There’s a lot more to being a good pet groomer than just cutting hair. A visit to the groomer puts the pet in front of a professional, and represents an opportunity for a trained eye to detect medical problems that the owner was not aware of.
This happens all the time; knowledgeable groomers are able to detect skin disorders, abnormal growths, ear and gum infections, various eye problems, and infected anal sacs to name just a few. Even more subtle problems like dehydration, breathing difficulties, evidence of pain, and changes in temperament are often first noticed by groomers attuned to animal health. These are bits of information that can translate into important clues of medical problems.
Some pets don’t like to be groomed, and need sedation or even light anesthesia before allowing a groomer to work her magic. This is a perfect example of the helpful relationship between the grooming and veterinary professions. Those pets would never be groomed without such cooperation.
We’ve noted examples of how grooming professionals find medical disorders and bring it to the veterinarian’s attention for treatment. Groomers are also part of the solution to problems first noted in the examination room; various skin problems in particular.
Allergy cases benefit by hair trimming and bathing that remove allergens from the skin and hair coat
• Cases of yeast infections that thrive in hairy, moist areas such as the foot pads and between folds of skin improve with hair trimming and cleansing.
• Undercoat stripping is a fabulous procedure to remove excess hair that fails to fall out of the hair follicles. This creates a thickened hair coat that prevents proper aeration of the skin and contributes to many skin problems.
The ideal setting is one in which great groomers see their clients at a veterinary hospital. They inform the veterinarian of problems they’ve noticed, the veterinarian examines and makes recommendations to the pet owner, and the animal receives treatment for ailments that were previously unknown. A pet can likewise be transferred to the grooming department for medicated bathing, trimming, or undercoat stripping to help patients seen in the examination room.
Sedation or anesthesia can be administered and properly monitored for safety by the veterinary staff while the grooming services are performed; the pet gets the care needed due to this cooperative arrangement.
I have always made it a priority to have great groomers on staff because pets get better care when groomers and veterinarians work together.