The Controversy Over Laser Declawing

Scratching remains an instinctive urge in many cats causing owners to consider traditional or laser declawing. Declawing cats is a controversial procedure, yet it is often considered because of the high cost of damage to sofas, curtains and carpeting.

Traditional and Laser Declawing Surgeries Explained

In a traditional surgery for declawing cats, a scalpel or Resko clipper removes the bone that the claw grows from, known as the Ungual Crest, and the claw. The remaining incision is stitched up. Following a declawing surgery, the cat is kept hospitalized for a couple of days. Pain medications are given as needed and the cat's litter box is filled with larger litter pellets and kept sterile to prevent infection. Small grained kitty litter will get into the cut and cause infection. If too little bone is removed, the claw will try to grow back and a second surgery is required.

With a laser surgery for declawing cats, there is minimal blood loss and less pain. A laser cuts through the toe bone removing the claw and the Ungual Crest. The laser cauterizes as it goes so there is no blood loss or open wound to become infected. This makes it a safer procedure, but it also comes with a high price tag.

Laser Declawing Cost Overview

The equipment that a veterinary surgeon uses to handle a laser surgery for declawing cats costs upwards of $40,000. In a small veterinary office, the price of a laser declawing will jump by hundreds of dollars to help pay for both the machine and the electricity used to operate the machine.

In addition to the electricity and equipment costs, veterinarians head to seminars to learn to use the equipment and this cost is also passed on to the consumer helping to raise prices of a laser declawing even higher.

Prices for a laser declawing vary. In the state of Pennsylvania, the procedure cost a little over $500, compared to a traditional declawing that costs $170 to $200. In other states, the laser procedure averages, $350 to $400. It's still far more expensive than a traditional declawing.

Problems Develop with a Lack of Operator Experience

There is also the issue of operator experience as the veterinarian must be trained how to perform surgeries using the laser equipment. Vendors selling laser surgery equipment provide seminars to train veterinary surgeons, but most seminars last only a day or two. Definitely not enough time for a veterinarian to master all aspects of laser surgery.

If a declaw surgery is performed by someone with limited operator experience, there is a higher risk of accidental injury. If a veterinarian messes up during the declawing, it can lead to longer healing times and tissue damage.

Something to Consider

If your laser surgeon botches the laser surgery for declawing cats, you might end up having to seek another vet to fix the damage. Due to a lack of operator experience, there have been many cases of pet owners having to bring their cat to a second vet to repair damage caused by the laser procedure. You have to consider if you have enough money to spare if things do not go as planned.