What is Onychectomy?
Onychectomy, popularly known as declawing, is an operation to remove an animal's claws surgically by means of the amputation of all or part of the distal phalanges, or end bones, of the animal's toes. Because the claw develops from germinal tissue within the third phalanx, amputation of the bone is necessary to fully remove the claw. The terms "onychectomy" (origin: Greek ὄνυξ onycho, nail + ἐκτομή ektome, excision) and "declawing" imply mere claw removal, but a more appropriate description would be phalangectomy, excision of toe bone.
Although common in North America, declawing is considered an act of animal cruelty in many countries (see "Declawing practices" below).