Quebec's veterinarians will no longer crop ears and dock tails for dogs, cats, cattle or horses.

The Order of Veterinarians adopted new rules earlier this year that come into effect on Jan. 1, 2017.

The vets say tail-docking and ear-cropping are strictly cosmetic procedures that have no positive health effects for the animals, and like all surgeries put them at risk of medical complications.

Dr. Enid Stiles said tails are normally cut off when puppies are less than a week old.

"They are done with no anesthetic. Just essentially an amputation," said Dr. Stiles.

Ear cropping is typically done about the time a dog is weaned.

"It's done usually with an anesthetic it can be performed but the post-operative care is quite significant for that particular procedure and takes a long time to heal," said Dr. Stiles.

The OMVQ say it has been urging breeders to decrease their use of the practice for several years, and notes the practice has been outlawed in several countries.

Many breeders in Quebec are upset with the decision, pointing out that breed definitions for many show dogs still require ear cropping and/or tail docking.

While vets say animals with docked tails and cropped ears lose the ability to communicate, opponents argue that cropped ears are more expressive than floppy ears.

They also point out that while the procedures are cosmetic, they have been performed on animals for centuries.

The OMVQ says docking and cropping are considered veterinary procedures, and anyone in Quebec who performs the procedures will be charged with performing veterinary services without a licence. That comes with a legal penalty of $1,500 to $40,000.

Ear cropping and other cosmetic procedures are banned by provincial law in PEI and Newfoundland and Labrador, while veterinary associations in B.C., Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia prohibit the practices.