We are pleased to offer laser surgery as an exciting new option for declawing your cat. This state-of-the-art surgery eliminates bleeding and swelling and most of the pain associated with declawing. Cats do not require stitches or tight bandaging after the surgery and can go home much sooner.

Laser surgery reduces the trauma to your pet, improves healing, and shortens time spent in the veterinary hospital.

Less pain: The laser seals nerve endings as it cuts.
Less Bleeding: The laser seals the blood vessels as it cuts.
Less Swelling: The laser does not crush, tear or bruise tissue, because there is no physical contact with the tissue.

We take pride in being the first veterinary hospital in Prince George's County to use the Laser.  Our desire is to provide you the finest veterinary care available.

Nail Care:
A cat's claw is a specialized toenail with an assortment of functions, including feeding, grooming, and territorial marking. The claw grows slightly in length but grows primarily in layers, like the layers of an onion. As older layers are shed, underlying sharper ones are revealed. When a cat scratches a surface, it does not sharpen its nails; rather, it removes the outer worn layers.

Periodic trimming of the sharp tips prevents serious injury to others or damage to property. Ask your veterinarian to show you how you can do this at home, or periodically take your cat to your veterinarian's office for nail trimming. After the nails are trimmed, it takes only several weeks for the sharp tips to grow back. As long as your cat does not scratch inappropriate surfaces, such as furniture, nail trimming should be sufficient to prevent excessive damage.

Scratch Posts:
A cat that has become destructive with its claws should be encouraged to use a scratch post. If it has already selected an inappropriate location to scratch, place a scratch post directly in front of or over this location. You may need to try several different types of scratching posts or boards to determine your cat's preference. It may also be helpful to place the board vertically, at a slight incline, or horizontally on the floor. To encourage your cat to scratch, dangle a small toy from the top so your cat must stretch its front legs along the post's surface to reach the toy. If your cat enjoys catnip, encourage your cat to scratch against the post by lightly sprinkling catnip on its surface. A cat's normal response to catnip, which includes pawing at the source of the herb, can be transferred to use of a scratch post.

Damage Control for the Aggressive Cat:
A cat's claws are essential for its own defense and for more offensive types of aggression, such as predatory aggression and territorial aggression. When aggression is easily provoked in a cat, the type of aggression must be diagnosed and the circumstances that cause the aggressive response must be identified. Additionally, a declawed cat will be at a distinct disadvantage outside. Declawed cats, in particular, must remain strictly indoors.

Declawing cannot be considered a treatment for any type of aggression because it does not eliminate the underlying problem. Scratching by an aggressive cat is a sign of underlying emotional problems. Owners may be so distressed by the injury or damage caused by their cat's scratching that they become disinterested in retraining or treating the cat's underlying problem.

Your decision on whether to declaw a destructive cat should be based on your own needs and the long-term welfare of your cat.

Whatever approach you choose, the kindest one is the option that allows you and your pet to enjoy each other for many years to come.

Surgical Removal of Claws:
The surgery known as declawing involves removal of the last joint of each toe, along with the claw. It may be performed on the front paws only, but occasionally is performed on all four feet.

Laser Declawing Procedure:
This state-of-the-art surgery eliminates bleeding and swelling and most of the pain associated with declawing. Cats do not require stitches or tight bandaging after the procedure and can go home much sooner. Most small cats can go home the same day!

This surgery is performed while the animal is completely anesthetized so that no pain is felt during the procedure. Additionally, pain medication is given to reduce post surgical discomfort.

For the first week or so, a newly declawed cat may step gingerly. However, they recover rapidly and usually without complication. The younger a cat is, the faster the recovery. Young cats often are completely comfortable within days after the procedure.

Non-surgical Alternatives:
A non-surgical approach involves application of plastic tips, which are glued in place to cover each individual claw. The plastic tips are blunt, so that even if a cat goes through the motions of scratching, the effects are minimized. Depending on your cat's temperament and tolerance, and on your patience and dexterity, this product provides a pain-free alternative. The nail tips are not permanent and may need to be reapplied frequently. Some cats must have new plastic tips re-glued every few weeks, whereas others manage to remove them the day they are applied. Because application of these tips frequently requires sedation of the cat (and occasionally deeper anesthesia), re-application may be impractical and not without risk and should be minimized. For more information ask us about soft paws®.

Behavioral Effects of Declawing:
There is no evidence that declawing a cat will make it more aggressive or more apt to bite. A cat that is aggressive before declawing will still be aggressive after declawing. Remember that this surgery does not treat the reason your cat scratches or bites, but it will eliminate the unpleasant results of scratching.

Ideally, young kittens should be encouraged to use a scratch post before the decision to declaw them is made. This does not mean, however, that all kittens are easily trained to use a scratch post, nor does it mean that an adult cat cannot be trained to scratch there.

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