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Removing a dogs vocal cords... you read right!

Josie

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I have just been out with my neighbour and some of her friends (doing a circuit class) and we got onto the topic of our dogs as one of the ladies had brought her two lovely collies with her.

Both my neighbour and the lady with the collies are actively working with their dogs (gun dog training and sheep trial training) but my neighbour mentioned that her Labrador might not get very far because he cries a lot (which she said is a genetic trait some gun dog labs can have?) and then they said in America they remove their voice box!!!! FOR REAL :eek::eek::eek::eek::eek:

Has anyone heard of this before? I haven't and I am truly shocked that people would go to those measures.
 
I've heard of debarking dogs, I assume this is the same. I'm not even going to start trying to put in words what I think about it...
 
It is common practice among the Amish. A strict type of christians for whom I hope there is a hell.. They view dogs as livestock and are behind some of the worst puppy mills in Pensylvania. De-barking is still legal if done by a vet but a more back woods way is to repeatedly shove a pipe down a pups throat and damage the vocal chords.
Its true to say the Amish are about 200 years behind the time but when it comes to the allowing of docking, cropping and de-clawing of cats the USA is also still in the dark ages when it comes to pet welfare.

The Dark Side of the Amish: What You Don't Know: Amish Puppy Mills
 
It is common practice among the Amish. A strict type of christians for whom I hope there is a hell.. They view dogs as livestock and are behind some of the worst puppy mills in Pensylvania. De-barking is still legal if done by a vet but a more back woods way is to repeatedly shove a pipe down a pups throat and damage the vocal chords.
Its true to say the Amish are about 200 years behind the time but when it comes to the allowing of docking, cropping and de-clawing of cats the USA is also still in the dark ages when it comes to pet welfare.

The Dark Side of the Amish: What You Don't Know: Amish Puppy Mills

Oh that sounds awful :(
 
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I do hope the woman with the vocal Lab knows more about hunting, matches, & trials, than she knows about anatomy ... otherwise, her dog’s career in the trial fields will be very short, indeed.
:D

Dogs do not HAVE a “voice box”. The larynx is a human feature; it allows us to swallow & breathe while also enabling human vocalizations, AKA speech. // Even other primates lack a larynx - all those futile attempts to teach chimps to speak were doomed b4 they began. :shrug:

Debarking is actually cutting the vocal cords; like any other surgery, it’s done under a anaesthesia by a vet. Most vets won’t do it without a bl**dy good reason. // “ convenience” or “to hide my puppy-mill from the neighbors & the police” won’t get the op done.
Debarking can also be partial, which only lowers the volume of the sound.

I will tell U about one owner who had a dog debarked completely.
This man was a passionate dog-sledding competitor with a string of about 30 dogs; he’d been racing for over 20 years, & had a good line of dogs he’d developed by his own breeding.
In that time, his neighborhood had changed considerably- what had been woodlots & farm fields had been split up & sold, the former large properties sprouted houses, & he was surrounded. // His lead dog was a bitch, & she liked to lead a group sing-along every night after dinner. His dogs had howled for years on end; nobody fussed about it, just as they hadn’t fussed about roosters crowing, dogs barking, cows mooing to be milked, or hogs squealing over a cob of corn.
NOW, they complained - loudly, & they got action, too. If he didn’t stop the howling, he’d either be forced to sell his dogs, move his entire operation (home, dogs, all), or if he did neither of those, have the dogs confiscated. That was the decision handed down by the County board of supervisors.

He spoke to his vet, the lead bitch was debarked, the nightly song-fests stopped, his neighbors stopped whinging, & he kept his home.// Works for me. :)

I saw him with his dogs at a summer wt-pull, where I got to be one of the ppl on a rubber-tired wagon to be hauled a given distance. // The winning dog weighed 42# & moved 1,200# from a standing start, & she was a dog he’d bred. That’s how we got into a convo, & he told me about debarking his lead dog - who enthusiastically “coughed” at me when I walked over.
She was in no pain, she was as happy as she’d been before the op, she loved to race & to pull, her relationships with the other dogs were unaffected, & I thot it was a reasonable solution to a pressing problem.

- terry

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^^^I rest my case as to the states being still in the dark ages. Im sorry but this is totally unacceptable. Pets are not here to be mutilated to suit whats convienent for us. Luckily most of us live in lands where this sort of babaric practice is outlawed.
 
^^^I rest my case as to the states being still in the dark ages. Im sorry but this is totally unacceptable. Pets are not here to be mutilated to suit whats convienent for us. Luckily most of us live in lands where this sort of babaric practice is outlawed.

I'm going to play devil's advocate here - but what would be the alternative for the dog LfL mentioned if she hadn't been debarked? Given that she wasn't barking out of anxiety, but I'm guessing it was a breed characteristic, the behaviour probably couldn't have been changed, so the only 'good' options would be the owner moving to somewhere much more remote, or rehoming her - and for her wellbeing, this would have to be to another sled racer.

She can still 'sing', it's just that the volume is turned down - does she enjoy singing any less? If she was given the option, which outcome would she have chosen?

When we neuter animals it is often for our benefit and not theirs (this point is arguable, I admit) and it is also a form of mutilation.

[Ducks head below parapet]
 
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If the dogsled-racer had persisted with her vocal cords uncut & the authorities confiscated his dogs, there would have been no attempt to place them in racing homes - they’d have gone to the small nearby SPCA, which has kennel space for fewer than FIFTY dogs & cats, total.
WTH would they do, with an incoming batch of about 3 dozen active, athletic, adult Huskies?!
They couldn’t empty 2/3 of their cages just to fill them with Huskies - a lot of animals would die, & I would bet most of them would be the Huskies, on the very day they arrived.
:(

If he’d tried to rehome them to fellow racers, again, most racers have the # of dogs they need or want. Some of his best-known dogs might find homes as racers or dams / sires, but the up & coming youngsters would be excess. He might have placed 10 or 12 in racing homes, if he was lucky.
As pets, his dogs would be disastrous unless the new owner wanted to ski-jor, bike-jor, or otherwise keep them happily speeding along; they had never lived indoors, so none were housetraIned. More than half were desexed, but house-training an adult dog is a challenge for pet owners, who struggle to house-train puppies.
Chewing everything in sight or reach would be another issue, as well as howling - howls don’t go over well in suburbia. :(

I thot his solution was admirable - only 1 dog was debarked, she was obviously OK, all the dogs stayed in harness, no one lost their home - human or animal... let alone their lives.
I would estimate that 75% or more of his dogs would be dead within a month or two at most, if they’d been confiscated, & over half if he’d tried to place them with fellow racers.

She made an odd sound when she barked, rather like a softly-roaring cough, but the other dogs clearly knew what she meant to “say” & she seemed completely normal about it. - not the least bit frustrated, seemingly unaware that her volume & pitch were so changed.
She “coughed” very enthusiastically with a wagging tail, jumping up on her tether on the gang line, & when I went over to fuss her, stopped barking & leaned on me for pets. She seemed oblivious to the change.

I don’t know of any other solution that would keep all the dogs alive, in their home, & in the traces. Let alone keep them in the owner’s possession.
If anyone can think of one, PLEASE - speak up. // these sorts of situations arise all the time, in residential neighborhoods, & more solutions are more than welcome, they are needed.

- terry

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I'm going to play devil's advocate here - but what would be the alternative for the dog LfL mentioned if she hadn't been debarked? Given that she wasn't barking out of anxiety, but I'm guessing it was a breed characteristic, the behaviour probably couldn't have been changed, so the only 'good' options would be the owner moving to somewhere much more remote, or rehoming her - and for her wellbeing, this would have to be to another sled racer.

She can still 'sing', it's just that the volume is turned down - does she enjoy singing any less? If she was given the option, which outcome would she have chosen?

When we neuter animals it is often for our benefit and not theirs (this point is arguable, I admit) and it is also a form of mutilation.

[Ducks head below parapet]

I hear what youre saying .. The point being this was done to appease humans and barking is a communication for dogs essentially the dog has been prevented from communicating. Not only toward humans but among their own kind. I dont care about claims that dogs seem happy.. (stockholm syndrome springs to mind)
It also has other possible health implications such as build up of scar tissue on the larynx irritation and coughing that can cause infections leading to swelling and choaking hazards. No wonder its outlawed in so many places.
The alternative is train your dogs or make sure you live in the correct enviorenment for the breed you have.

Maybe if humans were more accomodating to the sounds of other animals we wouldnt have the problem but again human ego and their wants outweigh everything else.
Pointless to try to change the minds of those bought up with it.. Bit like trying to convince the NRA that guns kill people.. :confused:

All I know is that I cannot and will never condone such a practice.
 
^^^I rest my case as to the states being still in the dark ages. Im sorry but this is totally unacceptable. Pets are not here to be mutilated to suit whats convienent for us. Luckily most of us live in lands where this sort of babaric practice is outlawed.

Couldn’t agree more, for a supposedly advanced country , it beggers belief that anyone would perform and condone such a barbaric practice is beyond me :(
 
Yes not good practise, by a long shot, but... in the case lfl mentioned how awful were the alternatives for all the dogs??
Just saying...
 
I've heard of the practice of removing vocal chords, but never seen (heard?) a dog with it done, thankfully.
 
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Once again -

to clarify, the vet does not “take OUT the vocal cords”. // S/he cuts one or more vocal cords, & that can be anything from a small nick, to complete severing.
It is not amputation; the cords are still present, but not all of them are intact.

It is most-often done only to reduce the sharp pitch & loud volume of sound from excited dogs (or conversely, from dogs who are bored, & they protest-bark or “demand bark”).

Total severing is rarely done; the vet can always refuse to perform such an elective surgery, if it seems to her / him that the owner’s rationale for the op was weak or even cruel / vindictive.
No vet is REQUIRED to perform an elective surgery that s/he thinks is morally or ethically questionable.
Also, it is not common; generally it is done only after all other options have failed, as for instance when a tenant will be evicted if they cannot stop their dog’s loud barking by the hour when the owner is at work.

- terry

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Last edited:
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Once again -

to clarify, the vet does not “take OUT the vocal cords”. // S/he cuts one or more vocal cords, & that can be anything from a small nick, to complete severing.
It is not amputation; the cords are still present, but not all of them are intact.

It is most-often done only to reduce the sharp pitch & loud volume of sound from excited dogs (or conversely, from dogs who are bored, & they protest-bark or “demand bark”).

Total severing is rarely done; the vet can always refuse to perform such an elective surgery, if it seems to her / him that the owner’s rationale for the op was weak or even cruel / vindictive.
No vet is REQUIRED to perform an elective surgery that s/he thinks is morally or ethically questionable.
Also, it is not common; generally it is done only after all other options have failed, as for instance when a tenant will be evicted if they cannot stop their dog’s loud barking by the hour when the owner is at work.

- terry

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Whether they 'remove' them or not isn't really the point. The point is that they are damaging them in the first place for their own gain not the dogs.
 
Let me throw a cat among the pigeons, "Mad Murphy".

^^^I rest my case as to the states being still in the dark ages. Im sorry but this is totally unacceptable. Pets are not here to be mutilated to suit whats convienent for us. Luckily most of us live in lands where this sort of babaric practice is outlawed.

You mention that "Pets are not here to be mutilated to suit whats convenient for us, but is spaying and castration not the same, surely this is a form of mutilation and in a lot of cases it is performed for the sake of convenience I believe. :rolleyes:
(In Norway it is against the law!)
 
QUOTE, Josie:

Whether they 'remove' them or not isn't really the point.
The point is that they are damaging them in the first place for their own gain, not the dogs.
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@Josie ,
I’m well aware that dogs don’t ask to be debarked - but neither do they request to be neutered, nor to have for that matter, broken legs set, bad hip joints to have the ball removed, or dangling forelegs amputated.
We humans make every one of those decisions, & more.

I had a client many years ago, who - over my objections - adopted a teenaged M dog on our 1st visit to the local shelter. I’d helped her to choose her previous dog, who worked out beautifully, but now she was widowed & lonely. She didn’t want to come by again - she wanted a dog NOW, to take home, & keep her company.
But there were no suitable dogs, ATM; if we’d come back the following week, half the kennels would have new occupants, it was a high-kill shelter, but she was impatient.

The dog she chose was a total mismatch for an inactive housewife in her early 70s: he was 9-MO, intact, found stray, no manners, a maniac on leash, & not housetrained. He was also a real wild man, running, leaping, never still, & pulled like a locomotive.
All of those things are curable, but his level of activity & short attn-span were not; he’d give U maybe 5 seconds of sweet interaction, & then he wanted to be off DOING something, not being petted or sItting by U or walking with U, but MOVING, exploring, chasing, being a mad enthusiastic young dog!
Her previous dog, the one we chose together, was a GSD mix who was active, but had brakes & adored his humans; time with his people was his ideal. // This new dog really wouldn’t care if U disappeared during a walk - he’d forge on, oblivious.
U couldn’t have “lost” her previous dog without getting into a vehicle & speeding off; if U walked away from him, he’d come find U, & while he’d explore off leash, he’d never sprint off & vanish.

There were several middle-aged dogs who would have suited her nicely, but none had GSD ancestry, & she was firmly convinced that’s what had made her last dog such a treasure.
So she went home with a leggy 45# tricolor GSD mix who proceeded to housewreck & haul her around; she took 2 falls in the 1st month,& phoned me both times... it was my fault she’d gotten this dog. :rolleyes:

Another month rolled by, he was housetrained, he couldn’t raid the trash anymore, he still pulled now & then, but was on a headcollar & could no longer yank her to the ground with a lunge.
And then he stepped in a hole in her backyard, tripped & fell, SCREAMING.// this was not normal; it happened on a Friday early evening, the vets were closed, this is rural Pennsy, there is no vet E-R.
Come Monday, he was still limping, & the 5 or 6-inch deep hole his paw had managed to find shouldn’t have done so much damage. // She took him to the vet that morning, & phoned me in tears - the rads showed bone cancer in his foreleg.

I did my best to explain that 3-legged dogs do FINE, especially lean leggy ones, but she was adamant - he loved to run, & she “wouldn’t see him crippled”. // She gave herself & her dog a week of togetherness, with pain meds for him; they went to his favorite places, but on leash, he no longer pulled, he hopped on his forehand.

Her vet, too, tried to convince her that an otherwise healthy young dog with one affected limb could live a long happy life on 3 legs; she wouldn’t even consider it.
He was put down 8 days after his Dx, with his owner sobbing, & the vet not doing much better.

That dog had a life with all the choices made by humans; he was dumped by one owner to be picked up stray by the police, taken to the underfunded, overcrowded local shelter, put in a pen, fed on a schedule, adopted by an old lady, & killed on her orders. He didn’t ask for any of that.
If he’d been adopted by a family with kids to keep him busy, or a runner who wanted a running buddy, he’d have been an awesome pet.
If he’d been adopted by someone who had SEEN 3-legged dogs run fluidly & joyously, he wouldn’t have died when he was less than a year old. There was no sign of metastasis - that hole in the ground was a blessing, it hurt his forearm when the cancer was barely begun.

We all make choices about our pets; as they are ours, no one can overrule us, unless our choice violates animal care / animal cruelty laws.

I also had a client with a declawed cat; another surgery I wouldn’t approve of, but her husband had a seriously compromised immune system, & his doctor wouldn’t let them get a cat UNLESS they agreed to declaw her or him. // Their cat was indoor only; no pouncing on or eating wildlife, no possible exposure to other cats’ contagions; she got her teeth brushed twice daily, had 3 cat trees, more toys than most 4-YO kids, & was blissfully happy.
They’d picked
 
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I don’t know what happened, my cursor froze?, & I couldn’t edit, continue, or even page up or down. :confused:

Anyway, they’d chosen their cat as a kitten at the breeder’s home when she was 5-WO, persuaded the breeder to keep her till 12-wks so she’d be extra sociable & tolerant of other cats, & basically did everything right - aside from the Dr-mandated declaw, which I can’t opine on, not being an M.D. specializing in immunology. :shrug:
She was a delightful pet, & had in the 6-yrs of her life thus far, never bit anyone (the standard risk of declaw, cats default to “bite” instead).
I really can’t criticize such things as I don’t walk in that person’s shoes. :(

I will never condone things that I feel are universally cruel or even simply neglectful, but in some specific circs, debarking, particularly partial debarking to reduce volume, & declawing to prevent serious infections in an immunocompromised owner, seem to me to make the best of very difficult situations.
JMO & IME, YMMV,
- terry

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