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The Ethical Quandary of Declawing Cats and Tail Docking Dogs: My Journey as a Vet Tech

As a former vet tech, I took the Veterinary Technician Oath to heart, pledging to alleviate animal suffering and promote public health. However, I was faced with a moral dilemma when I was forced to participate in practices like declawing cats and docking dogs' tails, which I consider to be forms of mutilation.

Declawing Cats: A Controversial Practice:

Declawing, also known as onychectomy, involves the surgical removal of a cat's claws. Contrary to popular belief, declawing is not a simple nail trim; it is a painful procedure that involves amputating the last bone of each toe. This procedure can lead to long-term physical and psychological issues for cats, including chronic pain and behavioral problems.

Tail Docking in Dogs: A Painful Tradition:

Tail docking is the removal of a portion of a dog's tail, usually done for cosmetic purposes. Like declawing, tail docking is a painful procedure that can have long-lasting effects on a dog's physical and emotional well-being. It can lead to complications such as infection, nerve damage, and chronic pain.

The Veterinary Technician Oath: A Broken Promise?

The Veterinary Technician Oath emphasizes the importance of providing excellent care and services for animals, alleviating animal suffering, and promoting public health. However, forcing vet techs to participate in procedures like declawing and tail docking seems to contradict these principles.


As a vet tech, I faced a moral dilemma when I was asked to participate in procedures that I believe cause extreme suffering to animals. I made the difficult decision to change careers because I could not reconcile my ethical beliefs with the practices I was being asked to perform. It's time for us to reevaluate these practices and prioritize the well-being of animals above all else.

declawing cats, tail docking dogs, veterinary technician, ethical dilemma, animal suffering


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