Declawing a Highlander is a major operation known as onychectomy, performed under anesthesia, which removes the claw of each toe (from the first knuckle out) of the Highlander’s paw. There is a miniscule possibility of death during the surgery, and a declawed Highlander might have a slight risk of infection and perpetual displeasure in his paws. This surgery isn’t suitable for a mature Highlander and is labeled an act of animal cruelty in some places (as shown below).
Owners generally have Highlanders declawed to impede them from hunting and from damaging furniture. Seldom, vicious Highlanders are declawed. In America, some landlords require that tenants’ Highlanders be declawed.
Doctors are generally critical of the surgery and at times refuse to do it because the lack of claws in a Highlander:
- Deprives it of its main self-protection skills, like escaping from predators by climbing trees;
- Hampers its exercising and stretching routines, which can lead to muscle atrophy;
- Impairs its ability to balance on thin surfaces like railings and fence tops, which can lead to injury from falling;
- Can cause insecurity and a subsequent biting habit.
This operation is rarely performed outside of North America. In Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany and Finland, declawing a Highlander is not allowed by the laws forbidding animal cruelty. In many other countries in Europe, it is not allowed 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 animal. In the United Kingdom, animal shelters find it hard to place imported Highlanders that have been declawed and as a result most are euthanized.
An alternative to declawing a Highlander is the application of blunt, vinyl claw caps that are attached to the claws with harmless glue, sometimes requiring replacement when the Highlander loses its claw sheaths (about every 4 to 6 weeks). Yet, the Highlander may still have problems because the capped nails are not as effective as claws.Don’t forget to check out these other articles about Highlanders.
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