About Me:

I am a professional Pet Groomer. I have been grooming for 28 years. This Blog is a kind of diary of my work. I wish I had started years ago, writing some of the experiences I have had while grooming. Most days are fun, some can be sad, some can be just down right crazy. If you are a pet owner and come across this blog, I hope it helps you understand how your pet is groomed. If you are a Pet Groomer, I hope you can relate to some of the stories. Maybe even learn a grooming tip or can leave a friendly grooming tip for me. There is always something to learn, no matter how long you have been grooming.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Sometimes Vet's Drive Me Crazy

Actually, it's more than sometimes.

 I have been grooming this Wheaton for awhile now.

For about the last three groomings or more, I have been telling them that I thought their dog has an eye infection.
I am very careful to let owner know that 'I think', because if I say that I am sure, and they tell their Vet that 'the groomer said she has an eye infection', the Vets get upset and think that I am diagnosing an animal.

I had to tell them the last three times the dog was groomed, because it seems to take people three or four groomings before they seem to hear what I am saying, and take their dog to the Vet.  :p

To be honest, I am not even sure they took the dog to the Vet because of what I told them, or they just happened to be going for something else.

Anyway, when they came in for a grooming last week, the first thing the owner told me was that the Vet cut off the fall over their dogs I because of an eye infection.
He said it like he had know idea his dog had an eye infection.

The owner also told me that the Vet said, that the fall caused the eye infection, and even though the fall was how groomers wanted to groom the dog, the fall was causing the infection, and the eyes should be kept clear from now on.

The groomer wants the dog groomed like that?!
I do what the owner asks for.
I am always telling customers that they do not have to follow the breed standard groom, and that they should have their dog groomed the way they want it.

Do these owners really forget that they were the ones who asked for the dog to be groomed the way I groom it?
Well, that was a minor thing.
I just chalk it up to another stupid comment that a Vet makes about something they know nothing about...grooming.

But, that was not all.
I have also been saying something to this owner about the dogs skin.
A few groomings ago I noticed a couple irritated areas, and dark flaky skin.
I also told the owner that they should see their Vet about the skin.

After the owner talked to me about the eyes, he said; "oh, by the way, the Vet said that those dark flakes on her skin were just a little dry skin."
Then their Vet sold them that good old expensive bottle of Vet shampoo.  :/

Ya know, I know that I didn't spend years going to school to become a Veterinarian.
I know that I don't have a couple of diplomas on my wall.
And, I don't ever presume to diagnose a dog.

BUT, I can tell when something is simply dry skin and when it is something more.

This skin problem is all over this dog.

I have watched it spread over the past few groomings.

There are spots of thick, flaky skin with raw, irritated, gooey skin underneath.

I have seen this before on other dogs, and most Vet's give an antibiotic for a skin infection.

Actually, I have seen this skin condition diagnosed as a couple different things, depending on the Vet.

That is another frustration.

I washed the dog in the Vets shampoo.
Of course there wasn't enough left in the bottle, so I used some of my medicated and let the dog soak.

While she was soaking, I take a fine tooth comb and gently comb out as much of the flakes as I can.

These types of flakes rarely HV out of the coat, they cling to the hair.
They also turn gooey after the bath, and when you try to brush them out they mush into the hair and make the hair oily looking.
So I try get get as much of the flaky skin off while the dog still has shampoo on them.
Then I shampoo them again a second time.

I am sorry Mister Veterinarian, but I do not agree with your diagnosis.

 There are sores on this dogs skin.

So how do I tactfully tell the owner that I think they need to get a second opinion?

Simply like that.

Show them some of the worst spots and tell them that they need to get a second opinion.
I am always very careful not to come straight out and say that I think a Vet is wrong.

Boy, is that hard sometimes.

I also don't think it helps sometimes that I get rid of most of the dry flakes, and that when I get the hair nice, soft, and fluffy again, that the owners think that the Vet shampoo worked, and the dog is fine now.

In my perfect dream world, my customers and The Vets listen to me and take my advice.
Oh, and they respect what I do.  :)

Happy Grooming, MFF


  1. i totally agree! i have several dogs like this as well mostly cockers. they also buy the vet shampoo which never does anything. i always prewash with my own shampoos than use the vet shampoo after. i've ruined small combs combing that stuff out as well. or they want to keep the coat long and you have to convince them to go shorter until the skin is cleared up. the vet has no idea what it is. heres a shampoo and go on your way! then eventually they come back and buy the shampoo that i use on the dog once the vet shampoo ran out after two baths.

    1. Somebody help me! These pictures are what is going on with my 10 yr old cocker. Oatmeal shampoo, blood tests, high then low thyroid. I am now unemployed and cant afford the blood tests. I put him on an all natural lamb and rice food and bottled water. I live in Northern Nv, very dry here. This is going on now for almost 2 yrs. One groomer said it was hot spots (not) and another said spepporisis (iam spelling it wrong). Anybody Help! e-mail me at jweathers@frontier.com ps I am grooming him without using clippers because they scare me. Sciossors only. Yes he looks a little funny but oh well.

  2. Just remember that everything you've said the "Vet" said came second hand out of the mouth of the owner. And just as I'm sure the owner didn't relay EXACTLY what you said to them to the vet, I am pretty sure the owner didn't relay EXACTLY what the vet said back to you. I work in a veterinary clinic and see what happens first hand when these types of owners come in with dogs with skin issues - often the vet will give the owners several options to diagnose the cause of the skin problem, but sadly, most owners would rather take the "conservative route" and most will specifically ask if there is just a shampoo they can try instead. Please don't assume that most vets are just trying to "sell expensive bottles of shampoo" to owners, most of us in veterinary medicine do what we do because we care about animals and their well-being. If we were in it to be rich, we'd be in the WRONG profession. The common denominator to most of these issues seems to be the owners, I'm just saying.....

  3. Dear Anonymous,
    I went back and reread my post. It did come across as though I was frustrated with the Vet, and I was at the time. What you said is true. Owners are notorious for not listening, or hearing what they want to hear, or not relaying the correct information. I think that my frustration is mainly with the shampoo. Most of these shampoos require that the dog be bathed repeatedly in a short amount of time in order for the shampoo to do what it is supposed to do. Owners do not follow the instructions, and if they bath the dog themselves, they rarely do it correctly. I can safely state that fact, because I own a Self-Serve Dog Wash, and 8 out of 10 times the owners barely soap up the whole dog. Anyway you have opened my eyes to the fact of the owners choice in listening to their Vet. I should know, the owners do the same thing to me. Years ago I did work with a Vet. I did not always agree with what he had me do on a groom, but that was that particular Vet. I will say that I have so many different Vet shampoo's come through my shop that I wonder if the Vet's have really worked with these shampoos to see if they work, or do they just relay on what the rep tells them about the shampoo, and what it will do, because some of them are down right awful. I also can't help but wonder way the owner keeps coming back with new bottles of the same shampoo when it is so obviously not working. Bottom line, I wish that Vet's and groomers would work together for what is best for the pet. Unfortunately, there are bad Vet's and bad Groomers out there. I have a lot of respect for the Veterinarian field, but I have been talked down to by some Vet's as a pet owner and as a groomer. I really like my Vet and I respect him because he has earned it over the years. He listens to me and does not talk down to me. I have sent him ,many, many customers over the years. From now on I will take what the owner says with a grain of salt. I do wish that I could call the owners Vet and ask them if what the owner said was true. I have a feeling that would not go over well. LOL I will always work hard, on my part, to help keep my customers dogs healthy.
    I appreciate the feed back.
    Lisa, MFF

  4. I love your blog, I think i might want to go into grooming when I am out of school. I am only 16.. I love my dogs and I love spending time with my dogs. I have a poodle/bichon and a bichon and the wild card a German shepherd. I often groom my dogs between when there groomer visits. By groom for myself its basic bath brush, nail clipping, so no shaving for me. :D I think it would be enjoyable for me but for now i wouldn't dare clip my dogs I would not want to mess them up. lol I was just wondering if you ever get sick of being a groomer and what sometimes frustrates you. Also I know grooming for the owner can cost a fair amount but is it easy to make a living on this job. :D Thanks and I love seeing your posts. :D

  5. Hi Anonymous,
    I am sorry that I don't know your name. It is great that you are thinking about your future and possibly becoming a groomer. No, I haven't ever gotten sick of grooming. I have gone through a couple of burnouts because of working really long hours and grooming too many dogs in a day when I first started grooming.
    I love grooming because I know that I am helping to make dogs feel clean and good everyday. (even if they don't like getting groomed)
    Grooming is a very physical career. Some days can be very hard, (difficult dogs) some days can be very enjoyable and easy. (good dogs)
    It can be a well paying job once you work up your speed and find a job at a busy shop.
    What frustrates me the most? The owners!!!
    I can deal with all types of dogs, but the owners can drive you insane.
    All I can say is, if it is a carer that you think you would like, check into some grooming schools. Maybe they would let you sit in on a class or two before you decided what you want to do.
    Your young. You have time to try things out, and move on if it is not for you. When I opened my shop at the age of 21, we father said to me; "You know that most businesses fail in the first year right?" My answer was; "I know. I am 21. If I fall on my face I can always get back up and start again."
    In October of this year, my shop will have been open 25 years.
    You never know until you try something. Good Luck. Thanks for the questions and for reading my blog. :) Sorry it took me a while to get around to answering your questions.
    Lisa, MFF

  6. After scanning Google Images for half an hour, I stumbled upon the above photos. This looks exactly like what my Pomeranian is experiencing--though not at all to this degree. He has a couple of patches that look exactly like what is seen in photo #2.

    Would you mind emailing me any other information you may have about diagnosis/treatment? We haven't gone to the vet yet because, bless his heart, this dog is beyond terrified of the vet and has managed to bite more than one.

    My email is tsgentuso@yahoo.com

    ANY help is appreciated!

    1. Hi Tamara,
      Unfortunately, I am not a Vet and can not diagnose, or tell you a treatment. I would call around to Vets and explain what the skin looks like, and explain the dogs fear biting. Ask if they would sell you one of the special Vet shampoos that are made just for bad skin issues.
      When you get the shampoo, you MUST follow the directions exactly. Most of the shampoos say to bathe weekly and let the shampoo sit for 5 to 10 minutes before rinsing.

      This is a great website full of tons of information about Poms:


      Good luck!
      Lisa, MFF

  7. Dear MFF,

    I am from Malaysia, and it's a pretty hot and humid country.

    I have the exact same issues with my dogs. At first I noticed it on my Shih Tzu a few years back, and as my Shih Tzu is 10 years old, I figured it was due to aging, but I went to several vets with her anyways. They all had different diagnosis but the general consensus was that it was nothing serious and just sold me shampoos and ointments and creams. After half a year of trying I simply gave up and passed it off as an aging dog symptom. NOW, however, these flaky skin patches have appeared on my very new 7 month old ChowChow pup. THIS THING IS CONTAGIOUS! I brought my ChowChow to the vets and they gave me the same diagnosis again, and one even said it was the diet problem so I changed their diets from chicken to lamb to beef to turkey to duck to salmon. Basically the only diet option I have yet to try giving them is human meat. I first noticed the patches and brought the ChowChow to the vets when he was 4 months old. Now 3 months in after first noticing it and after about 10 vet visits and almost 1000 bucks blown away the problem still persists. Oh, and the problem also obviously causes them to bad itching because my ShihTzu is always scratching that spot on her neck for years now and the Chow is always biting at the black flaky bald spot on his tail and around his anus. I am frustrated and I am starting to doubt if the vets in my state are even actually qualified to be vets. Please advise what I can do for them. Anything would help at this point. I am absolutely devastated to see my dogs in this state and being completely helpless to do anything for them.

    1. Hi SeiZaiPao,
      I am sorry that your dogs are having skin issues.
      Since I am not a Vet, I can only offer some advice from previous situations that some of my customers have had.
      My first thought when reading your comment was, "Have the Vet's done a skin scraping for mange?"
      There are two forms of mange, one is very contagious.
      Over the years, I have had a couple of customers dogs show signs of mange, but when the skin was scraped the tests came back negative. The Vets went ahead and treated for mange anyway and the skin cleared up.
      I once had a Schnauzer that I groomed every 4 weeks. The dog was scratching ALL of the time. But her skin looked fine, and there was no hair loss. Her Vet did not think that it was mange, because all she was doing was itching and not showing any other signs of mange. The sever itching went on for almost a year. The owner was actually thinking about putting this beautiful, young Schnauzer down because she could not stand to see her so miserable.
      I begged her to take the dog to another Vet that would test for the mange (after all, she was the owner and she was the one who would pay for the test even if the Vet thought it was a waste of time)
      The owner went to another Vet, they tested the dog for mange, it was negative. The Vet treated her for mange anyway. (everything else had already been tried) It worked! She stopped all of the excessive scratching.
      Now, I am not sure if that is what is wrong with your dogs, but maybe it would not hurt to treat them.
      This is a very good link to read about the different forms of mange.
      Good Luck, Hope this helps,
      Lisa, MFF

  8. What did the diagnosis for this dog turn out to be? My poor foster dog I rescued from ROMANIA Has it, he is a poodle mix and he won't let me touch his abdomen because it hurts him so bad, we have tried steroids and antibiotics, the veterinarian also said it's "just flaky skin" But there is clearly that sore underneath the flake... I just ask so I can take him to the vet and talk with them about this!! Thank yo uso much from me and Tipy <3