Update Oct. 2018
When a researcher posing as a first time cat owner calls for a price for a spay/declaw at Purdue Small Animal Hospital, the employee asks, “are you doing just front declaw or all four declaw?”
The spay/4 paw declaw is $500-$600. They do both methods of declawing, scalpel and laser and laser declaw is around $100 more. The researcher asked for the most skilled vet for the declaw and the employee said Dr Corriveau does the declaws through their Community Practice Dept. The employee said that Dr Corriveau is very skilled at the declaw and said ” she does those all the time.”
The researcher asked if the laser is better and the employee said that she had to have the “front done” on her cat and Dr Corriveau did the laser declaw for her cat and her cat “did excellent.” The employee said it’s worth the extra $100.
The employee said that you can just bring in the vaccine paperwork and drop the cat off for the procedures and pick the cat up the next day. When asked how long does the recovery take the employee said that the first day he was all bandaged but after that he was “walking a little gingerly but he was fine, but a couple days later he was running and jumping and playing. The researcher asked if their cat would be ok long term and the employee said that she has had no issues with her declawed cat.
When asked why the laser declaw is better, the employee said it is less pain and less blood loss.
Photo of laser declawed cat toe bones and claws posted on Instagram by a veterinary professional. (The cat toes were not declawed at Purdue Veterinary Wellness Clinic)
I’ve heard that Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine doesn’t include feline declaw surgery in their clinical curriculum at all. Students are not taught how to do it, they don’t include this surgery in their “junior surgery” class where models are often used, and it is not performed in their hospital.
The UK’s Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons equates declawing with “mutilation.”
Purdue Veterinary Wellness Clinic says they do “pain free declaws” with their CO2 laser. They tell cat owners that declawing with a laser is “very non-invasive.”
Here is the declawing info that Purdue College of Veterinary Medicine has on their website. (I was unable to find anything that educates cat owners about what declawing entails or about the humane alternatives and scratching behavior in cats.)
They even recommend Purina’s Yesterday’s News litter. Declawing Aftercare Info from Purdue Veterinary College
Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine even suggests the declaw option to their “Kitten’s Wellness Visits” on their 5th visit on this PDF on their website. Purdue Veterinary College Declaw Info
In order to find out the way that they address declawing, the Purdue Wellness Clinic/Small Animal Hospital was called by investigators posing as a cat owner (most commonly a first time cat owner) who was adopting a young kitten and needed it spay or neutered. Some of cat owners also asked about getting an older cat declawed. The “cat owner” had concerns about the declawing procedure and asked for a vet who was skilled at declawing. The “cat owner” asked if it was a regular and routine procedure that the vet does.
The hospital said that they just require a note from your vet to make sure your cat is up to date on its shots before they can do the declaws.
We have withheld the names of employees for fear that they might suffer a backlash for their honest answers.
Purdue Small Animal Hospital only has two vets that will declaw cats. Dr Corriveau does the laser declaws and Dr Rochat does the “regular declaws.” (with a scalpel) Scalpel declaws are around $200 and a laser declaw is around $325.
When asked why the others vets won’t do declaws, employees at the hospital said, “because the other vets don’t agree with it.” Another employee said that the other vets, “feel it’s harmful to a cat.”
Dr Corriveau does the laser declaws and employees at the hospital say that “she does those a lot” and another employee said that she does declaws “quite often.”
3 employees at the hospital stated that Dr Corriveau’s laser declaw is the pain free way.
When asked if Dr Corriveau ever has complications with her declaws, one employee said, “Not normally. The laser is very non-invasive and that’s the best way to do it.” Another employee said the laser declaw is the “less invasive” way.
On one call, the “cat owner” asked to get their 8 month old and 1 1/2 yr old cat declawed. As far as the aftercare, one employee said that the 8 month old kitten only needs to use Yesterday’s News cat litter for two days, but the older cat, 1 1/2 yrs old, they recommended using it for a little bit longer because there are sutures involved because they are full grown and there is more weight on the paws. They said that you would have to buy the Yesterday’s News because they don’t carry it there.
One employee was asked if the kitten would be ok after a declaw and if it was inhumane. The employee said it was a decision that the cat owner would have to make but that the laser is a lot more humane then the old way, and said kitten would be ok.
NONE OF THE EMPLOYEES AT THE PURDUE SMALL ANIMAL HOSPITAL MENTIONED THE HUMANE ALTERNATIVES OR THAT DECLAWING WAS BAD FOR YOUR CAT.
I REACHED OUT TO DR CORRIVEAU IN AN EMAIL TO ASK HER ABOUT HER “PAIN FREE DECLAWS” AND WHY PURDUE VETERINARY COLLEGE HAS NO INFORMATION ABOUT THE HUMANE ALTERNATIVES TO DECLAWING AND OTHER QUESTIONS, BUT RECEIVED NO REPLY.
Here is a recent story with an ethical no-declaw veterinarian who says there is no such thing as a “pain free declaw.” Here is the link to the full story. Pro-Claw vet Dr Raina Weldon