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Freddy's story

This happened not long ago at the hospital I work at. We very rarely do declaws. Maybe four a year. Most people we can talk out of doing it. Frankly, I'd prefer to refuse to do it. Whatever. Anyway-these people insisted on having their cat declawed while he was anesthetised for castration. We did the surgical technique rather than just doing it with clippers. That way you don't have to break the bone, you go in between the bones. Also used Iso gas anesthetic and pain medication instead of just injectable. Despite all these precautions, he woke up and just started yowling and hissing and then escalated into what I can only call screaming. He started doing backflips in his cage, urinating involuntarily, banging his head and his poor bruised, bloody feet. By then the bandages were off and there was blood everywhere. I wondered what could be wrong, then realized he was screaming in pain. We re-anesthetised, re-bandaged, checked his feet, gave more pain meds.. and when he woke back up he did it again. That time the doctor decided he'd had enough and just held him till he calmed down. It took him a good hour to be even remotely aware and even longer to stop crying. Every time I think about that poor cat and his mutilated feet, and that horrible noise he was making, it makes me physically ill. I thought that was an isolated incident, but some people tell me it's not uncommon.

How tragic that this goes on every day and millions of cats suffer for it.

November 6, 1999

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