DEAR DR. FOX: Are you aware of the newest version of declawing cats, which is a laser surgery procedure? It only removes the nail itself.
I am truly a cat lover, but I would never consider having a cat that hasn't been declawed. I've been in the ER several times from a cat's scratch. -- C.W., West Palm Beach, Florida
DEAR C.W.: I maintain my continued assertion that declawing cats is an inhumane mutilation -- an unwarranted decision of convenience for people who do not want their furniture upholstery damaged.
A description of the procedure you cite, from 365petinsurance.com, explains that it is essentially very similar to traditional declawing: "Despite its higher cost, declawing with lasers is much simpler than the traditional declawing. It's similar to traditional declawing in that it removes the third toe bone. However, the toe bone is removed with a laser and not a scalpel."
People who are immunocompromised and might get scratched, or who do not know how to safely handle, socialize and communicate with cats, should first read my book "Cat Body, Cat Mind." They should then decide if a cat with intact claws should be in their lives. If one is already in their lives and has not been declawed, this book offers viable and time-tested alternatives.
DRUG GIVEN ON RACE DAY HARMS MANY HORSES
According to a study, American thoroughbred racehorses given furosemide on race day were at 62% increased odds of sudden death compared to those not given the medication. The study, published in October in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medicine Association, also found multiple other risk factors associated with sudden death, which related to race circumstances and the horses' individual histories.
Study authors based their findings on data extracted from the Equine Injury Database, which holds detailed records of 92.2% of all official race starts made in the United States and Canada during the study period. Furosemide was administered to 94% of horses in the study, but the authors cautioned that more research is needed to understand the association with sudden deaths. (Full study: "Fifteen risk factors associated with sudden death in thoroughbred racehorses in North America [2009–2021]," Euan Bennet and Tim Parkin; Journal of the American Veterinary Medicine Association; Oct. 20, 2022. Link: doi.org/10.2460/javma.22.08.0358)
Furosemide is an anti-bleeding medication used by veterinarians in horse racing to prevent respiratory bleeding in horses running at high speeds. Blood entering the lungs during high physical activity can cause a pulmonary hemorrhage and result in death. Furosemide's diuretic actions reduce the severity of lung bleeding by reducing blood volume, and therefore reducing blood flow and pulmonary arterial pressure. The diuretic action results in a loss of sodium, potassium and chloride in the urine and predisposes horses to electrolyte abnormalities, which can affect heart function and cause a heart attack.
Surely, no matter how spirited young horses may be, they should not be forced to such extreme exertion, nor be given this potentially fatal medication. And all for what purpose -- money? It is telling that one factor associated with higher death rates was the prize for the race: The higher the purse for winning, the higher the mortalities.
After millennia of exploitation and abuse, it is surely time for humans to assess all of our relationships with other animals and to begin to make amends.
(Send all mail to email@example.com or to Dr. Michael Fox in care of Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106. The volume of mail received prohibits personal replies, but questions and comments of general interest will be discussed in future columns.
Visit Dr. Fox’s website at DrFoxOneHealth.com.)