Banfield, the Pet Hospital Bans Cosmetic Surgery for DogsPublished July 27, 2010
Based in Portland, Oregon, Banfield, The Pet Hospital, is the largest privately owned veterinary practice in the United States - employing thousands of veterinary personnel and staff. They do it all, from skin care to surgery. So the other day, I was thrilled to learn that Banfield, The Pet Hospital, and their affiliates will join the many other clinics that have already stopped offering elective cosmetic surgical procedures for dogs: tail docking, ear cropping, and debarking. Dog ear cropping, (the amputation of the floppy part of the ear to make it stand up), is routinely performed on a variety of breeds, such as the Great Dane, the Boxer and the Doberman Pinscher, to make them adhere to show standards, but has no medical value unless the dog suffers an injury. In the same vein, dogs such as the Cocker Spaniel, the Vizsla and the Boxer routinely undergo cosmetic tail docking. Similarly, legitimate medical conditions may warrant surgical intervention. Already banned in the United Kingdom and several other countries around the world, ear cropping and tail docking for purely cosmetic purposes have been eliminated. Two veterinary organizations, the America Veterinary Medical Association and the World Small Animal Veterinary Association, have opposed the official position that the AKC takes concerning their breed standards that call for a certain look. The AKC position can be viewed here. The only thing I don't understand is why Banfield has taken such huge strides toward the humane treatment of dogs, yet they continue to declaw cats. The official Banfield Declaw (onychectomy) Policy Statement posted on their website states: "Banfield doctors do perform a surgical onychectomy if they believe that a cat cannot be trained to refrain from using its claws destructively in the home, or poses a danger to family members. Unfortunately, all cats are not amenable to behavior modification and we believe that this surgical procedure will result in fewer cats being abandoned or euthanized. We also believe onychectomy should be performed only with the medically appropriate use of anesthetics and analgesics and adherence to careful surgical and post-surgical protocols. In our practice, recovery from surgery is very rapid, with the outcome leading to a stronger bond between Pet and Pet owner, which intimately leads to better overall care." In the recent blog posted here on Petside, I went into detail, debunking the myths that many people take as fact when deciding to declaw their cat. What is most incomprehensible to me is the statement, "recovery from surgery is very rapid . . . leading to a stronger bond between pet and pet owner." I'm sure they take great care of their animal patients, but how can Banfield believe that subjecting a cat to this painful surgical procedure could deepen the cat-human bond? Tell us your take. Photo via.