Jag is a 9-year-old indoor cat who recently developed a limp in his left front leg. Tammy reports no known history of trauma, although Jag likes to perch on objects and leap to the floor.

When Tammy took a close look at Jag's leg, she noticed he seemed touchy around his toes and thought she felt a scab on one of the toes. Unfortunately, Jag allowed only one quick check. Tammy was glad Jag did not have his front claws.

Jag will need to visit his veterinarian to be examined. It may be necessary to use a light anesthesia to allow a thorough evaluation and, if warranted, radiographs.

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Because Jag has no front claws. When Jag had his front claws removed, there might have been some tissue left behind. This may have allowed for regrowth of part of the claw, which might then break through the skin and cause discomfort. Perhaps that is the scab Tammy thought she felt.

Both front feet should be radiographed just in case this problem is smoldering in another toe.

When a cat is declawed, a procedure known as onychectomy, there are two widely used techniques. One involves a cutting process where a portion of the third digit of the toe, the one containing the nail, is cut, removing the area from which the nail grows. If this growth area is not removed entirely, the nail will attempt to grow back. The second technique involves removal of the entire third digit of the toe by dissection between the second and third digit. This technique does not allow for any chance of regrowth of the nail. Incidentally, declawing is something much less commonly done in cats. It is an uncomfortable procedure that can alter a cat's behavior.

If Jag is regrowing a nail, he will have to have it removed. In this case, it would be recommended that the third digit be dissected away, as in the second technique. Hopefully, there are no other digits involved, but if so, they will have to be handled at the same time.

It will be important to manage Jag's pain. With proper, thorough pain control, this procedure should be well tolerated and return Jag to a limp-free life.


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