everything like that. I got it done just because I have kids at home and I don’t want them scratching everything and them just because cat scratches can turn into serious things.”

Are there long term consequences or is it inhumane? “There’s no consequences or anything like that. Why people think it’s inhumane is just because it’s like cutting their knuckle off, which it isn’t, we’re taking the nail out of the cat and that’s where a lot of people think it’s inhumane but personally I don’t just because indoor cats don’t use their nails that much and but if it’s an outdoor cat and catches mice and all sorts of stuff like that, then yea I could see it, but indoor cats don’t use their nails much for anything.”   .
Employee 1 said- “All of our doctors do 5-7 a week. They are all very good at the declaws. Laser helps healing process and reduces inflammation.

 

Employee 3- Asked about getting a 2 yr old cat declawed- “Were you going to have just the front feet done?” When you ask if declawing will harm your cat they said, “It’s best to do the declaw when they are 12 weeks old, your cat is considered an older cat so it will take a month or two for the paws to heal up but they will be ok.”  Asked if they have skilled doctors for declaws,  “They all have done many. That’s a routine surgery here all the docs have done hundreds of them. We do several declaws a day. We have 8 doctors and they all have had plenty of experience doing declaw surgeries and are all excellent at it. Any of them would do great at it.

When you ask if your cat will be ok from the declaw long term. “We don’t recommend doing it on a senior cat, 10yrs old and up, its a lot harder for them to recover but 2 yrs old is still a younger cat so your cat should do just fine and should be ok long term.

Usually we have 1 or 2 declaws per doctor per day , sometimes we have two docs in surgery per day, on the higher end we may be doing 4 declaws per day.

Employee 4 – Said they were adopting a kitten and it needed a spay and is there anything else that should be done while they are under anesthesia. “that’s up to you, a lot of people like to do the declaw while they are under so they don’t have to go under anesthetic twice. Just knock both surgeries out.”

When you ask if that’s ok to do and if the vets recommend it. She said “if you notice when get the kitten home and she is clawing at your furniture, your bed, or your carpet, which is pretty typical for cats, we go ahead and do the front declaw, it’s not going to hurt them. Typically we don’t recommend doing front and back because that’s their only defense mechanism is their claws, but doing the front declaw isn’t going to harm them at all. The front declaw with spay if pretty typical.”

Employee 5 – Asked if there are any long term negative consequences to declawing. “No, we’ve never heard of anything. We have had a lot of positive results from people getting their cats declawed. Usually front is more common than getting both.” When asked what does she mean by positive results. “They (cat owners) get the declaws so they don’t scratch furniture, that’s why most people get their cats declawed.”

 


These are declawed cat toe bones and claws. They are from a cat that was declawed at an AAHA veterinary hospital in Georgia. The vet made $40.75 for each toe bone and claw in the declaw procedure.

ToeBones


Please help us end declawing by finding a no declaw vet to take your pets to. There are lists of these ethical and humane no-declaw vets at declaw.com, pawproject.org, and citythekitty.com

This evil and dark chapter in the American veterinary profession MUST end since around 2 million cats a year are having to go through this inhumane and mutilating procedure.

Around 80% of veterinarians in America are profitting from this horrific, evil, and unnecessary procedure.


 

AS USUAL I MUST REMIND YOU OF THIS DISCLAIMER.

Please don’t threaten anyone involved with these stories. We must do the right thing and take the high road and be respectful.  It is wrong to threaten them in any way plus they will twist things around and play the victim. We know that the only victims are all the kitties that are being unnecessarily and cruelly declawed. We MUST continue to shine light on this cause and share all of these stories so that we show the truth about what is going on.

We MUST continue to educate cat owners who are being deceived by these pro-declaw veterinarians and veterinary professionals and who are NOT being told about how declawing is mutilating amputations, not good for the health and well being of their cats, how it is inhumane and very painful, and how there are ALWAYS humane alternatives that they can use instead of declawing.  Soft paws, scratching posts, nail trims, and deterrents are ALL better than declawing and they work!

The way that we make positive change is through peaceful and respectful actions and words. When you lash out and are threatening, it hurts our important cause and makes us all look bad, and in turn saves less kitties from this very cruel and inhumane procedure they call declawing.