The Importance Of Letting Owners Know

Shannon Moore, NCMG Director of Grooming Education, Espree Animal Products

Of course, we let the owners know when there are strange bumps and lumps popping up on the dog’s skin.  After all, we have our hands on the pets more frequently than just about anyone. The owners are almost always grateful for letting them know so they can take their pet to the vet for diagnosis and treatment.  But what about those spots that show up that we have accidentally caused (or at the time, we think we were likely to blame) ? Every groomer I know has some type of healing cream or Aloe Witch Hazel Spray to help quickly heal those areas that were brush burned or clipper burned.  It’s not like this happens every day but every once in awhile, it does happen regardless of how careful we are. We are human, we make mistakes and accidents can happen.  But did you ever stop and think that maybe it is not your fault and something medically could be going on with the pet?

Groomer’s are our own worst critics.  We immediately place the blame on ourselves or the products we have chosen to use if spots start to show up on the skin when we are grooming the pet or shortly thereafter.  I always try to provide immediate relief if I see this on a pet that I am grooming, but I also let the owner know.  If it happens more than once, I recommend the pet see their regular veterinarian for blood work.   I become suspicious of an autoimmune disease in the dog.  Sometimes what appears to be brush burn (or clipper burn) is actually something going wrong with the immune system.  The immune system plays a vital role in maintaining the body’s overall general health and resistance to disease.  Sometimes, things can go wrong with the immune system.  Normal handling and brushing can trigger an immune dysfunction with dog’s suffering from autoimmune disease.

Since environmental as well as genetic factors can “trigger” an immune dysfunction, I am more likely now to refer the dog to the vet when these unwarranted “spots” show up from normal handling and brushing.  Stepping outside of your comfort zone (of course, we don’t want to be blamed for causing these unusual skin irritations), recommending the owner takes the dog to their veterinarian may allow for proper diagnosis of an autoimmune disease that could have been left unattended for a long time!