Thursday, 4 June 2015

Post Clipping Alopecia

To Clip or Not to Clip: A Summertime Conversation

As the summer heats up, so does the conversation among groomers that about the pros and cons of clipping down double-coated dogs. 

Summer is the season for clip downs, or is it?  There are many groomers that hold the position that pet owners are asking for shave downs, and we have the tools and skills to do the job. We should do it.  If one groomer refuses, another will accept the client and take home the money. Many groomers agree with pet owners that removing a thick coat is the humane response. On the other hand, a growing number of groomers are reluctant to shave some coats and will attempt to educate the client and redirect them to a less radical solution to the heat problem. 

Function of the canine coat. Together the skin and coat of all mammals form the largest sensory organ. Hair is an appendage of the skin; it is not a separate system. The main purpose of dog hair is to regulate body temperature; it holds in body heat in the winter and dissipates heat from the sun in the summer. 1,2 The coat also provides protection from environmental elements and the sun.3 The canine coat features a compound hair follicle where there are several or many secondary (undercoat) hairs and a single primary (topcoat) hair.  The longer the hair, the more it can dissipate the heat away from the skin.  Light colored hair reflects heat, while dark colored hair absorbs and holds heat.  Black, short-haired dogs are the most uncomfortable in the heat and long, light-haired animals will be the most comfortable.2 Profuse or thick undercoat, however, will trap heat next to the skin, regardless of color. 

It is a common mistake by humans to assume that dogs experience their coats the same as we would experience their coats.   Humans have eccrine sweat glands over most of the body that serve thermoregulation.  Dogs do not. Dogs pant, humans sweat.  When dogs pant on a hot day, it does not mean that they need to have their entire hair coat removed.  Here’s how one science writer puts it: “In the case of man, the removal of clothing during hot weather increases the ability to lose heat by evaporation of moisture. The dog does not have this ability and therefore his insulation is a protection to him during hot weather. If the animal loses his insulation during very hot weather, by having his coat clipped for instance, he runs the risk of not being able to maintain his body temperature. His skin temperature loss probably is not only inefficient but, since he does not perspire, he will probably increase the temperature of his skin and his body temperature as well.4

Coat Growth and Growth Types Mammalian hair grows in a three-phase process: anagen, or growth phase, catagen, a transition phase, and telogen, the resting phase.  Two distinct types of canine coat can be identified by their main growth patterns: Anagen Predominant coats have a majority of hairs in the growing stage at any time. The growth stage is prolonged.  Hair growth and shedding occurs in a mosaic pattern, sprinkled throughout the body. These are coats of indeterminate length that can be trimmed with little concern for re-growth.  Examples of this type of coat are Poodles and Shih Tzu. Most of the “low shedding” breeds have anagen predominant coats.  Telogen Predominant coats will have a majority of hairs in the resting phase at any time.  This type of coat is found on Nordic breeds (aka Spitz breeds), such as Huskies, Malamutes, Chows, and Pomeranians.  The telogen phase for these dogs may be prolonged, even for years.  Hair growth, as well as catagen transition and telogen phase is patterned and occurs in waves, often in relation to changes of light and temperature in the environment.  Characteristic of these coats is that the secondary hairs are on a much faster cycle than the guard hairs.  When coats of this type are shaved down, they sometimes present problems re-growing a new coat.  

Post Clipping Alopecia – Hair Cycle Arrest. Post Clipping Alopecia simply means lack of hair growth after clipping. It is a medical category coined by veterinarians to identify cases where dogs were shaved for surgeries and had significant delay in growing hair at various sites.  Post-grooming problems with hair growth are included in this category.  Although most medical references will maintain that the hair will grow back within 12-24 months, some veteran groomers have witnessed extended or permanent failure of the coat to regrow, or situations where the coat itself is permanently altered, becomes wooly, thick, fuzzy, is lacking in guard hairs, or loses color. 
Dr. Linda Frank, a leading researcher in the study of canine hair and alopecia, considers post-clipping alopecia to be a condition of hair cycle arrest.  Simply put, the hairs enter the telogen phase and eventually fall out, but new growth is not initiated.  A similar condition exists among a group of disorders called Alopecia X, which include what Malamute breeders call Coat Funk and Pomeranian breeders call Black Skin Disease.  Alopecia X disorder(s) are spontaneous, not related to clipping. 9

The incidence of post-clipping alopecia from grooming is unknown. Many cases go unreported and undiagnosed. About Alopecia X, the Pomeranian Charitable Trust notes that,  “The reports of cases that recoat using a particular method (and not having responded to other methods) tend to confirm the concept that we are looking at multiple causes which can produce similar results. The number of confirmed ‘Clipper Alopecia’ cases appears with greater frequency than thought previously. Commonly these cases recoat spontaneously after two years.”

In some cases of poor re-growth or hair loss, the dog has an underlying health problem such as hypothyroidism that has not yet been detected.  The shave down just brings the condition to light.  It is important that dogs with post-clipping alopecia be referred to a veterinarian to be tested for endocrine disorders.  These diseases are treatable and have effects on the overall health of the animal.  Alopecia X and post clipping alopecia have no established treatments.

Does the clipping itself cause the arrest of the hair growth cycle? Inquiring minds want to know!   The cause of poor re-growth or hair loss after clipping has not been determined.  Dr. Frank says, “The plush-coated breeds may have Alopecia X or simply have been shaved during the normal telogen phase of the hair cycle.”5  McKeever Veterinary Dermatology Clinic says, “The exact mechanism is unknown, but one theory is that decreased perfusion of hair follicles, secondary to vasoconstriction due to cooling of the skin by removal of the hair, may lead to premature termination of the growing phase. Alternatively, it may simply reflect a very long resting period before the next hair growth cycle.   It is not possible to determine if the dog that suffers from hair loss after a shave down has a pre-existing Alopecia X that may have manifested regardless of the grooming.  Because these poor hair growth conditions are considered cosmetic and have no far reaching health concerns, they have low priority for study.  The uncertainty about the cause of post-clipping alopecia has much to do with the fact that scientists have not yet been able to identify the precise trigger that sends a hair from telogen phase into anagen phase and the creation of a new hair shaft.  Once they identify what triggers the growth message, they will be closer to knowing what is missing in hair cycle arrest. Meanwhile, it’s important to remember that while we can’t say that clipping causes hair cycle arrest, we also can’t say that it doesn’t. 

Why do some coats grow back and others don’t?            We simply don’t know.  The fact that close clipping does not always result in hair cycle arrest would suggest that there are multiple factors in play that create the alopecia. The clipping must line up with some other factors.  Unfortunately, previous clipping with successful regrowth is not a reliable predictor of what might happen the next time a dog is clipped down.  Older dogs seem at greater risk, possibly because the amount of telogen hairs increases in senior dogs. Very young dogs with coats that are not fully developed also seem at greater risk.  Overall health is certainly a factor to consider.  Outdoor dogs are more subject to sunburn, which can further complicate coat growth.  None of these factors, however, can be relied upon to predict whether a particular dog is going to re-grow a shaved coat.  It’s a roulette game.  Use your clippers and take your chances! 

            Many rescue organizations dealing with Nordic breeds are making strong recommendations that their breed not be clipped down except in a situation of medical necessity. This position against shave downs is not a fad or a trend; it is a position that has evolved through decades of experience and the realization of the possible consequences of the decision to remove a whole coat.  A dog’s coat may attract a mate in the wild, but in the City, it attracts a pet owner.  Loss of the animal’s appearance can make a rescue unadoptable.  It can be devastating to a pet owner, especially when other people make assumptions about the animal being ill or poorly cared for. Poor re-growth is not only a cosmetic matter.  Without sufficient hair coat, a dog may be more at risk of skin cancer.  An alarming statistic published by VPI Insurance is that dogs are thirty five times more likely than humans to have skin cancer.  Engaging the veterinarian in the decision to clip off a Nordic coat makes the procedure and extension of veterinary care, and the vet bears the burden if the coat does not re-grow. 

Alternative Approaches.  A thorough carding of the coat or deshedding will usually render a Nordic coat “breathable” and comfortable for the dog.  Deshedding is best done on clean, conditioned, coat.  To attempt to brush out a matted Malamute before the bath is groomer torture.  A bathing system is a must-have for working products through thick double coats. SaveUrFur has designed a system to power shed in the tub with their special products. Likewise, a recirculating bathing system will power shampoo through the double coat and use the conditioner to slide hair off the dog. By using water pressure to break through the packed coat and slide undercoat into the tub, you can save up to half your time of blow drying with hair flying. 

            Using silicone-based products can help remove vast amounts of packed undercoat.  Silicone ingredients dry to a glass-like surface on the hair shaft and help the loose hair slide out.  You can spray a silicone detangler on a damp coat and dry it in.  If you have a recirculating bathing system, you can add one or two ounces of silicone detangler to your conditioning phase and rinse it through.  There also deshedding products available from several manufacturers. Good products, good water pressure and a powerful dryer will enable the groomer to work out nearly any double coat. 

            Clipping the underbelly and underchest can help a thick-coated dog cool off without damaging the coat.  The rear end and forechest can be trimmed with a snap-on comb to further lighten the look and feel of the coat without risking coat damage, coat alteration or poor re-growth. Air can move through the coat, the dog can cool off by laying on a cool surface, and you have achieved a trimmed up “summarized” appearance.  Win-Win!

Article Credit:  

BBird's GroomBlog

 The Art and Science of Pet Grooming

Monday, 23 March 2015

Canine Lice....Yes dogs can get Lice too!

Although dogs can get lice, rest assured it is a different kind of lice than humans get, and much easier to treat. Also it is not transferable to humans or cats. 

Dog lice are species specific, so you, your kids, and your cats cannot get lice from your dog. A person with a human form of lice cannot pass it to their dog. Human lice crawl fast; dog lice are almost motionless. The human form of lice likes clean hair. A dog’s coat is not clean enough for human lice to live on.

There are two species of canine lice: 
1.  Biting (Mallophaga): trichodectus canus and Heterodoxus spiniger (feed on skin flakes and skin)
2.  Sucking linognathus piliferus setosus (feed on dogs’ blood and are more irritating)
        Cats have one biting louse and that is Felicola subrostratus.
Lice lay eggs (termed nits) on the hair shafts. The lifecycle takes about 21 days to complete.
Females lay up to 100 eggs or nits.

They are flat, gray, wingless parasites that are about a twelfth of an inch long. Dog lice are very slow movers. In fact, they hardly move at all. Unlike fleas they do not jump from dog to dog, but dog lice are still spread through dog-to-dog contact. This means if your dog interacts with other dogs on the trail, at the dog park, at your friend’s house or wherever dogs congregate... your dog may catch them. 

Symptoms your dog may show:

  • Excessive itchiness and scratching.
  • A dry scruffy-looking coat.
  • Hair loss, most often around the ears, neck, shoulders, groin, and rectal area.
  • Anemia, particularly in puppies and small dogs and particularly with severe infestation.

Picture below of Canine Lice:

What to do If your dog has lice: 
You have a few options on how to deal with the problem. Dog lice can cause severe irritation and illness to your dog. In addition, dog lice carries disease and can cause complications such as anemia.

Contact your vet about using Frontline, Advantage, Revolution or other medications given by your vet as a preventative measure, and if your dog has visible lice. It is recommended that you repeat two weeks later. Also you can bathe your dog in a pyrethrin-based shampoo at seven-day intervals.

Revolution is one of the most recommended preventatives, but always consult your vet first.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

The Kennel Cough Myth


Kennel cough is a fairly common ailment in dogs. People tend to associate it with dogs who are being or recently have been boarded (or "kenneled"). But your dog need not be boarded to catch kennel cough. Kennel cough is caused by an airborne virus,(parainfluenza) or a Bacteria called Bordetella, which is highly contagious. The Bordetella bacteria resides in almost every dog, however a good immune system keeps the bacteria under control. A low immune system or stress, can trigger Bordetella to take hold and results in infectious trachiobronchitis . Any time your dog is in the vicinity of an infected dog, the potential exists for infection. The incubation period is about 4-10 days, meaning your dog will not display symptoms of illness for about 4-10 days following exposure to the virus. Having a strong immune system is best way to avoid coming down with symptoms if/when your dog is exposed to the virus. This is why not every dog in the kennel (or house) will get it if there is an outbreak.

Although there is a vaccine (Bordetella) for Kennel Cough, it is often not effective in preventing infection. The most likely explanation for this is that there are many strains and mutations of the virus out there. Therefore, it is hit or miss whether the vaccine used on your dog will be the right one for the strain with which your dog comes into contact. This is similar to the "flu shot" for people; each year a vaccine is developed based on which strain(s) are suspected to be most prevalent. Be aware that your dog can still catch Kennel Cough even if s/he has had a shot to prevent it.

More commonly, an intranasal vaccine containing both parainfluenza and Bordetella is used. Intranasal vaccines create localized immunity that greatly reduces the incidence of clinical signs and illness. There are several precautions and warnings that need to be observed pertaining to this vaccine. Some dogs will develop mild signs similar to tracheobronchitis when given this vaccine. Very often, the symptoms will last for several days and the dog will recover without treatment. Dogs that are vaccinated can also shed the virus and cause other dogs to become mildly infected and show mild signs. This shedding usually lasts less than 72 hours. In addition, it takes up to 4 days after vaccination for dogs to develop protection. When you combine these facts, you will see why I strongly recommend that a dog not be given intranasal vaccine within 72 hours of coming into contact with other susceptible dogs. Do not give the vaccine the day before a dog show, boarding, etc. Try to give at least four days before contact with other dogs, and preferably 7 days. This way you will protect your dog from becoming infected by other dogs, and protect those dogs from becoming infected by yours. Our experience with this vaccine is that almost every dog that has had this vaccine, when put in a boarding situation, develops kennel cough if stressed. Adverse effects the intranasal vaccine can burden your pet with are: Permanent Post nasal drip, Upper respiratory damage, and dogs with heart problems, this vaccine can be fatal.

The usual symptoms of Kennel Cough include a dry, "non-productive" cough. The dog sounds as if there is something stuck or caught in the throat and the coughing is an unsuccessful attempt to dislodge the object. Sometimes the coughing/gagging seems very violent. The episodes of coughing may go on for minutes at a time and then be repeated at intervals. Of course you will want to check your dog and make certain that there isn’t anything actually stuck in the throat! One way you can "test" for Kennel Cough is to press the throat gently, right in the collar area. If the dog has Kennel Cough, this will probably trigger some coughing.

If your dog does develop Kennel Cough symptoms, don’t panic! The way this illness operates is analogous to the common cold that we humans sometimes catch; simply put: it must run its course. There is no magic pill or cure, but there are many ways to treat and ease the symptoms. The goal is to support the body (immune system) while it is healing itself. Antibiotics are NOT indicated (although they are routinely prescribed and used) because this is a virus, not a bacteria. Antibiotic use is actually thought to slow the healing process. Kennel cough generally will be gone in two weeks time or less, with or without antibiotics (but probably faster without).

'Kennel Cough,' now more commonly referred to as 'infectious tracheobronchitis' is a widespread disease caused by several different viruses and bacteria. It is usually a self-limiting disease and most animals do not require treatment. Intranasal vaccines are effective, but due to some possible side effects, are recommended for animals that are at higher risk. Infectious tracheobronchitis is a disease of dogs and wild canids, it does not appear to be a risk to healthy humans or cats.

Here are some ideas for natural treatments you may use to treat your dog’s Kennel Cough symptoms. None of these will harm your dog in any way, even if s/he does not have Kennel Cough, but you may want to check with your own vet before giving them to your dog.

For boosting the immune system and fighting off infection:

500 mg Vitamin C 3x/day (250 mg for tiny dogs) (If you already supplement with vitamin C, great! But this is in addition to the regular daily dose, and is spaced out during the day.)

Herbal tinctures:
Echinacea (give a few drops, 3x/day, either directly into the mouth or on food)
Goldenseal (same instructions as Echinacea)

Colloidal Silver (Give just a drop or two, 3x/day. May be mixed with food or put into drinking water.)

For directly combating the Kennel Cough virus:
Homeopathic Remedies:
Bryonia (give 1-2 pellets/tablets 3x/day, allow no food for ten minutes before and after the dose. Most health food stores sell homeopathic remedies in the 6X or 6C potency, which is fine to use. If you have a choice of potencies, ask for 30C, which is a bit stronger. Homeopathy works when the correct remedy is matched to the correct symptoms, regardless of the potency of the remedy.)

Drosera (same instructions)

For soothing throat irritation:

Honey (about a teaspoon for a small-med dog, a tablespoon for a larger dog, 3x/day)

Eliminate exposure to second hand smoke.

Maintain humidity in the environment.

If you have more than one dog in your household, and one of them develops Kennel Cough, you can try to keep that one isolated, to minimize exposure to your other dog(s). However, by the time your dog is symptomatic, the virus has probably already been "shared" with your other pets or any other dogs with which yours has had contact recently. You may wish to treat all of your dogs, as a preventive measure for those that are asymptomatic, to ensure their immune systems are strong enough to ward off infection from the virus
. Also, it would be good pet ownership to refrain from taking your ill dog to obedience class, dog shows, or any other dog-related event until s/he has recovered

Source Credit for this article belongs to K9 Social Club Inc.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Keep those Paws Safe: Hot Pavement

Summer is Here, Are you prepared?

Summer is finally in full force. This means lots of fun at the beach, camping trips, swimming and evening nights at the park with your pooch! As happy as all of us Vancouverites are to have the summer sun out, it's important to be aware that the heat brings dangers to our furry friends. As the sun heats up roads, sidewalks and sand, the pads of your dog's feet need to be protected from burns and blisters.
I'm positive almost everyone has experienced the sensation of standing on a very hot road and know just how unpleasant that can be. Not many people realize how dangerous this can be for our dogs.
Be sure to recognize the signs that of your dogs pads being affected by the hot pavement. Signs such as limping, refusing to walk, darker than usual pads, blisters, redness, missing parts of the pad or licking and chewing the foot.
Water is always a refreshing way to cool of your dog but be aware that pads that have been softened by the water are more likely to be injured.
If your dog experiences any of these symptoms, the best treatment is to immediately flush the injured paw with cool water, get the dog to a grassy area, and carry him/her if possible. The paws should be kept as clean as possible and bandaged until they fully heal.
Always consult your vet if your dog has injured their paws.

Have a fun and safe summer with your four legged friends!

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

One Year Old

Dapper Dog Port Coquitlam Turns 1

It's been a busy few weeks, which is why the weekly blogs have not been up to date. All last week we celebrated the 1 year anniversary of our Port Coquitlam location.

All the staff would like to thank all of our lovely daycare and grooming clients for joining us on our journey. Although Dapper Dog has been around for over 5 years, the daycare is our newest venture. We learn so much every day from our clients and have gained so much more knowledge along the way.

From all of us here at Dapper Dog, we thank you and look forward to many more years with you and your furry friends/family!

Friday, 24 February 2012

Oral Care for Your Dog

Dogs need

Monitoring Your Dog’s Dental Health

A lot of dog owners don't know that dogs teeth need to be checked and kept healthy. Most people just assume that dogs bad breath is normal. Catching teeth problems early will help avoid severe dental disease. The best and easiest way to keep track of your dog’s teeth is to look at them on a regular basis and check for signs that may indicate a problem. Some signs that your dogs teeth may need professional cleaning or a vet trip are:

  • ~ Bad breath
  • ~ Reluctance to chew / crying out when chewing
  • ~ Salivating from the mouth more often than usual
  • ~ Bleeding gums
  • ~ Tartar Build Up
  • ~ Red and/or puffy gums
If Plaque builds up on the teeth and turns into tartar there is a serious risk of Dental Disease. When the bacteria is allowed to grow it eats away at the teeth and gums. If this happens your dog might get such things as: Halitosis, periodontal disease, oral pain and tooth loss. The bacteria not only causes disease in the mouth – they can also affect the heart and kidneys. Preventing Dental Disease in Dogs is very important and can be achieved many ways. Here are a few steps:

~ Use special enzymatic toothpaste made especially for dogs. Do not use human toothpaste as it can make your dog very ill.

~ Daily brushing is recommended. Use a “finger brush” or special long toothbrush designed for use on dogs. When introducing your dog to tooth brushings, the finger brush is a great way to start as it feels less awkward for them as brushes can.

 ~ Having your dog chew on raw bones or tough raw meats such as pigs legs. It's great for the                  "flossing" effect. Try to avoid giving marrow bones or any cooked bones as they can chip your dogs teeth or splinter and cause a painful reaction on their stomachs.

If your dog's teeth have gotten away from you and have now got a solid build of of tartar, you may need to consider having your dogs mouth seen by a professional. Your vet is usually a good first stop. They can clean your dogs teeth under anethetic, but if you are not comfortable having your dog put under, you can also look into having a non anethetic procedure done at your own home.

There are many options to help keep your dogs teeth and gums happy and healthy. Help your dog live the happy healthy life they were born to experience!!

Friday, 27 January 2012

The Importance of Trimming Your Dogs Nails

One of the most common things we come across here at Dapper Dog is over grown toenails. Alot of owners just don't know how often they need to be done or even done at all. We want to help educate people, helping them understand that maintaining your dog's toenails is more than just for vanity's sake.

Major toenail issues that can occur are:

If dogs toe nails are allowed to continue growing, they can actually grow into a complete circle and pierce the dog's footpad causing pain and potential infection. If your dog has dewclaws, it is especially important to trim those as those nails have no way of naturally filing down as they don't reach the pavement. Some outside dogs that walk on concrete have the opportunity to wear down their nails naturally.

We offer nail trimming packages as well as drop in nail trimmings for your dog. We are always eager to answer anyones questions when it comes to these important matters.

Help your dog get a grip and have their nails trimmed regularly :)