UPDATE Jan. 2021  This AAHA animal hospital and AAFP CAT FRIENDLY Practice is still declawing cats according to an employee at this hospital.
Story published on October 9, 2017
Cozy was found on the street at age 2 with two other kittens and they were taken to a rescue by a kind person. The kittens were adopted right away, but Cozy stayed at the shelter for a year before she came into my life. She was a Manx.
The cat I previously had was declawed when I adopted him and I never gave the surgery much thought.
When I took Cozy to the vet in 2008, I asked about the surgery and his response was, “We give certain things to our pets and they have to give up things for us.” (I no longer go to him!)
What I remembered from my childhood was that the couch was used as a scratching post (this was in the 1960’s)  and was ruined. Luckily, my mom loved our cats and they had a good life with us.
Since I’d never had a cat declawed, I didn’t know what the surgery entails and regretfully, I didn’t do my research.
When I brought Cozy home after the surgery, she hid under the bed due to the pain and the vet gave her nothing to ease it.  It was hard for her to walk at first and I felt awful knowing that she hurt so much.
Her paws healed, but she shook her front paw for the rest of her life.
Now I know that she had phantom pain.  I am so sorry that I didn’t know enough then.
Cozy was a very sweet kitty and I was her guardian for 9 years before she died from renal failure and heart failure.
She’s been gone for 2 weeks and I so wish she was still with me, but I know I made the best decision for her when it came time.
I know better now and will never, ever have my future cats declawed. They deserve much better than that.  I only hope Cozy knows that I would not have declawed her had I known what would happen to her afterward.  I am so sorry, Cozy. I loved you so much and I know you’re feeling better at the Bridge. I’ll be there to find you again and I know you’re safe with Caramel, Sunny, Maizey, Maggie, and Camelot.
I had my researchers look into how this practice, Avery Animal Hospital in Hillard, Ohio,  addresses declawing now.
The vet that declawed Cozy is still declawing cats at this AAHA and CAT FRIENDLY HOSPITAL.
This AAHA and CAT FRIENDLY practice says on their website, “Common surgeries we perform are, Spays, Neuters, Declawing, Soft Tissue surgeries and various other minor surgical procedures.”Common surgeries they perform. Declawing.
When our researchers ask for a price of a spay/neuter/declaw the receptionists like to put you in touch with one of their vet techs for the info. This vet tech said that a spay/declaw/exam is $392 and they use a scalpel for the declaw procedure.

The researcher asked which of their vets is most skilled at the declaw and the vet tech said that all the doctors that they have that do surgeries and perform at least one declaw a week. Each doctor has a day of the week that they do surgeries. Dr Vesper is Monday, Dr Huschart is Tuesday, Dr Walker is Thursday, and Dr Fletcher is Friday.   (They have 5 vets and one vet, Dr McLaughlin, doesn’t perform surgeries.)

This AAHA and AAFP Cat Friendly practice’s long time vet tech tells our researcher that the only time you would do all four paw declaw is, “if your cat has a skin condition or it’s one of those cats that doesn’t have fur.”

She said, “Declawing is very looked down upon from a lot of different organizations.” She said, “Basically you are removing the top digit like removing the top tip on your finger tips and there are a lot of nerves there.” She said there is a chance of things being, “bumped the wrong way or in recovery a little open but about 95% of cats we declaw we don’t have issues.”  She said that when the cats are older and heavier is where they see the issues with a declaw.

They say that your cat has to stay overnight, it will have the bandages off, and they will give you pain meds for 24 hrs. Researcher asked if the cat will be ok long term. Vet tech said, “The majority of cats do well with the surgery.”

Our researcher asked for a price to get a 3 1/2 yr old cat declawed and vet tech quoted, $180 plus $57 exam.

The researcher told this vet tech that there is a lot of information online that says declawing is bad for cats. Vet tech said, “Yea there are a lot of horror stories about declaw. There are a lot of vet offices that won’t do them and a lot of shelters that won’t adopt a cat out to an owner that wants a declaw. There’s a lot of controversy in the medical world about that but we’ve seen most cats doing well.”

On another “Secret Shopper”  inquiry, a receptionist said, ” a basic neuter/declaw would be $255.”  They also suggested a post op laser treatment at $10. Researcher asked them if there would be any long term complications and they said, “no, but for the first 10-14 days kitten will have to be confined, use a special litter called “Yesterday’s News”,  which would be included. (Please sign my petition to Purina. Purina makes millions of dollars each year from these declawing vets [button href=”http://bit.ly/PurinaPetition” color=”red” newwindow=”yes”] Purina Petition[/button]

Researcher asked if their docs are skilled at the declaw surgery and how many do they do? Receptionist said the doctors are, “very skilled” at the declaw procedure and said that the declaw surgery was common at their practice and said, “We actually have one going home today from yesterday’s surgery.”

I reached out to this Cat Friendly practice and AAHA hospital in an email and asked them about all of this. I received this note from the owner of this vet hospital on Oct 11, 2017.

“After reading your email I am concerned with the inaccurate information.  First and foremost we always educate clients who ask us about the declaw procedure to the myriad of alternatives.  The reference to the frequency of declaws currently done in our hospital is overstated.  We in fact now do very few declaws at our facility.  Hopefully these facts will help you be more accurate in your communication with others .  I would request that you communicate with me if you have any further questions about our hospital procedures and policies.    

Thank you , Richard Vesper, DVM  Practice Owner Avery Animal Hospital”

So I replied back in TWO emails to this vet about what he said about the “inaccurate information” and asked him about what his employees say to first time cat owners and about how many declaws they do. I never received a reply.

Please read Cozy’s sad story and in her honor send it to AAHA leaders and politely ask them when are they going to stop allowing declawing in their accredited animal hospitals?

AAHA email- aaha@ahaa.org


PLEASE SIGN MY PETITIONS TO THE AAHA AND AAFP (CAT FRIENDLY) LEADERS- [button href=” http://bit.ly/AAHAstopDeclawing” color=”red” newwindow=”yes”] AAHA Petition[/button]


Also please sign up to be a City the Kitty Crusader on my website www.citythekitty.com


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