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Debarking Dogs Becoming a Trend in Urban Environments But Not Without Criticism - National Pet Rescue | Examiner.Com

Animals  (tags: devocalization, animalcruelty, AnimalWelfare, animaladvocates, animalrights, dogs, pets, sadness )

Dianne Ly
- 634 days ago -
The surgical procedure called vocal cordectomy is becoming more popular, but not without controversy. The surgical procedure of snipping a dog's vocal chords make most people cringe with disgust. After all dogs bark to gain attention.

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Dianne Lynn Eakin (731)
Sunday November 25, 2012, 5:38 pm

Past Member (0)
Sunday November 25, 2012, 6:20 pm
If you debark an animal, you should have to be "debarked" yourself. This is barbaric, can you imagine the angst of animals that cannot bark? Thank you.

Lydia S. (172)
Sunday November 25, 2012, 8:22 pm
It really should be illegal !

Lydia S. (172)
Sunday November 25, 2012, 8:23 pm
Already signed petition .

Dianne Lynn Eakin (731)
Sunday November 25, 2012, 8:36 pm
How stupid can people be,when you get a dog you know it barks...if you don't want to hear it bark;why the hell would you get one??!!

naomi cohen (51)
Sunday November 25, 2012, 9:11 pm
sickened and signed.

Leslene Dunn (73)
Sunday November 25, 2012, 10:05 pm
Noted - Goddam wicked humans - how else would animals communicate! Retarded lot of idiots!

Danuta Watola (1191)
Monday November 26, 2012, 3:25 am

Christeen Anderson (474)
Monday November 26, 2012, 3:38 am

Barbara Erdman (63)
Monday November 26, 2012, 6:15 am
Noted and signed Dianne :0 :) Thnx

Sandi C. (242)
Monday November 26, 2012, 6:44 am
signed. thanks dianne lynn.

Lenicka R. (64)
Monday November 26, 2012, 3:22 pm
Noted and signed

Gael S. (0)
Friday November 30, 2012, 11:58 am
I have to admit disappointment and frustration at the slew of articles showing up discussing "debarking" AKA devocalization and I am aghast at the number of people who are posting information about this procedure that is blatantly false, either because they have received bad info and did not bother to verify, or because groups masquerading as an animal welfare groups but with close ties to the animal rights agenda, are intentionally spreading deceitful information as they did in MA several years ago.

Devocalization is a misnomer, since dogs who undergo this quick, simple procedure can still bark, just not as loudly. The dog is lightly anesthetized and the vet does down the throat and makes one or two SMALL notches in the vocal folds, using a biopsy punch, cautery tool or laser (the last two result in absolutely NO bleeding). As I have personally seen this procedure done, I can attest to the technique with far more accuracy than the alarmists who are pushing to make this procedure illegal.

The technique involves going down the dog's throat through the mouth and making a small notch in the dog's vocal fold. Claims that the vocal cords are removed is incorrect. Claims that the dog can no longer bark is also incorrect. Claims that it is painful to the dog or that the dog behaves differently after the procedure can only be spread by someone who has never been around a dog that has had a dog bark softened. Researchers in Australia report that a dog’s bark is audible at up to 65 ft following bark softening which cannot be considered “devocalized” or “debarked”.

When it is pointed out that bark softening is valuable as a last option for problem barkers, groups that oppose the practice argue that bark softening does not prevent dogs from being surrendered to shelters as bark softened dogs can be found in shelters. While I agree with this assertion, one must also point out that those dogs are almost certainly not being turned in because of the barking. Excess barking is only one reason why dogs are surrendered to shelters and not the leading reason.

In reading responses from obviously caring people, it’s important to discuss canine communication since the emotional cry of “taking away a dog’s voice” is a major component in the misleading information spouted by AR groups in an effort to sway the general public. Barking is only one type of canine communication and in fact, not the major means used. Dogs primary means of communicate is with body language, smell and a series of yips and growls that bark softened dogs are capable of, even following the surgery. A good resource is The Domestic Dog; Its Evolution, Behavior and Interactions with People. (James Serpell/Paperback/1996)

As for claims that the surgery is dangerous, I can only respond as a medical professional with almost 30 years in practice: all surgeries have inherent risks that include infection and hemorrhage. While difficulty breathing, chronic gagging or difficulty eating/swallowing can occur, the incidence is extremely rare. When compared to spay/neuter surgery, the risks involved with bark softening are significantly less and the side effects infinitesimally lower.

The American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Animal Hospital Association and even the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) all oppose legislation that will make this procedure illegal. So, here we have the predominant veterinary medical associations and a animal welfare/animal rights group saying exactly what proponents of bark softening have been saying for years; bark softening is a valid alternative to dealing with excessive barking in dogs when other forms of training have failed.

Certain breeds have a predisposition to bark. While it’s easy to say not to obtain one of these dogs, people's living circumstances change. Should one have to give an excessively verbal dog away if they have to move because of financial or job changes? Come on folks! Can't we stop being so judgmental and appreciate that someone cares enough to have this simple, quick surgery performed rather than surrendering their noisy canine to a shelter?

I wish people would do some research before they react from their gut. Animal rights groups are using every means possible to "rid" the American household of our beloved animal companions.

Walter Christensen (0)
Friday November 30, 2012, 2:33 pm
This article is full of Animal Rights (HSUS/PETA) rhetoric and little actual knowledge of bark softening. Yes, indeed, some breeds bark more than others. And, some individual dogs bark more than others. The article implies that these breeds/dogs shouldn't exist because they bark. But they DO exist and euthanasia for this can be avoided by this simple surgery.

Bark softening is a MUCH less invasive surgery than spaying or neutering. The dog goes in to the vet, is put under light anesthesia, a clip is made in the vocal cords. The dog wakes up, goes home and is barking (only softer), playing and eating that day. It is a bloodless procedure.

Contrast this with spaying where the female is put under heavy sedation. the skin, muscles and ligaments of the stomach are cut open. There is much blood... The uterus is pulled out of the stomach cavity and then cut out. If the severed blood vessels aren't clamped properly during surgery and the many layers of muscles, ligaments, skin, and those same blood vessels aren't properly sutured, the female will bleed to death. The recovery time is 1 to 2 weeks of quiet lest these stitches pop and additional surgery is needed. Neutering the male is nearly as invasive and potentially deadly.

So, why is it okay to mandate such a severe surgery as spaying and neutering but not let a minor surgery as bark softening be done?

This is no time to be silent. Interestingly, my post from last evening has disappeared. Uh oh, better not tell the truth. Better not try to educate anyone... heaven forbid!

To those opponents of bark softening, I have yet to see a reasonable, rational objection. Instead, I see emotional outbursts based on completely inaccurate information contained in the original article. I see no research to back up claims that bark softening is painful, cruel or mutilating.

Bark softening is a SIMPLE, QUICK procedure that in the 30 years I have been involved in the dog fancy, I have never seen done as described/pictured. The dog is lightly anesthetized and the vet does down the throat and makes one or two SMALL notches in the vocal folds, using a biopsy punch, cautery tool or laser (the last two result in absolutely NO bleeding). As I have personally seen this procedure done, I can attest to the technique with far more accuracy than the alarmists who are pushing to make this procedure illegal.

Cetude: In comparison to spay surgery, which is major surgery where an abdominal incision is made, the ovaries and uterus are removed, the incisions are sutured or to neuter, where the testicles are removed via a surgical incision in the scrotum which also must be sutured closed, the risk of bleeding and infection are much higher. Try as you will to deny this, it is STILL the facts! Complications of neuter, besides infection and bleeding, also include increased risk (as high as quadruple) of certain cancers (prostate, bone, urinary tract, cardiac hemangiosarcomas, prostate), tripled risk of hypothyroidism and obesity, and increased risk of adverse reaction to vaccination. In females, spay also increases the risk of obesity, hypothyroidism and vaccination reaction, it also increases the risk of cancers of the spleen, heart, bone, spay incontinence as high as 20%, persistent urinary tract infections, urinary tract tumors and orthopedic disorders.

AnimalAdvocate: The AVMA's official position on bark softening is: (Approved by the AVMA Executive Board June 2002; reaffirmed April 2008; oversight: Animal Welfare Committee)
Canine devocalization should only be performed by qualified, licensed veterinarians as a final alternative after behavioral modification efforts to correct excessive vocalization have failed.

So, here we have the predominant veterinary medical association saying exactly what all of us have been saying; bark softening is a valid alternative to dealing with excessive barking in dogs when other forms of training have failed. Who would you have us believe.... unknown vets who do not perform this procedure? The Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association is the 'veterinary arm' of the radial animal rights group, HSUS (Humane Society of the United States). It does not carry the experise and prestige that the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) does and between the two organizations, the AVMA wins out, hands down!
I am a dog breeder so the emotionally charged here classify me as a 'puppy mill'. We have 7 intact adult dogs and breed an average of one or 2 litters per year. The care that responsible breeders give their dogs does not allow for a 'profit' when you factor in costs of food and veterinary care versus any money made by selling 3 - 4 puppies. My dogs don't live in chicken coops. They are crated only while we are gone or overnight or during periods of bad weather when we might have to move them quickly into the storm shelter. While the media covers puppy mill raids, televising the conditions, this is NOT the norm for the responsible breeder. I have been to the homes of several sheltie breeders posting here and can attest to the conditions their dogs are kept in.... you should be so lucky to live in such a home!

And finally, its important to discuss canine communication. Its a well known fact that wild dogs and wolves seldom bark once they mature past adolescence and experts state that barking is actually a result of domestication. Certain breeds have a genetic propensity to bark, such as the herding breeds.
Barking is only one means of canine communication and in fact, not the major means used. Dogs communicate with body language, smell (if you watch two dogs greet each other, they usually sniff each others hindquarters) and a series of yips and growls which bark softened dogs can still do. As has been said here repeatedly, bark softened dogs can STILL bark, just not as loudly.

Research done at the Humane Society of St. Joseph, Mishawaka, Indiana, by a team of veterinarians lead by Gary Patronek VMD, PhD, found that excessive barking was given as the cause in 41% of dogs surrendered for behavorial problems... almost HALF!! When you factor in the number of dogs surrendered in this country for behavioral issues and realize that almost half of those are due to barking, you simply cannot rationally deny that excessive barking leads to many dogs being euthanized in shelters. How many of these lives could have been saved had the owners known that bark softening was a viable option (as recognized by the AVMA.)

Elizabeth B. (0)
Friday November 30, 2012, 2:59 pm
Bark softening is NOT cruelty or torture. It is the equivalent of a tonsillectomy for a child - a one-time short procedure with a mild anesthetic. It allows the dog to still bark but with a lower volume and pitch so that neighbors are not bothered. Some breeds are BRED to bark - that was one of their original functions as a breed - to sound an alarm. In today's urbanized society, alarm barking can cause a dog to lose its home. What is better for a dog? A one-time minor surgical procedure that will allow the dog to be a good neighbor or another dog dumped in a shelter. What always amazes me is that people who oppose bark softening never have any knowledge of animal husbandry and never seem to object to spaying and neutering an animal which is a MAJOR life-threatening surgery proven by recent studies to have few health benefits and has been found in those studies to create health problems. Rip out the reproductive organs and make them more likely to develop future health problems but don't soften the bark and keep them in a home.
Debarking of dogs is a commonly misunderstood practice. The surgery that reduces the barking noise is more properly called “bark softening” as the dog is still able to “bark” following this procedure, but at a reduced volume. When performed by a skilled veterinarian, bark softening is an acceptable medical procedure. For many responsible dog owners, bark softening is the only alternative to euthanizing or surrendering their canine companion to a local shelter when their pet’s noisy behavior continually disturbs the community. Bark softening surgery limits the volume but not the amount of the barking. Bark softened dogs can still broadcast the approach of strangers, express their glee when family members come home, and announce their presence at the local dog park. They also get to stay in their homes even if they are persistent barkers. Many people who are opposed to this practice feel it limits a dog’s ability to communicate. While barking may be one way dogs communicate with their human owners, body language remains the primary means of communication. The decision to bark soften a dog is one that is best left to the dog owner and his/her veterinarian.
I oppose bans on bark softening because they:
1. Jeopardize an owner’s ability to keep a beloved pet.
2. Have the potential to place additional burdens on local shelters and rescues
3. Legitimize activist campaigns to restrict the rights of animal owners
4. Inject politics into practices that should remain the right and responsibility of animal owners and the medical professionals they consult.

I support the rights of owners and veterinarians to choose bark softening and urge veterinary schools to train veterinarians in the latest techniques in bark softening so they can continue to provide this valuable service to their clients’ dogs.
. Wake up and don't let a legislator dictate health care for your dog!! They are NOT vets.

Dianne Lynn Eakin (731)
Friday November 30, 2012, 11:47 pm
Sorry but the 3 of the above people prove to me that de-barking is ok and done humanly.please provide some links,info,or articles on your side of the story.But I stick with the thought that if you do not want to hear a dog bark then get a freaking gold fish.That is like having a baby and saying"I am tired of that damn baby crying...let's just cut his vocal cords out.I do not let the legislator or the vet to decide what to do with my animals,I choose what is best for them,and if I did not want to hear barking ....I sure as hell would not own 4
How bout we keep cats from meowing and hey while we are at it cut the legs of off our hamsters and gerbils because they make too much noise at night when I am trying to sleep??!!!
Spaying and neutering saves other animals,,,unwanted animals.
If animals were not supposed to bark or meow...they would not be born that way.If you get an animal you should love that animal NO MATTER WHAT.(my own personal opinion).

Lenicka R. (64)
Saturday December 1, 2012, 10:47 am
I did some homework Dianne and I think it's the best to ignore this 3 commentators .This are people that can only live with animals , perfect adapted to themselves . This are not people ,that ever will rescue an animal or take responsibility of an injured and handicapped animal of the street , like we do. This people call people like us emotional , and they do not mean it as a compliment. This people likes circuses , Zoos , hors dressage etc. because of tradition. Do you remember the story earlier this year of an great dog event that was always sponsored by Pedigree and they stopped the sponsoring of Pedigree , because Pedigree was sponsoring shelter animals ? We asked ourself what kind of animal/dog lovers this dog owners were , that they tried to forbid this sponsor to help shelter animals. Well , see above , you just meet 3 of them.
Walt called the reactions full of Peta rhetoric. For me personal it's comic.
When I say I hate Peta because of their high kill of shelter animals , they say I'm a Richard Berman follower (Center for Consumer Freedom) and when I say I 'm against vivisection , declawing and debarking and a vegan too , then I'm suddenly a Peta follower. Well . Walt , Gael and Elizabeth , I see you are not regular visitor of Care2 , the words animal care is not seen on your pages , so you maybe don't know that there are no followers in the animal groups here. There are only people that cares about animals in all his aspects. Care , and empathy, that they will not be abused for humans pleasure , not hurt for humans pleasure, not killed and not mutilated for humans pleasure , and everyone does it from its own conscience and emotion and on its own way.
Oh , and I'm a proud citizen of a country where declawing and debarking is forbidden.
And not of an intervention of animal rights groups but from the vets and the vet organizations themselves. And I know from them that they are disgusts about the US practices of declawing and debarking. , and that they tell it on all the conferences they are going to in the US . So , maybe you better do not teach us here that it is a harmless and undisputed practice and that the conviction of that came only from animal rights activists. We know better.

Lenicka R. (64)
Saturday December 1, 2012, 11:03 am

Florence Eaise (132)
Saturday December 1, 2012, 1:12 pm
@Walt, @Gael and @Elizabeth its QUITE appaerent you agree with devocalization which is sad really because it IS inhumane and torturous not t mention unnatural and disgusting im guessing you three have had YOUR pets devocalized and if so i feel sovery sorry for them BOTTOM LINE of YOU dont want to hear a bark or a meow the YOU SHOULDNT GET A CAT OR DOG!!!!!! If you have to change an animalin any way just so you can tolerate it then perhaps animals are NOT for you! Its disgusting and quite frankly disturbing and shameful that you three would publically come out and claim that devocalization isnt wrong or bad and to say an animal can still bark and meow after devocalization is pure BS my daughter is in veterinarian school and they are being taught that its an antiquated procedure and WILL be phased out as it is INHUMANE!!! so if veterinarians are teaching future vets that devocalization is inhumane & cruel and they are professionals i think ill listen to them instead of three aholes who would cut the vocal cords of an animal just so they dont have to hear the animal! YOU THREE SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELVES!!! Should we cut YOUR vocal cord since we DONT like whats coming out of your mouth? Im guessing you would be against devocalization then lmao sick sick people and now youve made me sick!

Florence Eaise (132)
Saturday December 1, 2012, 1:15 pm
also @Walt you need to STOP adding to the pet population problem with all that breeding more than one dog IS A PUPPY MILL!!!

Dianne Lynn Eakin (731)
Saturday December 1, 2012, 3:19 pm
Too soon to send green stars to you Lenicka and Florance,but sending much love and hugs,and my 4 dogs say"woof woof" to you both....oh and for the 3 idiots above that id doggie language for "thank you".

Gael Silverman (0)
Saturday December 1, 2012, 7:27 pm

What a shame that you, Florence and Lenicka can't seem to have a respectful discussion; instead, when someone disagrees, you start slinging mud. I am not going to stoop to your level, or that of Florence and Lenicka. I always have to wonder about people who, for whatever reason, are either unable or unwilling to consider any viewpoint but their own, especially when offered information and facts from people who have experience with that which they oppose. Being close minded is worse than stupidity, IMO.

I have been a Care2 member since 2010 and I know many people that don't wish to post for fear of being attacked and called names, such as "idiots" or "sick sick people" . I have experience and supported fact on my side and will continue to present it when challenged.

American Animal Hospital Association: "When deemed necessary, devocalization should be performed by a qualified, licensed veterinarians as a final alternative to relinquishment or euthanasia."

American Veterinary Medical Association: "Canine devocalization should only be performed by qualified licensed veterinarians as a final alternative after behavioral modification efforts to correct excessive vocalization have failed." (approved by the AVMA Executive Board June 2002; reaffirmed April 2008; oversight Animal Welfare Committee)

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals recommends that animal caretakers first attempt to address animal behavior problems with humane behavior modification techniques and/or with a treatment protocol set up by an animal behavior specialist. The ASPCA recommends surgery only if behavior modification techniques have failed and the animal is at risk of losing its ;home or its life.

World Small Animal Veterinary Association" There are a number of situations in which bark-activated devices and debarking surgery may be the most practical option. For example, dog owners who are confronted with immediately resolving the problem or being forced to relinquish their dog may not have the time to implement a correction program."

Vet Check: Ventriculocordectomy ("Debarking"): July 1, 2006 Mushing Magazine Dr Dawn Brown,DVM,,0,487

I have personally assisted in several bark softening surgeries as well as spay/neuter surgeries, c-sections and a mastectomy performed on a spayed bitch with breast cancer. The bark softening surgeries took less than 10 minutes and the dogs recovered with far less discomfort than those undergoing the more invasive surgeries. In addition, the bark softening surgeries were performed on dogs that were at risk of being surrender to rescue because the owners were facing legal actions because of excessive barking. The rescue group funded those surgeries and the dogs were returned to the owners who did not have to surrender their pets.

Florence: In the grand scheme of things, spay/neuter surgery is unnatural and far more painful to the animal than bark softening. The number of animals in shelters has been progressively declining in the US since the 60s-70s thanks to the early efforts of responsible dog breeders who insisted that puppies sold to pet homes be spayed and or neutered. Many animal rescue groups were originally formed by purebred breeders who wanted to keep those breeds out of shelters and assist in re-homing. The purebred rescue group I work with consists of a network of people, many of them breeders or former breeders, located across the country, and taking in and caring for thousands of dogs each year.

Side effects to spay/neuter are just now coming to light after decades of research.

If neutered before 1 year, a dog has a significantly increased risk of developing osteosarcoma (bone cancer), has a tripled risk of hypothyroidism, increased risk of cardiac hemangiosarcoma, increases the risk of certain orthopedic disorders and increases the risk of adverse reactions to vaccinations to name a few. In females, like in dogs, the risk of bone cancer is significantly increased, as well as a specific type of cancer of the spleen and heart, causes urinary spay incontinence in as many as 20% of female dogs. As with males, there is an increased risk of hyperthyroidism, obesity, orthopedic disorders and adverse reactions to vaccinations.

Now, I am not advocating for people not to spay/neuter but believe that folks should be educated on both the pros and the cons.

Lenicka, you are uninformed. Its kind of scary that you say you did research in an effort to attack and discredit. Your claim that neither Elizabeth, Walt or I have been involved in rescue is
assumption that is absolutely incorrect. Making inaccurate claims doesn't support your position. I have been involved in rescue for over 30 years, back in the day when rescuers mostly consisted of purebred dog breeders who pulled purebreds out of shelters to rehome them.

There's a difference between calling someone emotional and pointing out that someone has formed an opinion based on emotion rather than fact. Its certainly a lot nicer than calling someone an idiot and sick.

I have five dogs; two are rescues, two I bred and one I purchased from a friend. Two are bark softened... one is 12 years old, the other is 8. Barking doesn't bother me but when faced with repeated complaints from neighbors about barking,They are outside now, playing in the (fenced) back yard, My sliding doors are closed an the air conditioning is on. My grandchildren are watching the mover "Tangled" with the volume cranked up so that they can hear the movie over the barking of the dogs. I can absolutely say, with 100% accuracy, that bark softened dogs are not silent and can still bark.

You need not reply if you can't offer something cognizant, respectful and based on fact rather than animal rights fiction. And whoever made the comment that people from animal rights groups don't post on these boards is sadly misguided. The very petition you are promoting is being pushed by CPRPets and backed by the Animal Law Coalition, an AR groups located in New York.

Dianne Lynn Eakin (731)
Saturday December 1, 2012, 7:51 pm
i will say sorry for calling you idiots,but I stand my ground against debarking.Also you talk about all of the side effects and bad things that can go wrong with spay/neutering,but I hear none about the surgical procedure of De-vocalizing a too comes with side effects and risks.

One statement I do not get is this one.....

American Animal Hospital Association: "When deemed necessary, devocalization should be performed by a qualified, licensed veterinarians as a final alternative to relinquishment or euthanasia."
Does this mean that "ok now I got a dog and it won't quit barking(what it is naturally supposed to do),so it is time to get euthanized for doing what it was born to do?"
All animals make some kind of noise,that is how they are born.
Also I cannot connect the De-vocalization thing with the spay/neuter thing...they are 2 different things,that have nothing in common.

Dianne Lynn Eakin (731)
Saturday December 1, 2012, 8:03 pm
From an article I found.......

Porter's voice was hoarse, his bark raspy. During and after walks around the block, the recently adopted dog experienced shortness of breath. And when eating, he'd often have the urge to vomit—his gag reflex was that heightened.

It was these series of health ailments that prompted Porter's new owner, 58-year old Connecticut resident Sue Perry, to take him to to the vet.

What she found horrified her: Porter had been devocalized by a previous owner.

Porter's diagnosis prompted Perry to form the Coalition to Protect and Rescue Pets, which led to petition to get the American Veterinary Medical Association to ban all veterinarians from cutting animals' vocal chords in order to stifle their barks.

So-called doggie devocalizing "is always a dangerous procedure, even in the hands of the most skilled veterinary surgeon," says Dr. Holly Cheever of The Village Animal Clinic in Vooreheesville, New York, to TakePart. "Scar tissue, which is part of normal healing, can create a blockage of the airways with disastrous consequences."

Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania are the only states in the country to ban the practice. Europe has banned the dangerous practice altogether—key word being dangerous.

Dianne Lynn Eakin (731)
Saturday December 1, 2012, 8:08 pm
@Elizabeth your statement"Bark softening is NOT cruelty or torture. It is the equivalent of a tonsillectomy for a child - a one-time short procedure with a mild anesthetic."NO it is not the equivalent,last time I checked both of my boys could still talk perfectly fine after having there tonsils taken out.Also I am a Registered Nurse and the two are NOT the same.

Dianne Lynn Eakin (731)
Saturday December 1, 2012, 8:23 pm
excellent link on both sides

Dianne Lynn Eakin (731)
Saturday December 1, 2012, 8:25 pm
I do love the last paragraph though....from the above link
i got a better opinion of what to do in this situation. instead of debarking your dog or putting it to sleep because of the barking and the neighbors getting bothered an all... how about you just dont get a dog at all. if you own a pet and you cant control it, best option would be to be petless and that would pretty much keep dogs from being put to "sleep" or being "debarked".

Gael Silverman (0)
Saturday December 1, 2012, 9:28 pm
The first report of tonsillectomy was made by the Roman surgeon Celsus in 30 AD. He described scraping the tonsils and tearing them out or picking them up with a hook and excising them with a scalpel. Today, the scalpel is still the preferred surgical instrument of many ear, nose, and throat specialists. However, there are other procedures available – the choice may be dictated by the extent of the procedure (complete tonsil removal versus partial tonsillectomy) and other considerations such as pain and post-operative bleeding. A quick review of each procedure follows:

Cold knife (steel) dissection: Removal of the tonsils by use of a scalpel is the most common method practiced by otolaryngologists today. The procedure requires the young patient to undergo general anesthesia; the tonsils are completely removed with minimal post-operative bleeding. However, monopolar cautery (Electrocautery) is the preferred method of choice because it causes less bleeding than the scapel method.
Electrocautery: Electrocautery burns the tonsillar tissue and assists in reducing blood loss through cauterization. Research has shown that the heat of electrocautery (400 degrees Celsius) results in thermal injury to surrounding tissue. This may result in more discomfort during the postoperative period.
Harmonic scalpel: This medical device uses ultrasonic energy to vibrate its blade at 55,000 cycles per second. Invisible to the naked eye, the vibration transfers energy to the tissue, providing simultaneous cutting and coagulation. The temperature of the surrounding tissue reaches 80 degrees Celsius. Proponents of this procedure assert that the end result is precise cutting with minimal thermal damage.
Radiofrequency ablation (Somnoplasty): Monopolar radiofrequency thermal ablation transfers radiofrequency energy to the tonsil tissue through probes inserted in the tonsil. The procedure can be performed in an office setting under light sedation or local anesthesia. After the treatment is performed, scarring occurs within the tonsil causing it to decrease in size over a period of several weeks. The treatment can be performed several times. The advantages of this technique are minimal discomfort, ease of operations, and immediate return to work or school. Tonsillar tissue remains after the procedure but is less prominent. This procedure is recommended for treating enlarged tonsils and not chronic or recurrent tonsillitis.
Carbon dioxide laser: Laser tonsil ablation (LTA) finds the otolaryngologist employing a hand-held CO2 or KTP laser to vaporize and remove tonsil tissue. This technique reduces tonsil volume and eliminates recesses in the tonsils that collect chronic and recurrent infections. This procedure is recommended for chronic recurrent tonsillitis, chronic sore throats, severe halitosis, or airway obstruction caused by enlarged tonsils.
The LTA is performed in 15 to 20 minutes in an office setting under local anesthesia. The patient leaves the office with minimal discomfort and returns to school or work the next day. Post-tonsillectomy bleeding may occur in two to five percent of patients. Previous research studies state that laser technology provides significantly less pain during the post-operative recovery of children, resulting in less sleep disturbance, decreased morbidity, and less need for medications. On the other hand, some believe that children are adverse to outpatient procedures without sedation.
Microdebrider: What is a “microdebrider?” The microdebrider is a powered rotary shaving device with continuous suction often used during sinus surgery. It is made up of a cannula or tube, connected to a hand piece, which in turn is connected to a motor with foot control and a suction device.
The endoscopic microdebrider is used in performing a partial tonsillectomy, by partially shaving the tonsils. This procedure entails eliminating the obstructive portion of the tonsil while preserving the tonsillar capsule. A natural biologic dressing is left in place over the pharyngeal muscles, preventing injury, inflammation, and infection. The procedure results in less post-operative pain, a more rapid recovery, and perhaps fewer delayed complications. However, the partial tonsillectomy is suggested for enlarged tonsils – not those that incur repeated infections.
Bipolar Radiofrequency Ablation (Coblation): This procedure produces an ionized saline layer that disrupts molecular bonds without using heat. As the energy is transferred to the tissue, ionic dissociation occurs. This mechanism can be used to remove all or only part of the tonsil. It is done under general anesthesia in the operating room and can be used for enlarged tonsils and chronic or recurrent infections. This causes removal of tissue with a thermal effect of 45-85 C°. The advantages of this technique are less pain, faster healing, and less post operative care.

I, too, am a RN with over 28 years in practice. I disagree with Elizabeth regarding the comparison between bark softening and a tonsillectomy. The bark softening surgery is far simpler. Since you are a nurse, it may be helpful if you understand that there are three techniques used. One involves the use of a laser, the next uses a cautery tool and the third involves a small biopsy punch.The only technique that results in any bleeding is the latter and that usually is minor.

The risk factors are the same with any surgery.... reaction to anesthesia, infection. Development of scar tissue is vastly over exaggerated by those who wish to mislead. While I won't say it hasn't happened, I will state emphatically that its extremely rare. I have never seem these complications and don't know of anyone who has personally experienced these problems.

What I would like to suggest is that you make some calls on Monday to vets in your area. See how many of them will perform this surgery. It is not something taught in vet schools and because there is such a rare demand, few vets both to learn the procedure. I can guarantee that if the demand was increasing as the petition claims, you would find more vets willing to perform bark softening.

I'd also like to comment on the paragraph you quoted above. As a rule, the people I have worked with have all had changes in their lives that required a relocation, usually to an apartment or who had new neighbors move in that complained about the dogs when previous neighbors did not.. I don't recall one situation where the bark softening was because the owner was bothered by the barking.

Jan Garen (76)
Sunday December 2, 2012, 9:22 am
The entire veterinary population of the United Kingdom are hardly animal rights groups and devocalisation and declawing are considered cruel and are illegal in this country. Those of you in favour of these processes have taken up a lot of space to say very little to justify your position other than to use the euphemism 'bark softening'. It is always easy to inflict a procedure on a defenceless animal that you would not consider reasonable to inflict on yourselves.

Monika V. (409)
Sunday December 2, 2012, 10:50 am
My Sina doggy not barking?? It was part of her great personality!!!!
Not for nothing in the world would I cut my dogs's or cat's (or any other animals) voice. If neighbors complain I find another solution for me and my animals, and if I have to move in a place that isn't as comfortable to live, I'll do it for the welfare of my animals. If I have to move in the bush, I move there! I loved to hear my dog's voices, all so different from each other, I immediately knew WHO of them was barking. Not hearing my cat's meows anymore is totally beyond my imagination.
Animals are born with a voice and to devocalize them is abuse. Like Dianne said: would you devocalize your baby because it's crying angers neighbors? Certainly NOT.
Glad, that in my countrythis procedure its forbidden


Gael Silverman (0)
Sunday December 2, 2012, 6:06 pm
Legislation regarding bark softening in the UK:

The main legislation preventing the process of debarking is the European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals, which came into force on 01 May, 1992. Under Article 10, the treaty states that "Surgical operations for the purpose of modifying the appearance of a pet animal or for other non curative purposes shall be prohibited." Listed procedures include debarking, tail docking, ear cropping and declawing and defanging.

According to the treaty, debarking is only permitted "if a veterinarian considers non curative procedures necessary either for veterinary medical reasons or for the benefit of any particular animal". If the procedure is deemed necessary, the surgery "shall be carried out under anaesthesia only by a veterinarian or under his supervision".

Gael Silverman (0)
Sunday December 2, 2012, 6:09 pm
Additional information from the UK:

Gael Silverman (0)
Sunday December 2, 2012, 6:39 pm
Since it seems I am being too complicated in my posts and people are having a hard time getting to the gist of my message:

Bark softening is not cruel. It is far less painful and dangerous than spaying or neutering.

Bark softening does not leave a dog unable to bark. The bark is softer or the pitch of the bark has changed.

Barking is not the major means of canine communication.

The incidence of bark softening is not increasing in the US. Very few vets are knowledgeable in the procedure and as the demand for the surgery is quite rare, few vets offer to do this surgery.

The fact that this surgery is outlawed in some European countries does not equate it with cruelty.

The fact that "you" would never do this to your dog does not mean those who do are cruel and inhumane.

Thank you for the reminder why I choose to seldom post here. The unwillingness of many who refuse to consider any opinion that differs from their own, the intolerance, the "my way or the highway" attitude makes me quite sad for your pets.

David C. (0)
Sunday December 2, 2012, 8:25 pm
If you had a fuller understanding and any experience with dogs had been bark softened, you’d understand that it is a simple procedure that, when done by a competent veterinarian, is harmless. It also solves problems that can’t be solved by other means and saves lives. Most dogs that are dumped at shelters are because of behavioral problems, excessive barking being one of them. Most people aren’t capable of training a dog not to bark. They dump the dog at a shelter and because of the behavior issues it doesn’t get adopted. Even if it does get adopted, it’ll end up back in a shelter and eventually euthanized when this simple procedure would save that life.

The opposition to this procedure is based on emotion – and emotion is not science – nor is it sound reasoning!

Lydia S. (172)
Sunday December 2, 2012, 9:00 pm
Devocalization , Bark softening simply put is animal cruelty , Because it is allowed by law does justify the act
As far as likening to procedure to spay / neuter is mixing apples & oranges .
As Dianne said then don't have a dog .


Lydia S. (172)
Sunday December 2, 2012, 9:06 pm
Thanks , Signed all petitions of course .

Monika V. (409)
Monday December 3, 2012, 11:00 am
"Barking is not the major means of canine communication"

This is NOT true, you probably never lived with a bigger pack of dogs together as I did (10 dogs). Barking IS important in the pack, they bark while playing, they bark to defend property, they bark to talk to me, they bark to warn other dogs who are not belonging to the pack . Do you need more examples?

If I live in a city and know that neighbors feel disturbed by barking, I don't get a dog. Perid.

Dianne Lynn Eakin (731)
Thursday December 6, 2012, 12:51 am
Gael,that is the beauty of the C2NN,Everyone can post their own news,please feel free to do your own post on you own views.

Monika V. (409)
Monday February 25, 2013, 9:03 pm

Watch the video and think about if you would do this to your dog....Devocalization IS cruelty !
Please watch this 2-minute video. Share on FB, Twitter, Pinterest.
Their Vocal Cords Were Cut to Stifle Their Voices. They Hope YOU Will
Listen to Them... and ShareTheir Stories. Meet Bagel and other
devocalized dogs:

http://youtu. be/tnE_3O7QUNY


Dianne Lynn Eakin (731)
Monday February 25, 2013, 9:09 pm
no debarking should be allowed anywhere by anyone...period!!!

Carla van der Meer (519)
Wednesday February 27, 2013, 9:18 am
Signed and noted. I have 4 basset hound ( 2 of mine and 2 fosters) and they are very, very vocal. The moan, whine, grumble, bark and howl, and I wouldn't dream of changing it! This is such a cruel thing to do.

Deborah P. (14)
Friday March 29, 2013, 12:17 pm
unbelievable ~ some people are nuts & some vets would do ANYthing for money
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