Declawing a Dragon Li is an intense operation called a onychectomy, performed with anesthesia, which removes the claw of each digit (from the first knuckle out) of the Dragon Li’s paws. There’s a slight possibility of death in the surgery, and a declawed Dragon Li might have an increased risk of infection and life-long displeasure in its paws. This surgery is not appropriate for a mature Dragon Li and is considered an act of animal cruelty in some places (as shown below).
Owners generally get Dragon Lis declawed to impede them from damaging furniture and hunting. Rarely, vicious Dragon Lis are declawed. In America, some landlords demand that tenants’ Dragon Lis be declawed.
Animal doctors are generally critical of the operation and sometimes refuse to do it since the absence of claws in a Dragon Li:
- Inhibits its main self defense abilities, such as escaping from predators by climbing trees;
- Impairs its stretching and exercise habits, which can lead to muscle loss;
- Deprives it of its ability to walk on thin surfaces like railings and fence tops, leading to injury from falls;
- Can cause insecurity and as a result a biting habit.
The surgery is not common outside of North America. In Germany, Finland, Switzerland and the Netherlands, declawing a Dragon Li is illegal per the statutes forbidding cruelty to animals. In many other countries in Europe, it is prohibited under the terms of the European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals, unless a doctor considers such non-curative procedures beneficial either for veterinary medical reasons or for the health of the Dragon Li. In the United Kingdom, animal shelters are finding it difficult to place imported Dragon Lis that have been declawed and as a result many are killed.
An alternative to declawing a Dragon Li is the application of blunt, vinyl claw caps that are applied to the claws with safe glue, sometimes requiring replacement when the Dragon Li sheds its claw sheaths (about every four to six weeks). Although, the Dragon Li may still have problems because the capped nails are not as effective as claws.Don’t forget to check out these other articles about Dragon Lis.
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