Pet declawing, also known as onychectomy, is the surgical removal of the claws and part of the toes of a pet. Declawing is a medical procedure in which a veterinarian amputates a part of each toe that includes the last bone and claw. The objective of this surgery is to prevent scratching which may cause injury to people and other animals, and damage to household items.

There may be medical reasons to declaw an animal, such as chronic inflammatory conditions, tumors, persistent and severe infections, and gangrene. Declawing for any of these reasons is usually limited to the affected claw, leaving the healthy claws intact.

The procedures commonly used to declaw a cat may include:

  • Use of a scalpel or other tool to remove a cat's claws
  • Laser technology to vaporize claws
  • A tendonectomy severs the tendons attached to the claws, this preserves the claws but prohibits the ability to extend the claws to scratch


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