Rabbits do not have retractable claws, unlike cats. This is because rabbits rely on their claws to carry out a number of activities from digging to gaining adequate traction while hopping and jumping.
It is not recommended to declaw rabbits because it’s unfair and it’s also a painful procedure. Some people even consider it totally unnecessary to declaw a bunny. And they are not very wrong.
Rabbits are gentle and fragile creatures. They are herbivores and they don’t bite or scratch human skin. It, therefore, seems pointless to declaw a pet rabbit.
Cat owners, on the other hand, decide to declaw their pets because they scratch and damage their furniture and sometimes even harm the elderly and children in the house. It is not advisable to declaw any pet whether it’s a cat or a rabbit but for rabbits, it’s even more unfair because these animals need their claws for many different everyday tasks.
Let’s find out why it’s not recommended to declaw a bunny and how much the procedure costs if you have no choice but to declaw your rabbit.
Is It Safe to Declaw a Rabbit?
No, declawing is not a safe or harmless procedure. Rabbit owners may think that it will only prevent their bunnies from digging the ground. Little do they know that it also brings on a number of other serious complications that may even lead to the death of a rabbit in some cases.
When the rabbit wakes up after surgery, she will be in great pain. Moreover, she will permanently experience back discomfort and recurrent postoperative pain along with a possibility of infections and toe pad calluses.
In some cases, nail regrowth occurs beneath the skin, which itself is very painful. Instead of declawing, you can safely opt for nail trimming or using nail caps to address the issues of digging and scratching.
The veterinary community all over the world is becoming increasingly convinced that such surgery should never be performed. Some vets outright refuse to declaw any pet be it a cat or a rabbit. Others may agree to perform it but none of them recommends it.
How Much Does It Cost to Declaw a Rabbit?
Declawing involves cutting off the bone to which the claw is linked. When this is performed, it leaves quite big a gap that has to be stitched together. A declawed rabbit is not capable of scratching or itching with her rear leg.
Amputation is performed with the help of a scalpel or guillotine clipper. Afterward, the surgeon may use stitches or surgical glue to close the wound. Some vets also use laser surgery to declaw rabbits. However, even with a laser, the long-term effects of this procedure are still experienced.
An alternative to declawing is called tendonectomy in which the tendon that controls the claw is severed. The claw is there but the rabbit is still unable to scratch or dig the ground. This kind of procedure also has its own side effects and it’s not recommended at all.
Declawing is considered a brutal treatment in many parts of the world. A conscientious vet will not allow you to have your rabbit declawed. But since it’s possible to declaw an animal for convenience, some vets offer to perform the procedure for a cost of $50 to $100. Laser surgery may be a bit more expensive.
Remember, declawing is an irreversible procedure. Your rabbit will never be able to enjoy scratching, digging, and itching with her rear legs. This can have long-term behavioral effects on her well-being.
What Happens When You Declaw a Rabbit?
Declawing is a painful and traumatic procedure for any animal be it a cat, a dog, or a rabbit. Pet owners declaw their pets for their own benefits. For the animal, however, it’s a permanently crippling procedure.
The procedure involves removing the last bone of each toe, which is like cutting off each finger at the last knuckle in humans.
You can imagine how excruciating it can be and how unnecessary for the animal. A rabbit will not gain any health benefits from having to go through this procedure.
This type of bone-amputation surgery can totally change a rabbit’s life. She may become anxious and nervous because she is now unable to perform the very basic activities she was once used to like digging and scratching.
Some bunnies would even get depressed, stop eating, and lose interest in everything after being declawed. Another possible outcome of declawing a bunny is splay limb syndrome, which is more common in inactive and overweight rabbits.
Every so often declawing a rabbit produces a totally opposite effect in these animals. While the owner might be trying to make them safer around children, declawed rabbits may become anxious and start biting as a kind of self-defense.
How to Have Your Bunny Upkeep Her Nails?
If you don’t want to declaw your rabbit or even have her nails trimmed by a vet, allow her to keep them trimmed by herself. It is recommended to have your bunny move around on a hard surface like a slab of plywood every day.
Since a rabbit’s nails are not retractable, by walking on a hard surface her front nails will be naturally maintained.
Declawing animals is illegal in many parts of the world including New York. It is therefore not recommended to declaw your rabbits. It is ok to have their nails trimmed every now and then if you are worried about scratching and other issues.
It is also good to know that bunnies are able to keep their nails short in the wild. When rabbits dig burrows, the activity naturally prevents their nails from growing excessively long. But pet rabbits are not used to this type of extensive digging around. As a result, they might be in need of manual nail trimming.
While it’s not recommended, if you absolutely have to declaw your rabbit, you should know that the procedure will cost anywhere around $50 to $100 depending on your location.
Declawing a rabbit may give rise to a number of other health problems. Moreover, declawed rabbits find it difficult to gain traction, particularly on smooth surfaces. So, keep all these points in mind if you have plans to get your rabbit declawed.