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Banfield Stops Offering Tail Dock, Ear Crop Procedures

The Banfield Hospital of Portland, Oregon, has announced that the processes of ear cropping and tail docking will no longer take place for cosmetic reasons.

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Banfield, The Pet Hospital, of Portland, Ore., reported July 27 that it will no longer perform ear cropping and tail docking surgeries on dogs for cosmetic reasons.

The company, which has more than 730 veterinary hospitals in the United States, said the decision was made with the overall health and wellness of pets in mind. The change in medical protocol was approved  by Banfield’s Medical Standards Board, an internal panel of veterinarians responsible for evaluating all medical standards and procedures. It’s a decision that Banfield  says it has been considering for some time.

“After thoughtful consideration and reviewing medical research, we have determined it is in the best interest of the pets we treat, as well as the overall practice, to discontinue performing these unnecessary cosmetic procedures,” said Karen Faunt, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM, vice president for medical quality advancement for Banfield. “It is our hope that this new medical protocol will help reduce, and eventually eliminate, these cosmetic procedures altogether.”

Banfield maintains that there is little scientific evidence that such procedures benefit dogs, even though they were typically performed according to breed standards.

“Banfield’s approach to veterinary medicine focuses on procedures and services that are proven to benefit the health and wellness of a pet,” said Karen Johnson, DVM, vice president and client advocate for Banfield. “While we do not support unnecessary cosmetic procedures, we will continue to perform tail amputations and ear surgeries for our patients as deemed medically necessary.”

Banfield’s announcement is timely, as the American Veterinary Medical Association recently decided to reject Resolution 4 at the House of Delegates on July 10 during its annual convention in Seattle, Wash. The resolution, submitted by the Utah Veterinary Medical Association, would have eased the AVMA policy, which opposes ear cropping and tail docking when done solely for cosmetic reasons.

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