I get emails from people around the country quite often about their pets who have been injured, and I always try to assist them in whatever way I can. Sometimes it is a simple accident, like a quicked nail, or a small irritation and I can calm them down and help them feel like it was really not a big deal and they are happy when they fully understand the problem.
Then there are the rare exceptions, thank goodness, that contact me because of a major, horrific accident, like I detailed in Chloe’s story .
One such person is Bailey’s mom.
I have reprinted her first email to me with her permission and her name withheld. She did give me approval to list her area of Canada. I was shocked to say the least and wanted to share this with all of you and maybe help educate someone in the dangers of heated dryers and in what to do if you suspect a burn. Bailey, below, was burned at the grooming shop by a heated cage dryer 2 weeks ago. She is still dealing with major medical complications. Here is her Mom's email.
Oh My Debi,
I just was fwd'ed your story about poor Chloe's story at the groomer. We have just experienced almost the same incident here in Prince George, BC , Canada.
Our dog Bailey, a coc-a-poo, went to the groomers on Aug 24, 2010 when I picked her up at 2:15, the groomer told me that there was a little incident and that she got a small burn....when I looked at her stomach, the whole belly area and the inside of her legs were black and purple. The groomer stated that the dog had a poop in the kennel and as such was sitting at the front of the kennel, obviously too close to the dryer and got burned. The groomer stated that she was in the kennel for about 15 minutes and was alerted to her situation when Bailey was panting really hard.
When I picked her up, I noticed that her burn was already oozing in a couple of places, and luckily I proceeded directly to our vet, where she was put on antibiotics and a few days later on pain medication as well. She has not had to be hospitalized up to this point, but we as a family are providing a lot of care for her and really having to work at making sure she is fed and hydrated, as her drive to eat and drink is not there.
I am attaching a few pictures. Do you know if there are Canadian journals, magazines etc that I can get in touch with to share my story so the word gets out there? Here in BC there does not seem to be any regulations around grooming facilities. I just do not want this to happen to another dog. The groomer that we dealt with refuses to look at the pictures, we have offered a few times and she has declined. She is not wanting to take responsibility and learn from this unfortunate incident. We are very, very upset with the situation and how the groomer is handling it.
Prince George, BC Canada
I find it absolutely repugnant that a groomer who KNEW the dog was injured failed to seek medical attention for that dog. I really find it horrible that the dryer industry continuously ignores the problem and continues to make dryer that get hot enough to cause this damage. Follow up emails have stated the groomer will not look at the photos and admits no fault in the case.
Remember the quote from above that reads: "The groomer stated that the dog had a poop in the kennel and as such was sitting at the front of the kennel, obviously too close to the dryer and got burned. The groomer stated that she was in the kennel for about 15 minutes and was alerted to her situation when Bailey was panting really hard". If the dog was indeed left with feces in the kennel it was not acceptable. If you have a dog have an accident clean it up! If the dog was indeed in the kennel for only 15 minutes then that dryer must have been extremely close and extremely HOT to do that kind of damage.
If this happens in your shop, you are obligated to seek medical attention and to pay medical bills regarding the situation. PERIOD. If you are using heated dryers hanging on kennels, you need to be extremely careful in how hot they are, how long you leave them in place and what type of cage bottoms you have. I have said it before and it bears repeating. NEVER use them on metal pans! Never use them in covered or solid sided cages, and never use them on high. Those things help make them safer. They are not, however, safe 100% in any case. there are several articles in this blog that discuss how to use them safely.
Here are the pictures I have so far.
the picture above was taken immediately after she got home, and immediately after seeing the vet.
In my opinion, this groomer is negligent and should be dealt with accordingly, if for no other reason that she failed to seek immediate medical attention for a condition that was noticeable at pick up.
I feel the dryer companies are negligent in that they continue to make dryers capable of this type of injury despite numerous burns occuring every year.
We have to do something to stop this madness! Banning cage dryers is not an option nor do I think it is a good idea, but I do think that dryers with safety switches, mandatory ten minute timers, and heat regulators that prevent them from putting out that much heat in the first place are all valid ideas that the industry has so far ignored.
How many more dogs have to suffer like Chloe and Bailey before this stops? Please do your part and make sure that IF you are using a heated cage dryer make sure you understand how it works and be safe about it! In my opinion, a cage dryer should have no heating element. I know not everyone agrees with me, but there is truly no reason for using a heated dryer on a dog in a cage. This is one of the things lacking in our industry. Safety controls on the manufacture of our equipment! Add to that we lack EDUCATION on how to use the equipment safely and correctly.
Until groomers start accepting responsibility for accidents and using equipment safely and in a way that makes sense, these types of accidents will continue to happen. Sadly there is no way to explain to a parent or a pet that is injured or one that has died as a result of groomer negligence, that nothing is being done to stop it from happening again. I am doing everything I can to spread the word. PLEASE spread the word yourself to everyone you know.
I am lucky that I sew. That means I can make things that no one sells or that are cost prohibitive to buy. One of those things I make for my shop is memory foam crate pads. They keep the dogs comfortable and happy, and happy dogs are quiet dogs.
You can buy crate pads pre-made, but they are pricey! By making them myself I can get exactly the size I need so that they fit my crates perfectly!
I figured out a few years ago that I can use a mattress pad and make waterproof covers for them, followed with pillowcase type covers and have comfy beds for my guests. You can use new ones or if you are replacing one (they wear out after a year or so usually) then use the old one to make dog beds with.
I started making them just for home, out of a mattress pad we were replacing since it had sort of come to an end of its usefulness in my bed. It wasn't supporting my body any longer but it did great for the dogs and that was a way of reusing an item rather than disposing of it in the landfill.
I use en electric knife to cut the foam if its more than 2 inches thick, and a rotary cutter if its less than that. I measure the size I want, mark it with a sharpie and cut to size.
Then I take the waterproof fabric (I get mine on Ebay) and lay it out on my table. Place the foam pad on top of it and cut a piece of fabric the size of the pad plus the depth. With a 4 inch thick pad you would want the width plus 4 inches. You need two of these pieces of fabric. I put a zipper in the shortest end and then sew the two pieces together. You can always make a slipcover like a pillowcase sham if you like, but I prefer zippers. If you cannot find waterproof fabric you can also use shower curtains. Those are a little heavier and more noisy but they work great.
The covers that go over this fabric are either flannel or fleece. I use fleece blankets as well sometimes to make covers out of. You can make them the same way as the waterproof cover using a zipper or you can cut one piece of fabric about 6-8 inches longer, and make a "pocket" to keep the pillow inside. You do that by folding the end down and then sewing the sides, hemming the edge if needed.
We change the top covers between each dog and if an "accident" occurs the waterpoof pad makes it easy to clean up. They can be sprayed and wiped off with regular spray cleaners or they can washed and hung to dry. The foam RARELY needs washing. It does not wash well in the washing machine if its more than about an inch thick, but if a leak happens and the pad gets wet you can always put it in the tub, work some soapy water into it and wring it out really well, lay on top of cage to dry.
I am a stickler and want the covers to all match so I have two complete sets of covers that fit my cage banks and play pens out in the front room. I have two or three "extras" in case of accidents. I do holiday themed ones as well just to be fancy.
The older dogs get the thicker, cushier beds. They seem to enjoy the pads and usually sleep most of the time they are here.
I have several beds like these at my house as well. My dogs love them!
Like many of you I am a member of several online forums. I have noticed that there is a huge amount of confusion about these three words:Clean, Disinfect and Sterilize.
Many people use them interchangably and yet they are not by any stretch interchangable. They each have a place in our industry and each has a definate definition attached to it.
Let's face it. We all want a clean, sanitary environment for our pets we care for and yet we all go about this differently. Understanding the differences in these words will make it easier for you to decide what to use in your shop to acheive what level of disinfection you are comfortable with.
Let's start with CLEAN. From the dictionary: To be free of dirt, marks or harmful materials.
Usually when an item is cleaned, soap or detergent is used in conjunction with water and/or a brush or cloth to remove unwanted materials from its surface. For example: Snap on combs, brushed, combs, blades, shears and nail trimmers can be cleaned with soapy water and rinse off. That will remove dirt, dander, blood, sebum, shampoo and conditioner residue, styling aids, etc. from their surfaces. This is a process that needs to be done routinely.
It is also NECCESARY to clean items before disinfecting them!
Disinfecting by definition: the killing of most microbial life that can lead to infection in humans—such as Influenza, Staphylococcus, HIV/AIDS, Herpes, Salmonella and Hepatitis. This can be acheived by using a chemical disinfectant or a tool like a UV sanitizer.
It is almost impossible to disinfect or sanitize a dirty item. You can kill the germs involved but you will still have dirt, grime and the like if you do not clean the items first.
I see all the time where people say they use Barbicide to clean. Well, no, you didn't. It is NOT a cleaner! It is, according to it's own website FAQ section a disinfectant to be used AFTER cleaning. From the lable:
INSTRUMENTS AND TOOLS: Thoroughly clean brushes,
combs, clipper blades, shears, razors, and other
inanimate hard surfaced non-porous tools and implements
prior to complete immersion for 10 minutes (or as required
by local authorities) in a solution as prepared above.
If you fail to clean the items first you are not effectively disinfecting your tools.
Now, I am not a fan of Barbicide. I know it can damage our equipment, especially non stainless metals. I use a cleansing alcohol and peroxide to disinfect my equipment. I wash everything off in soapy water, quite often in my tub after a day of grooming using my left over shampoo. Rinse, Dry. Then spray with alcohol. In between dogs, I remove hair and spritz with my alcohol.
NOW we have the word STERILIZE. In most cases this term DOES NOT apply to grooming tools. When an item is sterlized, generally cold or heat autoclave units are used. They are used to kill 100% of all organic micro organisms. This is needed in surgical situations but it is not needed nor is it practical in grooming tools. Once an item is removed from a sterile packet or uv sterlizer, it is no longer sterile.
Since we are not using our tools inside an animal there is no reason to sterilize our equipment.
Another issue I see all the time is people not using their disinfectants correctly. You cannot simply spray a surface down and wipe it off. You MUST allow it to stay in contact (wet) with the cleaned surface for the amount of time specified on the lable of the product. Barbicide states a ten mi nute contact is needed. Bleach usually kills many things on contact but for stubborn bacteria and viruses it takes ten minutes. Parvasol? Ten minutes. Chlorhexidine? 15 minutes. Nolvasan? Again 15 minutes.
I have even seen vets spray down a table, wipe it down and then get upset when I put my own towel down but I do it anyway. I just dont trust their cleaning!
Now, Peroxide based disinfectants are faster. 30 seconds to one minute! Alcohol requires ten minutes.
If you simply spray and then dry with a cloth you are accomplishing nothing. You must allow the surface to stay wet for the required time or you are not actually disinfecting.
If you do not clean the items first you are wasting your time.
Make sure you are actually disinfecting items correctly! Otherwise you are not only wasting time and money but you could be spreading illnesses and that is not what we want to do!
Something strange happened to me today at work and I wanted to share it with you because it’s something that might affect all of you at some point in time.
One of my groomers was wearing a pair of sneakers that were brand-new, and I noticed that they were collecting hair on the bottom so bad that it was tracking through the entire shop when he would walk from one room to the other. Apparently he had worn them a couple of times this week and I just hadn’t noticed. In fact now a comment that the AG Department inspector made when he came to inspect makes a lot of sense to me; “There is hair everywhere in the shop!”
It turns out they had felt built into the bottom of them. Yes, they had a rubber soul like you would expect but there was felt in the middle of the footpad and even on the heel.
I’m not some experience with issues from before because my daughter has bought some flat shoes at Payless before that had them, so I know how much hair they collect as she used to work the front desk for me. What I didn’t realize until today is how dangerous they can be!
My groomer was sliding everywhere. He would clean off the bottom of the shoes take two steps and have the bottoms covered again. He actually said “I think I’m going to break my neck in these!” So I decided that a blog entry on what to look for in the soles of the shoe before buying it was a really good idea.
What I learned actually makes me very glad I am doing this article. Not only are they slippery and dangerous to walk in, they are actually banned in several states on fishing boots and water waders. Who would’ve ever thought that that felt on the bottom of the shoes would be a health hazard?
Felt bottom shoes have become popular with fishermen because they help grip better on slippery surfaces when they are wet. The problem is the felt never seems to dry out completely and it can transfer bacteria and fungi from one location to another. That is dangerous to the environment because it transfers illnesses that are isolated in one area to other areas where they are not present.
Since 2008 felt soled boots have been prohibited in New Zealand and various states in the United States are following suit: Maryland, Vermont, Alaska, Maine and Montana to name a few.
This got me thinking, which is a dangerous thing sometimes. In a grooming shop or a vet clinic this can be HIGHLY problematic because you could be tracking and parvo, distemper, or other illness that a dog or cat has and carry it from one part of your shop or clinic to another, possibly infecting other animals.
This is actually one of the hazards I never saw coming and had no idea was going to exist!
So what should you look for in choosing a pair of shoes to work in?
I have actually had sneakers that before that I purchased two groom in that I couldn’t groom in because they were very, very flexible and the grooves in the bottom were very deep. Very deep grooves will trap just as much hair as felt will. If the bottom of the shoe is to smooth it will also slide across the top of the hair rather than grip the floor. So look for something with a little bit of traction on the bottom that’s not very high profile.
If you work at a vet clinic is extremely important that you be able to disinfect your shoes by either stepping in a bleach solution or spraying it with some type of disinfectant before you leave, and often times before you go into another room. One of the clinics I serviced had a parvo room and every time you went in and every time you went out you bleached your shoes. If nothing else you going to be spraying disinfectant on the bottoms and they need to be sturdy enough to handle it.
Even in a grooming shop it’s not a bad idea to disinfect your shoes before leaving and even when coming into the building. If you are around animal waste as in a boarding Kennel it can be critical to disinfect your shoes. Cheap shoes won’t stand up to disinfecting well so make sure you spend some money and get a good pair.
It’s just good sanitation to make sure your shoes are clean and cleanable! So it’s not just about safety it’s about health as well. Shoes with felt on the bottom cannot be sanitized and therefore have no place in the grooming shop or vet clinic in my opinion.
So next time you’re shopping for shoes don’t just look at the bottom price look at the bottom of the shoe! It may very well save you from injury and the lives of the dogs (or fish) you come into contact with may well be at risk if you don’t.
This article showed up on a friend of mine's Facebook feed and I am posting it here to share it with you.
It is one of the worst matted dogs I have ever seen in my career.
The story as told in the newspaper is as follows (I did work on the translation a bit)
At the end of last week, around 1 am, the staff of Pet Center Marginal Marginal Tietê, which runs 24 hours, jumped. The poodle came up there for the aesthetic center (grooming center) of the site led by a trio of young people who had left a concert and rescued the pup on the street. The surprise, of course, was the deplorable state of the animal.
Her long-haired and filthy that had not seen scissors for at least four years. Some wires were wrapped into the dreadlocks. Customers waiting in line at the bathing and grooming once gave way to the poor pooch. For two hours, the employee Araceli Sousa unfolded it to get rid of more than 3 pounds of badly tangled hair that was hard like a cast. Fleas nor water could penetrate the coat it was so hard and thick.
During the procedure, done with scissors and electric shaving, the poodle was angry, because it was necessary tugging your skin to remove the hair. Furthermore, his ear, for example, was hematomad. The result was worth it and it came out pretty clean (and much lighter) as shown in the last picture. In the end, kissed, licked the groomer and returned to his new home with one of the boys who saved him from the streets.
I wanted to share this with everyone, because we do not see th ings like this often, thank goodness, but some people DO see them, and knowing how to remove t his type of hair is a tremendous skill.
That groomer needs an award!
I know that many of you are ardent ear pluckers and have the thinking (albeit flawed) that if you do not pluck that a dog will have ear infections. I am of the other school of thought but generally we trim the ear hair back to allow airflow.
WELL, on Bo we obviously didn't do that. Here is a picture of his ears with the hair that has never been plucked in his life.
It is the same length as the hair on the outer part of his ears.
Please note that it is not discolored, not stained in any way. the ear is clean, not inflamed, red or smelly. This dog has never had the first ear infection that I know of in two and half years.
So this is to prove my point that NOT plucking does not always lead to ear infections. Plucking alone does not lead to healthier ears.
i am a firm believer of the "If it ain't broke don't fix it" way of thinking.
I think that cleanliness of the dog, diet, and genetics play a huge role in whether or not a dog will have ear problems.
I know that some dogs need plucking but this is proof that not all do. When a client says to me "The vet said to have you do it" I tell them why I don't do it, and tell them that if the vet thinks it is medically neccesary to do it let him do it. I ALSO hear "The vet said it doesn't hurt them" and I explain that it CAN and quite often DOES hurt the dog and that I do not want to be the bad guy causing their puppy pain unnecessarily. I then go on to explain that the hair is actually a sheild against dirt and water and will help the ear stay healtheir if they just leave it alone.
I have not e er lost a client that I know of because I refused to pluck the ear hair. I did have one person years ago get angry with me because I told her I couldn't pluck her dog's ears but it was a lab with no hair in the ears. There was no reasoning with that person. I have had clients get pset when I refused to clean or pluck inflamed, obviously infected ears, but I don't deal well with clients who put other things before the health of their dogs.
SO whenever you wonder if the ear plucking has to be done or else, look at Bo. Obviously it doesn't.
can really injure the dog. I have had two owners who were completely clueless as to the condition of their pets when they brought them to us for grooming.
CAUTION! THE PHOTOS BELOW ARE GRAPHIC AND MAY BE UPSETTING TO SOME OF YOU!
First was Bear, a Shih-tzu-Poodle mixed puppy that had not been groomed in 3 months. He is about 6 months old. He HAD been to the vet for his vaccines, including a rabies vaccine given four weeks prior to his grooming.
When his dad came in he asked me to check his collar because the vet had told him it was getting a bit tight and he needed a new one and since I had some left from Christmas I told him I would find him one that fit better. I had not checked it at that time, but I wish I had. I placed Bear in a crate on a pad while I checked in the next client, then took him out and went to put him on my table to check the collar before I forgot.
I smelled what I thought was a badly infected ear and yet when I looked at his ears nothing was wrong. I then start looking for the infection and I found that his collar was not just too tight it was actually buckled into his skin and the buckle itself was growing into his skin.
I tried to remove his collar but could not do it. I could not get the buckle to push in because of the skin growing into it and as a result had to call my son from the other room to come help me. It was a para-cord collar and my son makes those and survival bracelets so I thought he may have some wisdom for me.
I called the vet clinic that treats this dog and they refused to see him unless the owner brought him in. Since I had been unable to get the owner on the phone, that wasn't possible. I was livid that they would not treat this dog as it was an emergency in my opinion.
Brian, my son, managed to use my nail clippers to remove the para-cord from the buckle and it gave me enough play to be able to get the buckle undone. I know this had to hurt but he was really a good puppy for the entire procedure.
I shaved this area just a little bit and then put the dog away to wait for the owner to pick him up. I supposed I could have groomed him but I was afraid to as the loop and even water from the bath might have aggrevated the injury and caused a big problem. I wanted this dog treated before I groomed him
Three weeks later this puppy came back in and we were able to groom him. This is the almost-healed neck.
Now I k now some of you think he should have been reported for neglect or abuse, but honestly he was shaken by the condition of the puppy. He is an older man and he did not know this was an issue. He knew he needed a new collar, but he did not know it was this bad. In all honesty I blame the vet as much as the owner because they told him he should consider getting a larger one but did not remove the too small one or make it a big deal. He said they acted like it was OK still, just something to think about doing. I know he loves this puppy.
Then we see Callie, the cocker, who stays outside because she wants to not because the owner wants her to. They thought they were doing the right thing putting straw in her dog house for the winter so she could stay warm. The thing is they got very small, hard straw. It then got into her hair and worked its way into the skin. Under her front legs where mom and dad could not see it were abcesses.
I literally pulled straw out that had worked its way straight into the skin over a half of an inch. I was floored. Her mom was in tears, but honestly she could not see it and had no idea that what they thought was the right thing to do was the wrong thing to do. Her vet called me to let me know she was going to be ok and to thank me for sending her straight there after the grooming. He went on to pull out more pieces from her pads, which I could not touch, and her underams when he opened the abcess further to clean it up.
So sometimes, good owners are oblivious to problems their pets have, and it is our job to direct them to the vet. Sometimes it is neglect. Sometimes it is simply lack of knowledge. Our jobs include the responsibility to know when to report an owner for neglect or abuse and to know when it truly was something they just didn't know about. It is a fine line at times, but knowing how to evaluate a situation and make an informed decision is a skill we all need to have and work on.
I do not think either of these families deliberately mistreated their pets. I think that had they known there was a problem they would have addressed it really early in the situation and it would not have been as bad for either pet. But I am glad I was able to help these dogs.
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.
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.
I have seborrhea, and while most of the time it doesn't bother me very much, today it was driving me crazy looking at all of the scaly, itchy skin, and the constant digging at it trying to get some relief from the itching.
I had lotion but as I was looking for it, I had a thought. If it works on dogs.....and I pulled out my sugar and scrubbed my arms for a minute, rinsed and man I am HAPPY! No more itching and the scaling is gone.
I am embarrassed at the way the before photos of my arm look to be honest with you. It has been very dry here and cold, and we are running heaters day in and out. I had to bathe a few dogs this afternoon and it played heck with my skin. I also had been scratching at it big time, and I ran out of my normal body scrub I used and had to use regular soap last night when I showered. All of those things made my arms look like I had some type of skin disease this evening!
I despise lotion, especially when I am working due to the way it attracts hair and causes irritation, so I don't use it often enough. I think the pictures make it look worse than it appeared in person. I hope so anyway! Lotion would not have helped do anything but mask the symptoms, and tomorrow the flakes would be back, looking for more lotion.
So even though I looked awful beforehand, just a spoonful of sugar helped the skin flakes go away! No loofa, no shower pouf, just a bit of sugar on wet skin, scrub, rinse and viola! Smooth skin that even feels as smooth as it looks!
So while some say what's good for the goose....well I say what's good for the dogs is good for me too! At least in this case!