The answer is, unfortunatley, never. It still happens to me once in a rare while and I think it happens to most everyone at some time. Happened to me today in fact.
Elderly poodle. Blind. Mom is a "shop hopper" and the dog is not used to getting done in one place - or often enough for that matter - so she is a kicking-pulling-screaming-twisting-hard to groom dog.
And today,while I was scissoring around her foot, she kicked out her back foot and took off a chunk of pad. It did not bleed at all because I felt it happen and was able to immediately clamp off the toe applying pressure to the top and bottom of the toe. My groomer heard me say "S###" and asked "what do you need?" and I told her I cut a pad, so she grabbed me a paper towel, a baby wipe and the Styptic pads, all within 30 seconds. She then secured her dog and came over to hold my poodle while I took a closer look at it to see what had happened.
I wasn't closing my shears, thank goodness, but they are freshly sharpened and she basically "shaved" the pad off. She had taken the flap of black pad skin almost completely off, barely skimming the pink skin underneath. I knew we couldn't leave that flap of skin (it was hanging by just a tiny sliver of skin) so I just snipped the rest off with my shears. I cleaned it with a baby wipe, then followed up with an antiseptic wipe, all the while keeping pressure on the toe. Still not one drop of blood. I dried it with the paper towel and then applied the styptic. The styptic pads have Benzocain ein them for pain. Even though it wasnt bleeding I was afraid it would start when I took pressure off, as pads are known to do, but it never did.
The funny part of this is that this crazy whirling dervish of a poodle was perfect for all of this. We were both in shok but she stood still, didn't fuss, fight or flinch the first time.
I told the owners immediately what had happened and they are fine with it. I sent home three more styptic pads with instructions on how to use it if it should start bleeding and told them to take her to the vet if they think she needs it and keep me posted. I will call them tomorrow to check on her but I am 90% sure she will be fine and there will be no issues with this cut.
IF it had been a "closed cut" where the V was cut into the pad but it wasnt open, or a slice which has happened before as well, there would be much more chance of an infection, but when the cut is more of a scrape its not that big of a deal.
If it had been a closed cut I would not have used styptic either as it can cause problems in closed areas. I would have used vet wrap and a non-stick telfa pad to wrap it up in and gone to her vet for further treatment.
How you handle this type of situation is critical.
- Be honest
- TELL THE OWNER
- Accept responsibility
- pay for any medical treatment needed
- comp the NEXT GROOM if that is what it takes to keep the people happy.
As long as you behave in a professional and respectful manner the client will be fine in most cases. Trying to hide it or run from your responsibilites will cause you lots of trouble in the long run.