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Declaw for medical reasons?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I am with most people, I think declawing a cat is horrible but my wife and I don't know what else to do and are hoping to get some advice.

We live in a tropical country and have two indoor cats, a Persian and an American short hair. The Persian is turning two years old this week and we are having a recurring problem with her nails. They keep getting really infected.

She has probably been to the vet 25 times in the last two years for this problem. It is incredibly painful for her to clean the infection out and to top it off, she is a complete drama queen when it comes to the vet on a good day. Let alone when her nails are hurting. It often takes three people to hold her down which is incredibly stressful on her and us. After a vet visit, she won't come near us for a few days. Moreover, it is costing us a fortune to continue with the antibiotics, sprays, visits etc.

The nails get this hard, crust around them. Today the crust was a green color. We bathe her regularly which helps a little but not much. We have tried half a dozen kitty litters and none have helped. We cut her nails every two to three weeks and we are told that this is not the problem.
All her shots are up to date and we do everything that the books tell us to do.
It seems to generally be the same three nails that get infected.
So we don't know what else to do but declaw the nails that do keep causing her so much grief. We love her to death and don't want to keep putting her through all this pain regularly.

I feel it is cruel to declaw but also cruel to make her live like this. Do you think declawing is the best option?

Moreover, she is an odd cat as far as cat-like behavior goes. She doesn't ever climb, use scratching posts or jump up high. Not once in two years have I seen her go on anything higher than a meter up. Despite having a few large kitty jungle gyms to exploit. She also never uses her paws when she is playing with the American short hair.


Thanks for any advice.
post #2 of 17
Hi
There is a litter that is sort of made out of plastic type cubes like you would find used in a box as part of the packaging. I'm not sure of the litter brand though and maybe someone else here can come up with the name of it. That would not get caught up in the claws.
Another idea is to try aquarium graval for litter. People use that when they have to test their cat's pee for ifferent things
Hope this helps
Trying to find the popcorn type litter but haven''t found it yet. Here is a site though with alternative litters that may help
http://www.thelighthouseonline.com/a...tml#Worldsbest
post #3 of 17
Has the vet provided you with a formal diagnosis? I would hate to see you declaw only to find out that it doesn't solve the underlying problem. What you're describing sounds sort of like pemphigus--one of the cats at a local shelter was affected with this auto-immune disorder as well. You can read more about it here:

http://www.maxshouse.com/Diseases_of..._foliaceus.htm
http://www.manhattancats.com/Article...Foliaceus.html

There is also a rather technical article here about various claw diseases:
http://www.vin.com/proceedings/Proce...A2002&PID=2543
http://www.petplace.com/cats/pemphig...ats/page1.aspx

I would talk to the vet about getting a diagnosis. If the vet believes that declawing will provide relief from the condition, then that may very well be the best option for the cat and for your family. Declawing for medical reasons and with the purpose of allowing the best quality of life is different than declawing for the owner(s)' convenience.
post #4 of 17
Declawing for medical reasons is far different than declawing just to save the furniture and carpet. Cloudshade offered some good advice. Try searching this site for those who may have had similar problems that your cat has.

Best wishes for your Persian and that a solution is found soon.
post #5 of 17
My Mom's cat had 1 claw that kept having a recurring infection. He was declawed in only that claw. For medical reasons only they wouldn't need to fully declaw, just the infected ones, as far as I know. My Mom's cat was on multiple rounds of antibiotics before they decided to remove the claw.
post #6 of 17
Quote:
Declawing for medical reasons is far different than declawing just to save the furniture and carpet.
Agreed. =D Good luck, darlin'!
post #7 of 17
I too am against declawing, but for a situation such as you seem to be in, that may be the most humane thing you can do for your dear kitty.
post #8 of 17
Yup, I'm with the others. You shouldn't feel badly about declawing to solve an otherwise unsolvable medical problem.

Does your vet know what is causing the infections? Is it for sure that a declaw will stop the infections?
post #9 of 17
It probably would be good to have the cat looked at by a second vet, to see if there might be some other diagnosis your vet is missing.

After you get a second opinion, and if there are no other solutions, then I'd declaw only the three claws that are worst off. Then she'd get to keep the healthier ones.
post #10 of 17
I also think that under normal circumstances, declawing is inhumane, but if declawing will actually be a relief for a cat's medical problem it's entirely different.
Of course first I'd ask around to see if there isn't another solution without such drastic measures, but I say do it if it's best for her.
Good luck with everything!
post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thank you for all your support, answers and resources. We are going to ask the vet to scan her for the works today including leukemia and foliaceus. I imagine he has already done this but one can not be too sure.

She is hiding under the sofa from us right now which just breaks my heart. Reading your comments made us feel a little more reassured about the consideration of declawing the infected nails. In some ways, I feel like we have almost waited too long to do it. She was such a loving kitten but the daily cleanings and weekly vet visits have made her quite antisocial.
It is nice to hear from fellow cat lovers that sometimes drastic measures do need to be taken to give your kitty a better life.

Thanks to all,
Danny
post #12 of 17
I hope she will be ok.
post #13 of 17
I think you will see a drastic change in her behavior once the problem is solved (meaning she will return to a happy cat). It's hard to be pleasant when you aren't feeling well--no different for a cat!

Good luck!

Leslie
post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by cloud_shade View Post
Has the vet provided you with a formal diagnosis? I would hate to see you declaw only to find out that it doesn't solve the underlying problem. What you're describing sounds sort of like pemphigus--one of the cats at a local shelter was affected with this auto-immune disorder as well.

I would talk to the vet about getting a diagnosis. If the vet believes that declawing will provide relief from the condition, then that may very well be the best option for the cat and for your family. Declawing for medical reasons and with the purpose of allowing the best quality of life is different than declawing for the owner(s)' convenience.
That's exactly where my mind went also. It sure sounds like some type of auto-immune response. Very often then can be diagnosed with a biopsy, which might be a good course of action before you make a permanent decision.

Declawing for medical reasons is not a bad thing and honestly, this is probably the only good example I've seen on when to do it on this sight in the 5 years I've been here. My poor Stumpy had all of his teeth removed because of an auto-immune disease. Sometimes you have to do what you have to do for their overall health.
post #15 of 17
Has a fungal nail infection been ruled out? The flakiness around the nail brings that to mind, for some reason.
post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 
Well we just got her back from the vet who screened her for everything including immune system problems, leukemia etc. All are normal. He says its due to her "poor grooming habits" and nothing to do with us. I am not too sure how to teach a lazy cat to groom her paw properly.

He did not recommend declawing her though. I don't know if this is because we are quickly becoming his best customers or if declawing would not fix the problem. I live in Taiwan, so I am doing this through a translator and things get lost in translation.

So I don't know what to do. After getting her antibiotic shot and nails cleaned today, she is already more playful than usual but I can't afford to keep her doped up on antibodies regularly.

I also have a baby on the way and am worried that the infection in her paws could infect a growing fetus or newborn.
post #17 of 17
There are very few diseases that can pass from cat to human. I doubt this would be one of them. It hasn't even passed to your other cat, correct?

The other poster's suggestion re a fungal infection sounds like a good one to explore. If it is a fungal infection, then antibiotics wouldn't work on it; you'd probably need an antifungal medication, either a topical cream or an oral medication.
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