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OBJECTIVE To estimate the proportion of veterinarians working with feline patients in private practices who do or do not perform onychectomy and assess attitudes regarding and practices related to onychectomy in a large population of veterinary practitioners.

DESIGN Anonymous online survey.

SAMPLE 3,441 veterinarians.

PROCEDURES An online survey was provided to members of the Veterinary Information Network from June 18, 2014, through July 9, 2014. Descriptive statistics and frequency distributions for applicable response types were calculated, and Mann-Whitney U tests were conducted to compare responses to onychectomy-related opinion questions between respondents who indicated they did or did not perform the procedure. Not all respondents answered every question.

RESULTS 2,503 of 3,441 (72.7%) survey respondents reported performing onychectomy, and 827 (24.0%) indicated they did not; 1,534 of 2,498 (61.4%) performing the procedure reported a frequency of < 1 onychectomy/month. Most (2,256/3,023 [74.6%]) respondents who performed onychectomy indicated that they recommended nonsurgical alternatives. Surgical techniques and approaches to analgesia varied, with use of a scalpel only (1,046/1,722 [60.7%]) and perioperative administration of injectable opioids (1,933/2,482 [77.9%]) most commonly reported. Responses to opinion questions in regard to the degree of pain associated with onychectomy and recovery; whether declawing is a form of mutilation, is necessary in some cats for behavioral reasons, or is a necessary alternative to euthanasia in some cats; and whether state organizations should support a legislative ban on onychectomy differed significantly between respondents who did and did not perform the procedure.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Onychectomy is a controversial topic, and this was reflected in survey results. In this sample, most veterinarians performing the procedure reported that they did so infrequently, and most offered nonsurgical alternatives to the procedure.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


OBJECTIVE To survey practicing veterinarians regarding their perceptions of and experiences with cases of suspected or confirmed animal abuse and related state laws.

DESIGN Cross-sectional study.

POPULATION Members of the Veterinary Information Network (VIN; n = 34,144) who were in veterinary practice at the time of the survey.

PROCEDURES A survey was designed and distributed online to all VIN members from January 26 to February 28, 2015. Responses were compiled, and binary logistic regression analysis was performed to identify factors that influenced decisions or perceptions regarding animal abuse encounters and related legislation.

RESULTS 1,209 completed surveys were received (3.5% response rate); 1,155 (95.5%) surveys were submitted by currently practicing veterinarians. One thousand five (87.0%) practicing veterinarians reported having encountered at least 1 case of animal abuse while in practice; 561 (55.8%) of these veterinarians indicated that they had reported at least 1 case. The most common reasons selected for reporting abuse were to protect the animal, ethical beliefs, and to protect other animals in the household. The most common reasons selected for not reporting the abuse were uncertainty that the animal had been abused, belief that client education would be better, and belief that the injury or illness was accidental versus intentional. Most respondents were unaware of the current status of laws in their state regarding animal abuse reporting.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results suggested a need for state and national veterinary and humane-law enforcement organizations to increase communication and education efforts on recognition and reporting by veterinarians of animal abuse and the related laws.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association