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The practice of elective partial digital amputation or Onychectomy of cats (declawing) is under question in Manitoba, with the Manitoba Veterinarian Medical Association (MVMA) proposing a ban.

In 2017, the Canadian Veterinarian Medical Association (CVMA) took a strong position in opposition to the declawing of cats. Though not a regulatory body for veterinary practices across the country, their stance has influenced Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, British Columbia Order of Veterinarians, and Newfoundland and Labrador have put restrictions on declawing.

President for the MVMA and veterinarian Dr. Jonas Watson says from province to province VMA's are deciding how to approach this, with the MVMA looking to their members.

"We decided to poll our members to see what their general feeling was, a sense of their concerns acting one way or the other. We discussed at our AGM the other night and based on that conversation we'll have some more conversations in the future at the council level."

Some members were concerned making this decision was a slippery slope says Watson, and could lead to bans on docking tails in purebred dogs, some may feel that declawing isn't that bad, others may not like being restricted by a governing body when making the best decision for an animal.

Watson adds that if a ban were to take place, it would not include therapeutic amputation if an animal needs a toe removed for a medical reason, just for the cosmetic surgery.

The choice to declaw an animal is often a preventative measure to protect furniture or property. However, Watson says in a paper called: Pain and Adverse Behaviour in Declawed Cats, it suggests there are potential long-term adverse conditions in declawed cats, and may veterinarians agree with this conclusion.

Watson says within the next several weeks the MVMA will hold a digital poll to find out how their members want to proceed and hopes this conversation will open up to more in the future.

"I hope that we give greater considerations to the welfare implications of this procedure, I think it's becoming clear that this is not a benign procedure, and may even be an archaic one in 2019."

Most of all Watson hopes the vote is an accurate representation of what the MVMA's membership wants. He adds the MVMA represents the public as much as it's members and it's crucial that the members of the public have their voices heard.

The public is encouraged to contact the MVMA office or their local veterinarian practitioner, to share their opinions on animal care.

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