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'It's a great day for cats': Nova Scotia's veterinarians will ban declawing

The Nova Scotia Veterinary Medical Association has voted in favour of banning cat declawing
(stock photo)

A retired veterinarian says he's relieved and thrilled now that the Nova Scotia Veterinary Medical Association has voted in favour of banning cat declawing.

The organization, which represents vets in the province, voted to change their code of ethics to prevent the procedure unless medically necessary as of March 15, 2018.

Dr. Hugh Chisholm said this makes Nova Scotia the first province in Canada to end the practice.

Chisholm put forward a declawing motion in 2014 that ended up being voted down, but he says over the last few years, new studies have shown the negative impact it has on cats.

"It's not just that it's a painful surgery at the time of the surgery, it can have life-long implications for the cat from a pain point of view, from a locomotion point of view, arthritis when they get older, back problems," he explained.

Chisholm believes people don't realize how serious the operation is, he said the final bone of each digit has to be amputated in order to remove a cat's claws.

He said it's getting more difficult for veterinarians to defend the practice and he hopes Nova Scotia's ban will make it easier for other provinces to the same.

"The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association has already come out and made a formal statement that they consider the declawing of cats to be unethical," he explained. "It's going to be very challenging for anybody who wants to say declawing is still a legitimate thing to be doing to cats, because there's really no good evidence that that's the case."
Chisholm is proud of Nova Scotia's vets for stepping up to outlaw the practice, but added his work isn't done yet.

As the Atlantic Canada representative for the Paw Project, an organization that advocates for declawing, he will continue to push for a ban in New Brunswick, P.E.I. and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Meghan Groff

About the Author: Meghan Groff

Born in Michigan, raised in Ontario, schooled in Indiana and lives in Nova Scotia; Meghan is the editor for CityNews Halifax.
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