Saturday, July 3, 2010

Cat declawing

Cat owners are strongly discouraged in requesting declawing of cats. Very rarely do I encountered declawing requests in my surgery. Declawing will be done only if there are good reasons. The owner had used anti-scratching medication, nail covers and provided the scratching post. But the active cat still scratches furniture and people.

For Toa Payoh Vets Knowledge Management records, the following is written to share knowledge as it is a relatively uncommon operation.

Cat: British Shorthair, Male, Neutered, 1 year, 4.8 kg, rectal temp: 38.3 degrees C

Anaesthesia:
Xylazine 20@ 0.15 ml + Ketamine 100@ 0.6 ml IM. Front paw hairs clipped.
The above dosage was insufficient for surgical anaesthesia as clipping the soft furs in the paws took a longer time than usual to clip. I had to use scissors as well to get a clean hairless area for surgery. This cat's paw hairs were like wool and the clipper could not shave effecively.

Isoflurane gas top by mask for a few seconds was effective.

Surgery:
Rubber band tourniquet Electro-incision was used. However, it was not practical due to the need to trim at an angle of 45 degrees ventrally from the posterior end of phalanx 2 with the claw in extension. A bone cutter was used. 3-4 stitches of 3/0 absorbable sutures closed wound.

Bandaging:
Gauze was applied to the front of the paws while the rubber band tourniquet was cut. Blood flowed freely. Then a elastic bandage wrapped the gauze and the paws (picture). A strip of sticky bandage around the end of the elastic bandage was used to prevent the cat pulling off the whole bandage.

Pain killers: Tolfedine injection (0.5ml and then tolfedine tablets x 4 days (3 tab of 6 mg/day). Injection and oral dosage is the same, at 4mg/kg. Baytril @ 0.5 ml SC after surgery and 1/2 tab/day for 4 days.

The cat went home on Day 1 and advised to be crated or confined to a small room. However, the cat was active and kept flinging his paws. So he was warded at Toa Payoh Vets for 4 days.

On Day 2, the bandage was taken off to review the paws for bleeding. Not a drop of bleeding as the bandaging was tight but not too tight to cause paw swelling. So, the cat was given a bigger e-collar. With NSAID tolfedine being effective in this case, the cat was not bothering her front paws.

Unusual Complication: Part of the right whiskers of the cat was clipped off inadvertently. This was discovered by the owner. As it was difficult to clip the woolly fur of the paws and the cat was sedated with his head to the right side, near his right fore paw, the clipper must have accidentally clipped part of the whiskers.

In future, it would be best for one person to hold the head up during clipping of the paws.

Outcome. The results were excellent. Apologies were made for the clipping of the right whiskers.

P.S. For a successful outcome, it is best not to permit the cat to go home immediately.Some owners don't know how to do post-surgical nursing and checking or give the medication. The cat may pull out the bandage and lick the wound. Some owners don't bother to phone up the vet and when they do, it is too late as the paw has been badly infected. The paws may also gangrenous. Therefore I advise 4 days for observation.

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