Story published in December 2022.
Did National Veterinary Associates (NVA) Let The Only Declawing Veterinarian on their Medical Advisory Board Write Their Official Declawing Position that was sent to all their clinics in July 2022? NVA is the biggest veterinary group company in America. Here’s our 2021 story about NVA and declawing. https://citythekitty.org/nvas-mission-is-to-improve-the-comfort-well-being-of-animals-why-are-many-nva-practices-declawing-cats/
Isn’t this a conflict of interest if a veterinarian is making money from declawing and is on NVA’s Medical Advisory Board and was part of making NVA’s declawing policy?
Four months after NVA sent their Feline Declaw Info and Resource Guide to their practices that said declawing should not be performed unless it benefits the cat, this NVA Medical Advisory Board veterinarian’s practice in Crest Hill, Illinois is still providing declawing services and she is one of two vets at the practice who performs declaws according to two employees who work there.
Yet NVA told us that they told their practices that they do not support declawing and it should not be performed.
NVA’s Medical Advisory Board consists of 8 veterinarians.
Since their Medical Advisory Board set this declawing policy, we wanted to see how the practices of these Medical Advisory Board veterinarians address declawing. In April of 2021 and December of 2022 our researchers made a short phone call to ask for the cost of a neuter/spay/declaw, if they do them regularly, and if declawing is ok long term for a cat.
We have withheld the names of employees for fear that they might suffer a backlash for their honest answers.
1) Dr. Brandy Saubert, DVM, Managing Veterinarian at Crest Hill Animal Hospital in Crest Hill, Illinois.
December 2022. The employee said that they only do the two paw declaw and it costs $460. They said that you can do a neuter/declaw together the day of the appointment and you can just drop the cat off in the morning for the procedures. When asked if the cats are ok long term from a declaw they said yes and asked if their doctors do declaws regularly the employee said yes.
Another employee only a couple of their vets do declaws and they are Dr Brandy Saubert and Dr Katie Aksami. When asked if they do the declaw procedures regularly the employee said yes. They said a spay $342 and front declaw is $461. They said that you can make an appointment drop the cat off first thing in the morning between 7-8 am. The employee said, “We use the laser for the declaw procedure so it’s a lot easier on the kitty.” They said it’s quicker healing and they are moving around real quick.
2) Ilan Cohen, DVM, Managing Veterinarian at St. George Hunt Memorial Veterinary Hospital in Wayne, PA.
December 2022. They do not declaw cats. They said that a declaw is not good for a cat and the doctors don’t like to do them.
3) Bruce Coston, DVM. NVA website profile says he, “joined a practice in Waynesboro, Virginia, where he practiced a few years before founding Seven Bends Veterinary Hospital.” (Woodstock, VA.)
December 2022. They said they don’t declaw cats and said it’s cruel. They said that the state of Virginia is trying to outlaw declawing.
(In April 2021, according to an employee, they provided declawing services.)
4) John Paulson, DVM, Managing Vet at Shoreline Central Animal Hospital in Shoreline, WA.
December 2022. Employee said that they don’t do declaws unless it is medically necessary for the cat.
In April 2021 an employee said they do not declaw cats because they believe it is a cruel procedure and said that there is new evidence that it is detrimental to a cat’s health. They recommended scratching posts and nail trims instead.
5) Jenni Mitchell, DVM, Managing Veterinarian at Thiensville-Mequon Small Animal Clinic in Thiensville, WI.
December 2022. They said that they do not declaw cats and that it is very invasive, not appreciated by the cats, it’s bad for them, it’s like if they are cutting off the tips of our fingers, and it’s very painful for cats.
(In April of 2021, this practice was still declawing cats according to an employee. )
6) Kimberly Greene, DVM, Managing Veterinarian at Animal Oasis Veterinary Hospital.
December 2022. They do not do declaws because their doctors don’t believe in it.
7) Dr. Kellie Lindquist, DVM, Managing Veterinarian at Alaska Veterinary Clinic, Anchorage, AK.
December 2022. They said they don’t declaw cats and according to the AVMA it is considered inhumane to declaw cats so as a participating clinic under that, they don’t perform declaws.
8) Dr. Sandra Faeh is the Managing Veterinarian at Elmhurst Animal Care Center in the Chicago suburb of Elmhurst, Illinois.
December 2022. The employee said that the do not declaw cats because NVA, AVMA don’t recommend it anymore and they said standby not needing to do that to cats and there are other alternatives.
National Veterinary Associates (NVA) is the largest private owner of freestanding veterinary hospitals in the United States.
NVA is owned by JAB Holdings, a company that is owned by the Reimann family in Germany. NVA has over 1100 vet practices and pet resorts in America.
NVA says this on their facebook page. “Our mission is to improve the comfort and well-being of animals by providing progressive and compassionate care.”
Here’s our 2021 story about NVA and declawing. NVA and Declawing 2021 story
What do YOU think about this? We tried to get some answers but didn’t get a reply from NVA or the owners of their company, the German family, the Reimanns.
Here are the facts and timeline.
- In April of 2022, National Veterinary Associates (NVA) told us that they made the commitment to no longer support “elective” declawing.
- In July 2022 NVA sent a Feline Declaw Info and Resource Guide to their practices. In this Guide, NVA provided a lot of great information about how declawing is bad for cats and about the humane alternatives, but unfortunately the first paragraph said, “In alignment with our mission to improve the comfort and well-being of patients by providing progressive veterinary care guidance, the Medical Advisory Board does not support declawing of cats. The procedure should not be performed unless within the context of a valid veterinary-client-patient relationship, the veterinarian has determined it to be required for the benefit of the patient.”
- Here are their Medical Advisory Board veterinarians. NVA’s Medical Advisory Board veterinarians
We all know that there is no benefit for the cat, and that the only “benefit” is the profit these declawing veterinarians make by mutilating cats. NVA veterinarians get a percentage of profits from procedures that they perform.
Some of the things this guide said: Considering declawing is legal in most vet practices in the US, the intention of their Medical Advisory Board is to provide NVA veterinary professionals with the resources and information necessary to reevaluate and evolve their current practices and the messaging about declawing.
If clients call to ask about a declawing they should be told that they need to meet with a veterinarian to check the health of their cat and have a relationship with the vet. This will give them the opportunity to educate the client about the procedure, the behavioral needs of the cat, and explore all the alternatives.
This Guide also said, “In cases where onychectomy must be performed, practices should ensure that only surgeons who are well trained and proficient are performing the procedure.”
- On Nov. 28, 2022, NVA sent us an email that said, “We are proud to share NVA has adopted a stance very similar to the German law you originally cited when you reached out to NVA earlier this year. We do not support elective declawing and it should not be performed. We communicated this to our hospitals and will continue to reiterate it across the organization.”
(The German law only allows declawing for a medical reason for the cat like for a tumor or injury to a cat’s paw.)
What NVA told us is in direct conflict with the info they sent out to all their veterinarians.
- March 16, 2023. Laura Koester with NVA sent us this email.
“I am pleased to share that this Friday, we will be posting to our website that in alignment with NVA’s mission to improve the comfort and well-being of pets by providing progressive and compassionate care, NVA does not support the elective declawing of cats. Instead, NVA encourages pet parent education and non-surgical alternatives as outlined by the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP). Once the post is up, we will send you a link.”
We wrote them back and one of the things we said was this, “Your company can be against declawing and say you do not support it but until you tell your vets that they can only perform it for a medical reason for the cat like a tumor or injury like the German law is, this means nothing and is just to try to make NVA look like they’ve joined all these other progressive and ethical companies who do not allow declawing in ALL THEIR CLINICS unless for therapeutic reasons for the cat’s health. “
- March 17, 2023. Laura Koester sent this email. “Traditionally NVA does not post our policies online. However, I am pleased in the case of declawing, we are making a rare exception, which shows our commitment to not supporting elective declawing. By posting online, we share our beliefs with our industry partners, candidates for open roles, including DVM roles, and our community. We have also directly emailed all our hospitals to reiterate this stance. Also, if anyone has a question about a specific hospital, we work with that hospital. And we find pointing to one person and generalizing to an entire organization is not productive. We will let you know when the post is live. “
Here’s their link to this info on their website. https://www.nva.com/newsroom/elective-declawing
- We did some investigating in late 2022, Feb. and March 2023 and found that many NVA declawing vet practices were still giving the cost of their declaw procedure, still saying there is a discount for a declaw if you buy their WELLNESS PLAN, still saying that they do declaws regularly, and still saying that a cat is ok long term after a declaw.
- HERE’S THE VERY CONCERNING AND DISTURBING PART.
- We did some more investigating and found that there are 8 veterinarians on NVA’s Medical Advisory Board. Link to their vets- NVA’s Medical Advisory Board veterinarians
- We found that ONE of these NVA Medical Advisory Board veterinarians works at a practice, Crest Hill Animal Hospital in Illinois, that is still declawing cats and this Medical Advisory Board veterinarian personally regularly declaws cats, according to two employees who work there.
- All of the other 7 veterinarians on NVA’s Medical Advisory Board DO NOT declaw cats and their practices say that it is inhumane and bad for cats, according to employees who work at these practices.
If one of NVA’s Medical Advisory Board veterinarians isn’t even following their own company’s declawing position then how is there going to be any accountability with all of NVA’s declawing veterinarians?
Did this declawing veterinarian on NVA’s Medical Advisory Board have the most influence on NVA’s declawing position?
One would think that since the other 7 NVA Medical Advisory Board veterinarians do not declaw cats and they work at NVA clinics that do NOT declaw cats unless it’s for a MEDICAL reason for the cat, then that would be the position that NVA adopts for their company’s declawing policy.
Did NVA completely deceive us to think that they were going to ban declawing like VCA, Banfield, AAFP, Fear Free Pets, Mission Veterinary Partners, Petco, Petsmart, etc did??
LOOK WHAT ALL THESE HUMANE AND ETHICAL COMPANIES SAY ABOUT DECLAWING AND WHY THEY COMPLETELY BANNED IT.
The Reimann family in Germany is the parent company to NVA. We reached out to them a couple weeks ago about this serious issue but never heard back. We also haven’t heard back from NVA about this serious issue.
Please send the Reimanns a polite note and ask them why many NVA clinics are still declawing cats and remind them that the German law only allows it for a medical reason for the cat.
Please also sign our petition to NVA. NVA Petition (No need to donate to change. org to sign it.)
Also, if you work at an NVA declawing practice or the one that this Medical Board Advisory declawing veterinarian works at and want to send us more info about how your practice profits from this animal cruelty or regularly performs declaws, send us a note to email@example.com
We promise to keep your identity confidential.
ALSO, if you are a cat owner who had your cat declawed at an NVA clinic and weren’t told how bad it is for your beloved cat, please send us a note. We promise to keep your identity confidential.
We are receiving notes from people who worked at NVA declawing clinics. Here’s one of them.
“I used to work at an NVA hospital. Several of the vets there declawed. Most of them would say “we don’t like it but if that’s what the client wants….” and would do it, without ever educating the client first as to what declawing is and the damage it does.
The managing DVM declaws with impunity. Even his own cats. I have adopted two cats that were declawed at that hospital, and then given the boot by their owner once the behavior issues started. One is a large framed big cat and I suspect arthritic changes already, at the grand old age of three, the other routinely defecates outside the litter box. This was one of the many reasons I ended up leaving this NVA hospital and moving on to a non declawing practice.
I can say for certain that a bit of education goes a long way for most people and I know I was able to save a few claws in my time there. ”
Know the facts. Declawing is animal cruelty. Declawing facts vs myths.