Mutilation Of Dogs – Cutting Off Vocal Cords

Until recently, people performed all kinds of mutilation of dogs, and had no problems with it. Cupping the ears, docking the tail or cutting off the vocal cords are just a few examples. The good news is that these methods are now illegal. The bad news is that people continue to carry them out illegally.
Mutilation of dogs - cutting of vocal cords

As a society as a whole, we have developed a lot when it comes to animal abuse, and how we look at animal welfare. This is because, until fairly recently, people still believed that mutilating dogs (docking the tail, cupping ears or cutting the vocal cords to perform debarking) was a necessary practice. Fortunately, we have seen a reversal of this trend and this type of intervention is now illegal – with some exceptions. (We explain these exceptions below.)

Of all the various morally wrong interventions, this article will focus on debarking, a type of surgery.

Mutilation of dogs – debarking

This intervention consists of surgically removing the tissue from the dog’s vocal cords to prevent the dog from whining and barking, among other things. This practice is currently illegal in many countries.

Some reforms take into account several aspects related to the welfare of pets and the activities of veterinary clinics. One of these is mutilation of dogs as a common practice. But there are established exceptions. That is, the purpose of each mutilation must be therapeutic or to restore health. If an owner requests or suggests debarking, the veterinarian must provide the following response:

  • First, the veterinarian must carefully evaluate the need for such an intervention. The veterinarian must consider whether this need meets strict medical criteria, such as tumors, infections or other diseases.
  • Secondly, this practice is strictly prohibited when there is no medical justification for it. Ignoring this is a crime.

However, a veterinarian must perform an operation on this if the animal’s welfare is at stake. If the veterinarian decides to operate, the operation must be performed when the dog is under general anesthesia. The veterinarian must also provide appropriate sanitation guarantees.

Dog licks around the mouth.

Debarking – a form of mutilation of dogs

Most debarking surgeries that have been performed have unfortunately been intended to make a dog stop barking. The need to surgically remove the vocal cords due to medical reasons is very rare. It is true that these types of complications can occur, but it is not very common.

Unfortunately, many of its procedures are also very often performed by people without medical training. This is outrageous when you think of common types of aesthetic mutilation, but especially reprehensible when it comes to cutting the vocal cords. This is because this type of intervention can lead to horrible side effects that unnecessarily affect the animal’s well-being.

A necessary reflection

It is difficult to talk about such a controversial topic without being deceived by one’s own morals and professional ethics. It is true that throughout my career I have witnessed specific cases of people wanting such an intervention for their dog. But there are better options.

Every veterinarian can understand difficult circumstances. Some dogs are difficult to train, while others are traumatized and have complex anxiety disorders. There are also sensitive situations such as complaining neighbors, or family members, who can not stand a barking dog.

In any case, there are alternative methods that are much less invasive and do not lead to bad side effects. It is never right to humanize animals, but in this case, people need to understand the seriousness of this intervention. Of course, our readers would find it outrageous to cut off their children’s vocal cords so that they do not cry at night. The situation is just as awful when we talk about non-human animals.

Boxer with tongue out.

Final thoughts

Dogs have a complex communication system that includes vocalization. Thus, a debarking operation not only prevents a dog from barking, but it also removes the dog’s ability to verbally communicate with both humans and animals in its vicinity. As you may understand, it can lead to more serious long-term problems, such as aggression and other types of behavioral problems.

Finally, I want to reiterate that you do not have to deal with this practice of debarking if you have a problem with a barking dog. Instead, you should remember that all veterinarians must ensure the well-being of the animals they treat, and most of the time they are very committed. I therefore encourage you to go to your veterinarian and discuss all the possible options available to solve problems with a barking dog.

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