Benefits, Perils and Quandary
A client asked me the other day why I inquired at each examination what their pet was eating. What significance did the contents of the food bowl have to their pet’s general health? The adage of ‘we are what we eat’ pertains equally to our pets.
Did you know there are between 74 and 96 million pet cats in the United States? Depending on their breed and lifestyle, a percentage of these cats will need professional grooming for a variety of reasons. Many cats do an outstanding job grooming themselves, however, if the cat has emotional or physical issues or is unable or unwilling to self-groom, a skillful and talented pet stylist is crucial to the cat’s general health and well being.
Summer’s sweltering heat comes as a welcome relief from the grips of the tough winter that much of the United States suffered through recently. Snow suits have given way to swim suits and we slather ourselves with sun screen instead of sweaters, jackets, gloves and hats.
What is a “Lick Lesion”?
When dogs lick over and over at the same spot they eventually cause sores that veterinarians refer to as “acral lick dermatitis” or an “acral pruritic nodule”. These are itchy, thickened, centrally ulcerated or “raw” areas of skin, typically on the legs and forepaws, caused by excessive licking and complicated by bacterial infection and scarring.
At first it seemed just a tough bout of kennel cough, so we updated Bordetella vaccines. Yet every day we got worsening information. Was it the canine influenza (H3N8 virus)? The usual flu vaccines were the only treatment available. Symptoms were a distinctive cough, lethargy and inappetite.
Ringworm is one of the most over and under diagnosed conditions in veterinary dermatology. Dermatophytosis (ringworm) is a fungal infection of the hair, superficial skin, and occasionally nails. Contrary to the common name for dermatophytosis, “ringworm,” it is not a parasite and worms are not the problem!
In the 15 years I have been grooming, one thing I learned is that accidents can and do happen. We do not plan them, but we work with live animals. Being prepared to perform first aid promptly will reduce the pet’s pain and speed healing.
First aid is the prompt care of wounds prior to any necessary veterinary treatment.
It may seem baffling to you that veterinarians will emphasize and re-emphasize flea bite prevention for pets when neither you nor the owners have ever noted the presence of fleas or “flea dirt.” It is sometimes difficult to convince pet owners to consider flea bite allergy as the primary trigger for their dog’s itching and hairloss on the rump or tail when owners insist that “My pet doesn’t have fleas!”
Dog and cat ears are nothing short of amazing. Did you know they could hear in the 45KHz range, while we are limited to 23KHz? That’s why you can shake a bag of treats and your dog will come running from the other end of the property. Human ears have three measly muscles as compared to 18 in dogs and 32 in cats.
Animals can’t talk. They can’t say, ‘Hey, I’m not feeling well…I might need medical attention.’ Because pets can’t tell us themselves that they are sick it is up to us to figure it out. That means that we, as animal owners, care givers, groomers, etc, must be able to ascertain a deviation from the norm.
What if I wanted to use natural cleaning and disinfecting products for my day-to-day cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting needs? Do they exist and are they effective?
The good news is yes, they do. However, some of these choices are not labeled for this practice, so we do not have a handy reference for proper use.
Something to Smile About
As a groomer, you may not think that you play an important role in the oral health of the pets that you groom, but you can – and you should. Studies show that by the age of three, seventy percent of dogs and cats begin to show signs of periodontal disease.
Many of us have seen “bad skin” come through our shop at one time or another and have been frustrated by the lack of improvement. I interviewed seven veterinarians and asked them about the most common skin issues they see. The unanimous answer was secondary bacterial infections resulting from scratching. They also stated that 95% of all visits for allergies were merely extremely dry skin.
Having worked in the pet services and product industry for over 20 years, I have found that anyone can put a price tag on a can of food and hope it sells. Rather than just sell a can of dog food, I want to give you the tools to market pet foods for success!
I have a riddle for you. What can go from minor to major in a blink of an eye? The answer is… eye injuries. It is why you should take a good look at a dog’s eyes during the check-in process. Check for excessive blinking, squinting, discharge, blood, cloudiness, bulging eyes, rubbing, or redness, all of which could indicate a pre-existing condition that may be aggravated during grooming. Bring any concerns to the owner’s attention beforehand.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 300,000 cases of Lyme disease are diagnosed in the U.S. each year. This number represents an increase of ten times figures earlier reported by the government agency. Most of these cases were diagnosed in 13 states, primarily in the Northeast and Upper Midwest.