Ear Cropping. Is it necessary?

Ear Cropping has been a hot topic on our social media post this past week.  With the ease of uploading information and posting a quick meme it can be difficult to determine fact from fiction. In debates like these we feel it is important to highlight the science and bring our followers reputable information from trusted sources. Although we all would like to consider ourselves masters on a particular subject it never hurts to do your research.  Before subjecting any of our pets to a procedure we must weigh out the risk and the benefits. As Pitbull Advocates we are especially sensitive to how the breed is depicted in the media. Unfortunately a common depiction is one of an aggressive muscular dog accompanied by the famous cropped ears.  This, along with the lack of evidence supporting the need for ear cropping we elected to spare our dogs.  While we encourage such debates we also understand that the best way to deliver knowledge is to do it with respect. It is important to note that a Dog owners decision to go through with this procedure is not an indication of a Bad owner.  We would never want to discredit the love someone has for their dog. We hope this discussion will encourage pet owners to ask questions concerning the welfare of their dogs and seek the facts.

Here’s what you need to know about Ear Cropping…

The American Veterinary Medical Association  opposes ear cropping and tail docking of dogs when done solely for cosmetic purposes. The American Veterinary Medical Association encourages the elimination of ear cropping and tail docking from breed standards.

THE ISSUE

Some breeds of dogs in the United States customarily have their ears reduced with a blade or scissors to modify their shape and, in some cases, allow a naturally drooping ear to stand upright. Cropping is performed when dogs are between 6 and 12 weeks old depending on breed and body condition. In larger breeds, after surgery the ears are positioned with tape, bandages or other devices to encourage an upright position.

Well-controlled studies addressing the animal welfare implications of cropping dogs’ ears do not exist. However case studies support certain risks associated with the procedure.

WELFARE CONCERNS—RISKS

General anesthesia—Cropping should always be carried out under full anesthesia, which itself has associated risks.

4 Postoperative Care—Dogs will experience some discomfort during healing, stretching, retaping and bandaging, and other manipulations after surgery. Some will need their ears bandaged or taped upright for days to months, and they may be isolated from other dogs during this period. Potential Complications—As for any incision, cropped ears may become infected. Cropped ears may also fail to stand or have a distorted shape or position potentially leading to subsequent operations.

REASONS GIVEN FOR THE PRACTICE

Animal Benefits—It has been suggested that dogs with cropped ears are less likely to suffer from infections of the ear canal. Although the development of some serious infections has been linked to the presence of a heavy hanging ears , there is no evidence that cropping prevents or successfully treats these infections. It has also been suggested that cropping avoids later ear injury or improves hearing, but no evidence is available to substantiate these claims either. Human Benefits—Ear cropping produces an alert expression in dogs used for security or guard work and may contribute to the distinctive appearance of a pedigree breed.

SUMMARY Ear cropping is a cosmetic procedure with potential negative outcomes for the animal.

Read more at The American Veterinary Medical Association Website