Sunday, January 27, 2008

Beware of groomer

I think I finally have a good hypothesis about why Winnie got so sick. With a little help from our dermatologist, we decided that Winnie probably experienced something called "post-grooming pyoderma", or "post-grooming furunculosis", defined by JAVMA as "a distinctive, acute, and fulminant subgroup of deep pyoderma precipitated by bathing or grooming". I had never heard of it, but now will never forget it (oh please let it show up on board exams!).

I never mentioned on the blog that while Win and I were waiting for her bloodwork to be run, I noticed a half dozen or so bumps on her head and behind her neck. Since I just happen to be in derm class right now, I can say that they were pustules (not papules or macules or any of those other skin thingys). They were full of pus and painful to the touch. Her vet didn't seem too concerned, and thought they were probably little injuries from playing with another dog or cat.

Over the next day, though, the pustules grew and spread down her back. She also started losing her long black guard hairs by the handful. It was totally unlike any shedding I've ever seen before.

Wondering if the pustules and shedding were connected with Winnie's fever, I had quick talk with my professor after derm class. She said it sounded like a classic presentation for post-grooming furunculosis- Winnie was groomed on Saturday, had a fever on Monday, and developed pustules on Tuesday. So what happened?

At groom shops that dilute concentrated shampoo in a separate bottle, that bottle can eventually get infected with bacteria (usually a strain of Staphylococcus or Pseudomonas). During the bath, the bacteria gets introduced to the dog's skin, and during brushing, tiny microtraumas caused by removing hair allows the bacteria access to hair follicles. The next day the dog comes down with a fever, and within a few days develops painful little zits along the back. Any hair follicles that get infected become damaged, which results in profuse shedding.

It sounds like Winnie got off easy, because thankfully the antibiotic that her vet picked is exactly the one that would be used to treat furunculosis. Dr. Torres said that she's seen dogs go to the ICU with it. Scary! We can't really definitively say that Winnie had post-grooming furunculosis, since we didn't culture the pustules (remember, pustules are precious- they only last hours!) and didn't culture the shampoo bottle. But, it's a good thing to be aware of in case your dog gets sick within a day or two of being groomed. So far it's only been reported in the literature in dogs that have thick, firm hair, like terriers (or corgis, apparently), not dogs with soft or fine hair like poodles.

I don't have any good suggestions on how to avoid this problem, except that it seems to occur in shops that dilute their concentrated shampoo, and in shops that have self-service bathtubs. Psuedomonas is a nasty bug that can survive not only in shampoo, but in antibacterial shampoo (yikes). I suggest bringing your own bottle of shampoo.

Other than Winnie's saga, my life is the same old same old. Next week is the start of our first "hell week" of the semester- Friday is our Neuropharm final, Tuesday is a derm exam, Wednesday is cardiopulmonary, Thursday is reproductive bio, Friday is a day off to attend the MVMA convention (yay), and Monday is clinical pathology. Eek. We had our obstetrics final on Wednesday, so we have one class down already...


Kendra said...

I have a dog named Winnie! :) (
I'm so glad that you wrote this. I'm a groomer and I had NO IDEA about this until I smelled a fellow groomer's super-stanky old diluted shampoo a couple of years ago and decided to research the subject. It is awful that there is no required education for groomers, so most are like I was with no idea about many important sanitary and safety issues like this. I wrote an article about the need to sanitize dilution bottles ( and hope some more groomers stumble across it! You'd better believe we sanitize ours every night in my shop :) Thanks again for your part in spreading the word!

Katie said...

As a groomer (and a fairly well educated one) can I please add the following:

1) PGF *can* be caused by bacteria from the groomers dilution bottles (NB 99% of groomers buy concentrated shampoo and dilute as per manufacturers instructions)

2) Every dog is pretty much rife with bacteria. Any dog that has a matted coat which requires a shavedown is likely to suffer from PGF or PGA (Post Groom Alopecia) and your groomer should explain these risks to you.

3) What you do after you leave the groomer could well cause PGF. If you take your dog swimming, or for a wild-n-wet-muddy walk immediately after a clip off, bacteria can enter the pores. They'll remain open for 24-48 hours post groom and there is nothing the groomer can do about this.

4) Check your groomer's credentials, qualifications and sanitary arrangements before you book your dog in. Once you've found a good groomer - stick with her! Remember, a good groom is never cheap and a cheap groom is never good.


Jinn Jacobson said...

We have four dogs who are regularly groomed every 5 weeks. Our largest is a papered Standard Poodle, then a Pomerainian chihuahua mix, a Pomeranian/chihuahua/dachsund mix, and lastly a Carolina Dog (aka American Dingo). I24 hours after returning from the groomer's our American Dingo, Sydney SueRoo, began exhibiting odd symptoms...hiding away and then NOT eating. THAT was a dead giveaway something was wrong. Within the hour we noticed she had a fever. I took her to the vet the next morning, thus 43 hours following her shampoo. Her fever was 104.6. She was in pain, but we didn't know why or where. While the staff was inserting the catheter, a tech noticed blood oozing from the nape of her neck. Upon further inspection and shaving the area, blood filled boils erupted ALL THE WAY DOWN HER SPINE, a 5-6 inch wide pathway along her entire back! Her skin was raised and very pink, in addition to all the blood boils. Her fever spiked to 106.6. She was very ill. They cultured the area and found it was most certainly pseudomona. The particular strain required a specif anitbiotic that she remained on for three or four weeks. Yes, her hair follicle is much larger than the other three dogs, but later, I noticed my Standard Poodle and the smallest Pomerainian/Chihuahua mix had scabs and odd bumps along their backs and nape of necks. Our vet came over and cultured them and found they, too, had pseudomona present. Because their hair follicle is much thinner, they had a much less severe reaction than Sydney! We and our vet (who also takes his dog to this groomer) informed our groomer who was totally unaware of the situation and had never herard of this condition. Therefore, please, ask your groomer to NEVER use diluted shampoo on your dog and to regularly clean/sterilize shampoo bottles. Our Sydney was extremely ill!

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