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Telephone survey to investigate relationships between onychectomy or onychectomy technique and house soiling in cats

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  • 1 Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011.
  • | 2 Department of Epidemiology, College of Public Health, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242.
  • | 3 Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011.
  • | 4 Department of Epidemiology, College of Public Health, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To determine whether associations existed between onychectomy or onychectomy technique and house soiling in cats.

DESIGN Cross-sectional study.

SAMPLE 281 owners of 455 cats in Polk County, Iowa, identified via a list of randomly selected residential phone numbers of cat owners in that region.

PROCEDURES A telephone survey was conducted to collect information from cat owners on factors hypothesized a priori to be associated with house soiling, including cat sex, reproductive status, medical history, and onychectomy history. When cats that had undergone onychectomy were identified, data were collected regarding the cat's age at the time of the procedure and whether a carbon dioxide laser (CDL) had been used. Information on history of house soiling behavior (urinating or defecating outside the litter box) was also collected.

RESULTS Onychectomy technique was identified as a risk factor for house soiling. Cats for which a non-CDL technique was used had a higher risk of house soiling than cats for which the CDL technique was used. Cats that had undergone onychectomy and that lived in a multicat (3 to 5 cats) household were more than 3 times as likely to have house soiled as were single-housed cats with intact claws.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results of this cross-sectional study suggested that use of the CDL technique for onychectomy could decrease the risk of house soiling by cats relative to the risk associated with other techniques. This and other findings can be used to inform the decisions of owners and veterinarians when considering elective onychectomy for cats.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To determine whether associations existed between onychectomy or onychectomy technique and house soiling in cats.

DESIGN Cross-sectional study.

SAMPLE 281 owners of 455 cats in Polk County, Iowa, identified via a list of randomly selected residential phone numbers of cat owners in that region.

PROCEDURES A telephone survey was conducted to collect information from cat owners on factors hypothesized a priori to be associated with house soiling, including cat sex, reproductive status, medical history, and onychectomy history. When cats that had undergone onychectomy were identified, data were collected regarding the cat's age at the time of the procedure and whether a carbon dioxide laser (CDL) had been used. Information on history of house soiling behavior (urinating or defecating outside the litter box) was also collected.

RESULTS Onychectomy technique was identified as a risk factor for house soiling. Cats for which a non-CDL technique was used had a higher risk of house soiling than cats for which the CDL technique was used. Cats that had undergone onychectomy and that lived in a multicat (3 to 5 cats) household were more than 3 times as likely to have house soiled as were single-housed cats with intact claws.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results of this cross-sectional study suggested that use of the CDL technique for onychectomy could decrease the risk of house soiling by cats relative to the risk associated with other techniques. This and other findings can be used to inform the decisions of owners and veterinarians when considering elective onychectomy for cats.

Supplementary Materials

    • Supplementary Appendix S1 (PDF 437 kb)

Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to Dr. Petersen (christinepetersen@uiowa.edu).