Ever wondered why Dolittler’s logo sports a Great Dane with a generous ear crop? The answer: Because it’s by far the best logo my design guy presented.

When I first saw it, I knew it was a masterful design—visually, that is—but I had trouble with the purebred dog thing (why a Great Dane?)…and the ear crop, of course.

After another few logo attempts using different dog and cat images it became clear that my design-guy’s brilliance was fleeting. I was stuck with the thing. Though it didn’t get my message across perfectly, it made my eyes happy nonetheless.

Two years later I’m mostly OK with my logo—no need to redo it, right? Unfortunately, I still feel the need to apologize a little for it. After all, it depicts a dog who’s been doctored up for human consumption. And while that might sound like an appropriate image for a pet health site, cosmetic surgery isn’t exactly the kind of veterinary care I’m trying to advance on Dolittler.

Contrary to my convoluted mindset when it comes to declaws, I’m not wishy-washy on ear crops. I see NO acceptable use for them. In my view, pups suffer after crops, no matter how assiduously we adhere to the most advanced pain protocols. I mean, re-tapings are stressful, even when the most minimalist versions are applied.

And most Generation V vets (Gen X and younger) feel the same way. We pledge to be stewards of their health…and then we chop ‘em up despite our Oath because someone’s willing to pay us $450 for our freeform cutting skills? I don’t think so.

There was a great discussion (sourced from VIN) in this month’s DVM News on how one vet, justifiably proud of her ear cropping skills (after years of knowledge gleaned from her veterinarian father), was thoughtfully reexamining her role as her area’s ear crop provider extraordinaire.

In the end this vet wondered (and I paraphrase) whether her skills at least meant that she was providing a venue where ear crops would be properly performed, not the butcher-shop versions all vets have seen or heard tell of.

The fifteen or so veterinarians who commented on her musings brought forth interesting points. Among them my favorite: Are we deluding ourselves when we say that X procedure will always exist and therefore some of us must make ourselves available to do it right?

It’s a bad argument in favor of any procedure, including declaws (which I support with extreme reservations). But in the case of cropped ears, a fashionable accoutrement with no medical or behavioral rationale, it’s an even less defensible argument.

If we make the unfortunate assumption in favor of a surgical procedure’s desirability in perpetuity, are we not ensuring its very existence?

If responsible veterinarians refuse to comply with ear croppings, surely breeders will continue their cuttings for a time in our absence and mangled ears will predominate—or so the argument goes. But that’s not likely to last too long. I just don’t think our culture (read: breed clubs, breeders and juries of their peers) will continue to support the practice if minimal veterinary attention is involved.

So what’s that mean for the Great Dane at the top of this page? Hmmm…I wonder what she’d look like with a little bell under the hook of her right ear…