Cosmetic surgery for pets?
You may read this title and think this sounds crazy, however this is an extremely common practice. In order for a surgery to qualify as “Cosmetic”, the definition states that any procedure deemed medically unnecessary be performed by choice.
Do you ever sit back and wonder why Dobermans must get their ears cropped? Or who decided that Boxers are better with stubby tails? Has the fond memory of your dog running up to greet you, tail wagging and ears blowing in the wind gone out of style? So when did all of these ideas about what our pets “should” look like start taking control of our pet’s appearance?
The practice of tail docking began centuries ago when long tails were thought to bring on rabies and weaken the back of the animal. In the 1700’s there was even a tax placed on long tailed working breeds. Some hunting dogs might have had their tails bobbed to prevent potential injuries that could be brought on with a wagging tail during a hunt. Unfortunately, after the threat of a hefty tax went away, the practice had already caught on big time. Bring this all up to modern times, and the practice is just about 100% cosmetic. Simply type “tail docking” into your search engine of choice to see what a truly repulsive (not to mention completely avoidable) practice it is. The procedure is referred to as a literal amputation because of the tail being just as painful to remove as a limb.
Now let’s talk about the ears. This began long ago and was to be used for dogs who might potentially run into an attacker. This could be while hunting for prey or even while defending the farm’s livestock. The ears were shortened so that predators could not get a hold of the floppy ears and cause harm. However, in recent medical studies, PetMD has concluded that “Current veterinary science provides no medical, physical, environmental or cosmetic advantage to the animal from the procedure (of ear cropping)”. So, if the practice was only deemed helpful for dogs who may encounter a fight while “working”; a household pet should never be put into a potentially harmful situation in the first place, right?
Why then are these practices still so widely accepted in the USA? A simple internet search returns hundreds of local “cheap” options in less than a second. I guess it really is hard to break a habit, even if it is a bad one. Luckily, many countries have jumped on board with the goal of healthier pets. Some have even placed a ban which makes it illegal to crop the ears or dock the tails. They call the practice “unnecessary, painful, cruel or mutilation”. Ultimately this leads to WAY too much unnecessary pain for your poor pet.
Some of you might disagree with my position, but I have a lovable full tailed Aussie Shepherd mix and a floppy eared Pit Bull mix at home and I couldn’t be happier!
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