Declawing Rabbits is Unnecessary and Cruel
Here are some facts that you should consider before making a decision:
1. This is a PAINFUL operation and they have to walk on the surgery sites for several days while healing takes place. When a declaw is done, the bone that the claw is attached to is either severed or removed and there is a large hole that has to be either sewed or glued shut. In some cases, there can be chronic pain at the surgery site. It is interesting that in Europe most vets would not even CONSIDER such an operation in a rabbit. It would be deemed cruelty to animals.
2. Rabbits do not have retractable claws like a cat which means they use them ALL the time for traction. Rabbits that are declawed have more problems with traction, particularly on smooth surfaces. This can lead to splay leg conditions, particularly if the rabbit is sedentary or overweight.
3. Complications are common after a rabbit is declawed. Rabbits have less loose skin at the ends of their toes, so closing the surgery site is much more difficult, and crippling infection is common. Rabbits do not have cushioned pads on the bottoms of their toes like cats do, so they walk more ON the surgical site. This makes healing slower and increases the complication rate. Rabbits, unlike cats, will often gnaw at a painful area, and may mutilate their toes after declawing has been performed.
4. When a rabbit is declawed it cannot scratch its ears with its back feet, a necessary part of the system for cleaning ears. Ear wax will accumulate irritating the rabbit and predisposing it to ear infections.
There are easy alternatives that accomplish the same goal as declawing,, i.e. people don’t get scratched and the house doesn’t get dug up. The most common reason for declawing a rabbit is to prevent it from scratching people when picked up. Two easy solutions are to use SOFT PAWS (nail covers designed for cats, easy to apply, held in place with glue, comfortable to wear), or to simply use a thick towel and “burrito” your rabbit each and every time. This will completely solve the problem.
5. For rabbits that like to dig or scratch, construct an exercise pen out of a dog exercise pen material (usually metal panels that slip together to make any shape to keep the rabbit from getting into corners to dig. Protect corners or digging spots with heavy plastic rub covers (like the kind they put under office furniture).. Make sure your rabbit is spayed or neutered; digging decreases dramatically after neutering. Be patient if your rabbit is an adolesct. Many grow out of these behaviors. Work with an hrs educator or vet who can help with training procedures.