We ™ll end our series on preventive care by looking at the outside of our pets – skin and coat. It is amazing how often we ignore the part of our pets that we look at and touch the most! External parasites such as fleas and ticks are quite easily controlled with products available through your veterinarian. There are several new products, both topical and oral that are just becoming available. Both dogs and cats benefit from regular brushing. Taking the time to brush even short haired animals once per week will help you to remove debris and undercoat, while also making you more aware of new lumps, bumps and sores. Longer haired pets are prone to matts, especially Persian cats, Golden Retrievers and pets having regular ear cleanings. These tightly wound wads of hair can develop so close to the skin that they actually pull on the skin and cause pain and open sores. Removal can require specialized scissors and even sedation! Excessive undercoat (the part that eventually sheds) can trap oils and debris and contribute to itchiness and infections. Many dogs are prone to anal gland infections. If over-full, these glands can make the anal area itchy and sore, and they can contribute to generalized itchiness. We recommend emptying the glands monthly if you pet has trouble with them. And don ™t forget toenail trimming. Allowing toenails to get too long can interfere with normal walking, lead to sprains and strains and even cause extreme pain if a nail grows into the pad or skin of the toe!

While we do not offer complete grooming services at Animal Care Clinic, we do provide bathing, nail trims and basic clipping. We also have a wonderful self-serve bathing area so you can bathe your pets with warm water in an elevated tub, and we clean up the mess – come check it out!

by Bonnie Markoff, DVM, ABVP