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D2008-48

Dear Daisy Dog

I gather from your Web site that you oppose ear cropping. However, I am buying a Doberman puppy this week, and I want to have her ears cropped.

Please help me find a veterinarian who will crop my baby’s ears while minimizing pain, infection, follow-up surgeries and an unacceptable end result.

Daisy Responds

Ear cropping, amputation of much of the ear flap for cosmetic reasons, was fashionable at one time, but today, most people oppose it.

Cropping makes the ears stand erect, but it creates a handicap, interfering with the dog’s ability to communicate. Just as we wag our tails when we’re happy, we prick our ears when we’re alert, flutter them when we’re nervous and plaster them back when we’re apologetic.

When most of both ears are missing, our intentions are often misunderstood.

In addition, cropping can precipitate a lifetime of central nervous system hypersensitivity. This recently recognized phenomenon is characterized by severe pain in response to what would make a normal dog only moderately uncomfortable.

It’s triggered by an initial bout of pain, for instance from ear cropping, that isn’t adequately treated.

Finally, as you note, cropping presents the risk of infection, an undesired cosmetic outcome, repeated surgical procedures -- and even death. It’s expensive, too.

I have a Doberman friend from Europe, where cropping is banned, and I think his natural ears make him especially handsome.

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