Claws, Paws and Pug Marks

Claws, Paws & Pug Marks - Page 1&2: Claws| 3&4: Pug Marks | 5&6: Declawing

Above: An incomplete onychectomy has resulted in a draining sinus associated with the regrowth of a claw. This is a common clinical sign in the case of this complication.

Above: Necrosis (decay) and sloughing off of soft tissue. Excessively tight bandaging was considered to be the cause.

Above: Onychectomy was carried out on this cat at 2 years of age. The photograph was taken when the animal was 13-years-old. Multiple claw fragments were located in the damaged area.

Complications from declawing:

At best there are the usual risks associated with anaesthesia and extreme discomfort after the operation.

Rates of serious complication for this procedure are considered relatively high when compared to other so-called routine operations:

  • Haemorrhage, either during the operation, or after removal of the dressings, is a quite frequent occurrence.
  • Nerve injury may occur as a result of tourniquets that are applied too tightly, or across bony surfaces. Photographs on the previous page show examples of this.
    • Abscessed paws can lead to septicemia, upper respiratory infections, or other infection.
    • Infection can be caused by poor blood flow, unclean instruments, or inadequate cleansing.

    Where infection sets in antibiotics will be required. Severe infections may need fluids and other more concentrated measures.

    • Skin, tissue and digits may start to slough off (decay and separate). This is usually due to excessively tight bandaging, or repeated infections.
    • Occasionally the wound simply fails to heal and this requires a further operation to remove more bone and clean the wound.
      •  Claw regrowth may occur months to years after the procedure and comes about due to inadequate removal of the cells responsible for growth.

      The affected digits may discharge and though antibiotics can control the problem it will usually reoccur unless another operation is carried out to remove the growing claw and tissue responsible.

      During this operation surgical exploration is carried out -- and may be repeated as required.

      An onychectomy with severe complications may result in multiple operations for the animal, each with its own discomforts and operative/post-operative risks.

Claws, Paws & Pug Marks - Page 1&2: Claws| 3&4: Pug Marks | 5&6: Declawing

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Photography With Thanks To The Auckland S.P.C.A.
From The Textbook "The Cat. Diseases & Clinical Management."
2nd Edition. Edited by Robert G. Sherding.
 © All Rights Reserved. Displayed here with permission, for educational, non-profit purposes.