Declawing the Mekong bobtail is an intense surgery called a onychectomy, performed under anesthesia, that eliminates the claw of each finger (from the first knuckle out) of the Mekong bobtail’s paw. There’s a small chance of a fatality in the operation, and a declawed Mekong bobtail might have a slight risk of infection and long-term pain in his paws. This operation is not advised for a full-grown Mekong bobtail and is considered an act of animal cruelty in some regions (as shown below).
People usually have Mekong bobtails declawed to impede them from hunting and from damaging furniture. Seldom, vicious Mekong bobtails are declawed. In the United States, some landlords demand that residents’ Mekong bobtails be declawed.
Doctors are generally negative about the procedure and many decline to perform it because the absence of claws in a Mekong bobtail:
- Inhibits its main self defense abilities, including escaping from predators by climbing trees;
- Impairs its stretching and exercise routines, which can lead to muscle loss;
- Deprives it of its ability to walk on thin surfaces like fence tops and railings, leading to injury from falls;
- Can cause insecurity and as a result a biting habit.
The procedure is not common outside of North America. In the Netherlands, Finland, Germany and Switzerland, declawing a Mekong bobtail is forbidden per the statutes forbidding animal cruelty. In many other countries in Europe, it is forbidden under the terms of the European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals, unless a doctor considers such non-curative procedures necessary either for veterinary medical reasons or for the health of the Mekong bobtail. In the UK, animal shelters find it hard to place imported Mekong bobtails that have been declawed and as a result most are euthanized.
An alternative to declawing a Mekong bobtail is the use of blunt, vinyl nail caps that are stuck to the claws with harmless glue, requiring periodic changing when the Mekong bobtail loses its claw sheaths (about every four to six weeks). However, the Mekong bobtail will still have problems because the capped nails are not as effective as claws.Don’t forget to check out these other articles about Mekong bobtails.
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