How is a declaw performed?
Declawing (onychectomy) consists of surgical removal of nail bed of the front claws and is performed under general anesthesia. The incision sites are closed using surgical skin adhesive or absorbable sutures. The patient will be hospitalized for one to five nights depending on patient age, weight and activity level. Pain medication will be prescribed for at least five days after surgery. Most cats are “back to normal” within seven to fourteen days.
How do I care for my pet following surgery?
· Litter Box
Before you bring your cat home from the hospital, replace the normal litter with a specially formulated dust-free, pelleted litter or shredded strips of paper. We recommend this recovery litter for 10 days following surgery. If your pet refuses to use the recovery litter, please call the hospital to discuss other options. Never use regular or clumping cat litter during this period. This is important because small granules of litter can enter or stick to the surgical sites, causing pain, infection and delaying healing.
Restricting a cat’s activity is difficult, at best. As much as possible, discourage your cat from jumping on furniture and counter tops for the first 10 days after surgery, by blocking the access to these areas. If you see your cat on the counter-top or high furniture, do not scare it into jumping off; instead help it down. Cats primarily use their back legs to jump up, but may injure the surgical sites when they jump down and land on their front paws. You may find the use of a large dog crate helpful during this recovery and healing period.
Occasionally a cat will break open one of its incisions and a few drops of blood may ooze out. The blood should clot rapidly and form a small scab. Notify the hospital if you observe continuous bleeding from a surgical site. Do not attempt to clean the paws or administer any topical medications without consulting your veterinarian. Never use hydrogen peroxide on the wounds.