CVMA revises position statement on declawing

CVMA revises position statement on declawing

March 29, 2019

OTTAWA, Ont. – The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) has revised its previous position statement from 2011 on the onychectomy (declaw) of domestic felids to clearly oppose the procedure.

The CVMA changed the position statement’s title to Domestic Felid Partial Digital Amputation (Onychectomy or Declawing) to better reflect the nature of the procedure, and explicitly states that it “opposes elective and non-therapeutic Partial Digital Amputation (PDA), commonly known as declawing or onychectomy, of domestic cats.”

“The CVMA felt a strong need to address this issue as it is very important to veterinarians and Canadians as a whole,” says Dr. Troy Bourque, CVMA President. “Much research has become available since we last examined this position statement and it is evident that felines suffer needlessly when undergoing this surgery as an elective measure. Furthermore, behavioural research has advanced to allow veterinarians in this field to help clients modify unwanted scratching behavior without the completion of an Onychectomy.”

The statement also says “… from an ethical viewpoint, the CVMA views this surgery as unacceptable as it offers no advantage to the feline and the lack of scientific evidence leaves us unable to predict the likelihood of long-term behavioural and physical negative side effects.”

Other changes to the previous statement are a clear description of medically-necessary reasons for performing Partial Digital Amputation, a discussion of normal feline behaviours, as well as the impact that PDA may have on these behaviours, and a list of strategies that can be suggested as alternatives to PDA.

To view the position in its entirety, visit the CVMA Animal Welfare Position Statement section under the Policy & Advocacy tab on the CVMA website (

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