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August 6th, 2004, 08:44 AM
HI, Our vet wants us to have out Shih Tzu's dewclaws removed.
Has anyone ever heard of this or had it done to their dog.
I don't know what to do, I have 2 cats and never had them declawed because I don't believe in it. The vet said if we don't remove her dewclaws they could be ripped off and she could bleed to death.
I am wondering how painful this would be to her and what the recovery is like. Would she still be able to walk etc?

August 6th, 2004, 08:47 AM
That's quite unusual. I've never heard of that happening before. I don't think its necessary to do that.

August 6th, 2004, 08:48 AM
I don't know much about declaws, sorry. But many people have had them removed for their dogs. If they do get caught on something it could be potentially dangerous, I am not sure just how frequent this does happen though... My dog still has her declaw and my cat has all his claws. It really think that this is a decision that you should make on your own and a vet should not be implying that your dog would die if you "neglected" to remove it's declaws....

Bill & Bob
August 6th, 2004, 09:36 AM
You have to consider how much running your pooch does and over what type of terrain. If the dog goes running really hard through long grass, woodsy type areas the dew claw could get caught on something. My pooch had the nail ripped out of his at the park one day when he was running really hard to fetch a kong. Bled quite a bit initially, but had all but stopped by the time we got home 10 minutes later. Now understand, that was just the nail that came off. The claw itself is barely held on by a piece of cartilage and if that comes off you'll be looking at more blood, more pain, more of an issue to deal with. Usually this is done when they are really young. Haven't heard of people doing this with a dog that's not a puppy.

Lucky Rescue
August 6th, 2004, 10:11 AM
Bill is right. If the dewclaw is just floppy and hanging on by tissue, it's sometimes advisable to have it removed.

If the dewclaw is firmly attached, then removing it is a very painful surgery for the dog, and often has complications, like infection.

August 6th, 2004, 11:57 AM
Den-Den's were removed when he was just days old. I will say that my previous poodle had his and there were no problems until he was about 15yo. We put a hassock by our bed so he could continue to jump up on our bed in his old age. One day jumping down, he caught the front dewclaw and tore it. It didn't bleed alot but it was quite painful for about a week after. Our two poodles before him never had a problem. My pop's yorkieX had dewclaws that grew really really fast. If you didn't stay right on it, they would grow right around into a circle. The long hair hid them.

August 6th, 2004, 11:57 AM
I have one dog with his dewclaws removed (BJ) and one dog that doesn't have them removed (Candi). I personally don't worry about the dewclaws becuase my dogs don't run around in woods or anything. (BJ had his removed before i got him). on the other hand when i lived in PA my naboirs hearded sheep and the one border collie didn't have his dewclaws removed and one got ripped off when he was hearding. it was very painful and he always had a limp after that and was no longer fit for herding. he became a non working dog after that but was never quite as happy as when he was working. if your dog isn't a work dog or won't be running around in underbrush i wouldn't do it. it is painful for them the only reason i would do it is if my dog were going to be a work dog, this may save him from a perminant limp if that was the case. I hope that help somewhat. I know it was kind of confusing.

August 6th, 2004, 12:53 PM
I never knew much about dewclaws either until coming on here. Still not sure on the purpose of them :confused:

Brick still has his, and all the other dogs I've ever owned had them, with no problems. Now Brick is very active and runs around a LOT in long grass and shrubs at the off leash park, and I'm always concerned about his dewclaws. He also plays on my parents deck with 2 cm slits between boards and that totally freaks me out!!! My vet didn't seem too concerned and didn't suggest any options other than watching where he runs (she's a big help! I need a new vet!) :mad:

August 6th, 2004, 01:02 PM
Thanks for all the responses. I am going to take a good look at her feet tonight and see if I think they would easily pull off. There is another 3 months until she gets fixed so I don't have to make up my mind yet.
I don't expect her to be running through the woods, but my luck she would find something to snag them on.
She will be going to the groomer every 6 weeks so her nails will be kept in good shape. I just didn't want her to have surgery she really didn't need.
Thanks :)

August 7th, 2004, 10:40 AM
I have two Golden Retrievers. When we took them to the Vet for the first time I asked about having their dewclaws removed since the breeders had not had this done. My vet told me if you don't have them removed in their first two weeks that you should not have them removed as there is a major blood vessel near the area and it is not worth the risk. Also he stated that it is very painful since in reality they are removing a "toe". The vets that recommend this at a later stage may be questionable as to their motives. The way your vet presented the subject I would consider getting a new vet.

August 7th, 2004, 09:31 PM
We've removed many dewclaws over the years of working at the animal hospital. It's not like DECLAWING a cat at all. Many differences. I refuse to partake in DECLAWS. DEWCLAWS however are remnants of fifth toes. If these nails (dewies) are not trimmed on regular basis, the grow around in a circle and can pierce or even grow directly into the skin....which, yes, you can imagine very painful. Another common problem with dewies....they snag on carpet or couch or???? and in such cases cause injury and inflicts great pain. Unless you are prepared to trim all the time....much more often than the other nails, I would rec. removing them for your pets safety. It doesn't appear to be an extremely painful operation really at all. Since dewies are higher up on the foot the dog doesn't apply any pressure or walk on them. Use your own judgement and advice from a veterinarian you trust. Some dewclaws are more apt to causing future problems than others. Are your dogs dewies just on the hind legs? If they are fairly tight so to speak, ask about keeping them trimmed short often (the more you trim, the shorter they will remain.....the quick wil not grow as long/fast.) If it "hangs" there fairly loose, just get it done. I've had many dogs come in with their dewies ripped right off and it isn't pretty trust me. After the surgery is completethey have a small wrap bandage (usually vetrap or ? ) applied. Stitches (if not disolvable) usually are removed in about 8-12 days....give or take depending on your hospitals protocol. The dogs we have performed the procedure on haven't experienced any obvious trauma whatsoever and wake up with tails a wagging and wanting to eat and are able to walk fine (aside from being groggy) since as I mentioned they dont walk on this part of the foot. I wish you luck....hope this helps!

August 7th, 2004, 09:46 PM
If your vet has advised performing this at the time of her/his spaying/ neutering it is most likely for 2 reasons.......#1, easier on her/him...only needs to go under anesthetic once rather than twice at different times. and #2, easier on your pocketbook....only 1 anesthetic charge instead of 2.

August 9th, 2004, 09:31 AM
I also have a shih tzu, and considered getting the dewclaw removed, that is until a friend of mine had them removed on her dog. It was very painful for the dog, not to mention it became infected. The dewclaw removal was much more painful than the spay. It turns out that removing the dewclaw is like removing your thumb, especially if it is well attatched (by bone) I asked my vet, and was told it was pretty much unneccesary for small house dogs to have it done. She said that it was uncommon to see problems in dogs that dont do a lot of running outdoors, but should be considered for working dogs. They will not even remove a dewclaw attatched by bone. My mom and dad have 2 small dogs as well ( a bichon and shih tzu bichon X) ages 12 and 1.5, no problems with either.

August 9th, 2004, 11:11 AM
Sorry to hear about the problems you experienced. That isn't all that common however, at least not in our practice. Ovariohysterectomy is a major surgery ....necessary mind you!!!! a dewclaw is still surgery but cannot imagine comparing it to major abdominal surgery. As I say, the dogs we removed dewies on seem raring to go after receovering from anesthesia.True, however, there may be complications, as in all surgeries......each comes along with risk of some sort. Larger dogs need dewies removed more often if active and are "loose" At the same time if your little one enjoys jumping onto and off of the sofa,etc. and the dewie is "loose"(hanging slightly and easy movement) then it should be removed. If it seems firm,etc or if your pet isnt active, I wouldn't worry too much about it and just keep an eye on him. Remember though, the most important role in all of this is your relationship with your veterinarian. Make sure this is someone you feel you can trust and feel comfortable working on your pet. If you are unsure....there is no harm whatsoever in requesting a 2nd opinion. Done all the time. If your vet is on the level, they will not be offended at all but rather respect your loyalty to your pet. Good luck with your decision shihtzu Lover!

August 9th, 2004, 11:21 AM
Thanks very much everyone.
Her dewclaws are very lose, almost hanging by a thread. I think I will have them removed when she gets fixed. I would hate anything to happen to her if we don't remove them.
I trust our vet very much. He has been our vet for 5 years now since we first got our cats. He probably told use straight out about them ripping off an bleeding to death because he has seen it happen.
Thanks again everyone

August 9th, 2004, 11:25 AM
In that case, you're making the best decision for your pet. I have seen 1st hand dogs that have had them torn off. It can be very very tramatic, stressful, and dangerous for the animal. So allowing your veterinarian to remove them surgically is the right choice if they are hanging loosely. Don't worry, I am sure everything will be fine! Let us know how it goes.....I'm willing to bet you'll have trouble keeping her from bouncing and running about the day after surgery! *L*

August 9th, 2004, 12:57 PM
Maybe you should ask your vet to send home some antibiotics after having the dewclaws removed. I've worked at a total of 5 vet clinics over my time as a vet tech and have found that 7/10 dewclaw Sx's get infected. You will have to take her back for regular bandage changes (some vets charge each time, personally, I think that should be included with the Sx bill) and you Will have to keep the cone on as she will probably try to chew at the sutures.

I have 3 dogs, only one was born with rear dewclaws, she still has them, she's a big dog and we live on 1 acre, so she runs. She's never had any problems with them. Lucky??? She was 6 mths and already spay when I "aquired" her. So unless there is a problem, I choose not to have them removed.
It's all personal choice and if you Shih Tzu is going to be spay....might aswell while she's under. After the Sx, just watch the sites for swelling, discharge, redness, odour and hot to touch. Any of these can indicate infection.

However...front dewclaws in my opinion should never be removed.

;) Good luck and it's great that you have found a vet that you know and trust!

August 9th, 2004, 03:32 PM
This is off the subject, but my foster puppy (abandonded at doorstep) had stitches for his dew claws that needed to come out. This puppy is about 4 months old. I can see why you might want them removed. My German Shepherd is very active and his hooked his a couple of times.