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A question for the vet groomers!

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  • A question for the vet groomers!

    Two weeks ago I sent an aggressive dog home that I could not get near. I was bit several times. Didn't break the skin. I posted about it here.

    Last week I had a lab/rottie that growled and wouldn't let us near him who thrashed around and hit me in the face with his head, causing a major nosebleed and a sore swollen nose for several days. Dad came back, put him in the tub and stayed and he was fine.

    So, these couple of dogs got me thinking...when we get a dog like the first one, who I couldn't even get near enough to put a muzzle on, and we refer to a vet groomer for sedation, what does the vet do if they can't get near the dog? What if the dog is so bad that, unlike the second dog above, having the owner present does not help at all?

    If the vet can't get near the dog to sedate without getting bit, what happens? And if they CAN...does the dog need to be sedated for EVERYTHING it visits the vet for? Just regular exams? Heartworm tests?? Does a vet office ever turn away a dog, and then what is the owners option? I know grooming isn't required for every dog, but regular vet exams certainly are.

    So, I'm curious. Someone enlighten me, please!

  • #2
    Well, this is what would happen at the vet I worked for.

    A small dog, if they couldn't get near it, would have to come in a kennel. They did this with cats too. They would bag the kennel and then use gas to sedate. Of course as soon as oxygen hit they'd start to wake up, so they would knock them out then quickly give them a shot of dormitor and torb or do full anesthetic, depending on what they were there for. Sometimes they would also use a squeeze cage. If the dog was too big for that they would run the leash through the crack between the door and the frame and then use the door as a squueze cage. We had a rottie that they did that with, gave him enough to knock out three dogs his size and he STILL was wide awake and cornered a tech. Very glad that was never my job. All I had to do was hand them over.
    What a caterpillar considers the end of his world, we call a butterfly.


    • #3
      I groom for a vet.. so Ill answer your questions As far as dogs that come in for vet appts that are "difficult"... some of them are better with/without the owners. I know there are some dogs that they have the owner put a muzzle on the dog. Some of them are just naughty for certain things and they figure out how to get what they need done. Some dogs have to be sedated for certain things. I know at my work they do have one Rottweiler who is not allowed back. When he came in he lunged/growled/snapped at EVERYBODY and when they asked the owner if he could put a muzzle on the dog, the dog lunged at the owner. They tried a few different things but nothing worked
      Now as far as grooming clients.. I have a few who have certain issues and usually once I get to know the dog I can get everything needed done. One Bichon I do had been getting sedated every 5-6 months to have his ears cleaned and hair plucked but I figured out by muzzling him, then using an extra large muzzle over that (so it goes over his eyes and he can't see) I can clean & pluck his ears and he barely moves a muscle. I use that method and can get his ears done everytime. I have some dogs that the owners know that I will get done what I can. They are ALL Shihtzus. I think there are pry 5 that getting their face done just depends on how the dog want to co-operate. Sometimes I can get the face done fine, other times I just have to get what I can. All of the owners know their dogs are like that and have been told if they want the face done well everytime then they will have to get them sedated. So far all of them are fine with getting done what can get done. I did have one that used to come that I couldnt get his face done hardly at all, he was a nasty biter and I had to muzzle him. I could never get the area around his mouth (where the muzzle covered) at all. His mom tried staying and it didnt help. I told her that for me to get his face he would have to be sedated. WAY TOO stressful on him (and me) I haven't seen her since that time, which was in the fall.. not sure if she found somebody else to do him or what. I know some dogs will behave perfectly find for certain people and be nasty with others. We have a spoiled rotten Pomeranian that comes and is fine with the vets but once he is in the tub he turns into Cujo. He won't let the owners muzzle him and nobody can touch him once hes in the tub. Told the owner he would have to be sedated if they wanted him groomed and they said they would just do him at home. Last time he came for shots he had tons of mats..


      • #4
        GREAT question...
        I can deal with a lot of "stuff", but I'd like to know what goes on if I have to suggest "grooming at the vet's", or under sedation.
        Looking forward to answers.


        • #5
          The ones we cant get a muzzle on get held via a thick blanket thrown over the biting end, the ones we cant handle at all get put between the door and the door frame and the door is closed just in front of their back legs (gently of course) this keeps them still for just enough time for the vet to stick a needle in their butt. These extreme dogs are very few and far between, I have only had a handful in my 16 years of grooming.


          • #6
            The honest truth is, out of all the dogs I have had referred to me because they needed to be sedated to be groomed, I have never had to sedate any of them except one years and years ago who was a very aggressive, dangerous Chow known to animal control and euthanized shortly after i had groomed him once for biting multiple people. With the chow they did the leash woven through a cage door, held by one person while another person gave a shot in the back end. With cats that they cant get near they do the drop the cat in the anesthesia box that Lady described.

            The majority of dogs sent to the vet groomer for sedation really can be groomed without it. My method is to start back at the basics, figure out what the dogs problem is and work through it. They may not get completely groomed the first time or even the second, but eventually the come around. It is not for everyone but I enjoy it and once I get a dog to come around and allow grooming, I get a really good feeling that I helped an animal who needed it. I have one day a week set aside that I keep small and quiet for dogs like this along with older/unwell dogs or puppies where i can take my time and work slowly in a no stress environment.


            • #7
              If necessary we have the owner muzzle the dog before it's taken back to the treatment area. After that, we have about a dozen people who are all trained in how to safely restrain an animal, and we restrain it while the vet administers a shot of whatever induction medication she decides would be proper, usually pentathol. Then we use gas, either with an endotracheal tube or mask.

              If no one, not even the owner, can safely get a muzzle on, you can use an oral tranq first. There are a few that the docs would send the dose home the day before with instructions on when to give it the next day so the dog would be under it's effect when it arrives.


              • #8
                When I worked for a vet if it was a large dog and we couldn't muzzle it, the Dr. would put a loop leash on the dog, run the leash through where the door attaches with hinges (hard to explain) then gently pull the dog between the door and the wall, someone would hold the dog leash, press the door against the dog just enough to hold him, then the Dr. would inject the dog in the butt - the part sticking out from between the door & the wall - make sense?

                One dog I groom that is medium size, I couldn't go near it with a muzzle. The clients are really understanding as no one groomed this dog for 6 years! I let them borrow a muzzle, told them to make her let them put it on her at meal time - show food, allowing muzzle = get food in a few minutes. 2 weeks later they had her trained to take the muzzle. They bought their own (gave mine back) and now put it on her at time for grooming - they are so happy because things go better at the vet too! And they can safely take her for walks with their other dog, with a basket muzzle on.


                • #9
                  Wow thanks! This is so informative! I have a friend that is a vet groomer, but she's never really had too many problem dogs, and I work alone here most of the time, so I don't have the luxury of another trained pair of hands. I was so curious as to what happens, not just at grooming but regular visits.


                  • #10
                    [QUOTE=arlaede;404347]When I worked for a vet if it was a large dog and we couldn't muzzle it, the Dr. would put a loop leash on the dog, run the leash through where the door attaches with hinges (hard to explain) then gently pull the dog between the door and the wall, someone would hold the dog leash, press the door against the dog just enough to hold him, then the Dr. would inject the dog in the butt - the part sticking out from between the door & the wall - make sense?QUOTE]

                    We've done something similar, only in a kennel run. The leash passes through the kennel wire and is held by someone on the other side, then the door is used to hold the dog's body in place, and the vet injects from the other side of the door.

                    In the past, I worked at a vet clinic that had been a large animal clinic, and there was still a crush in the basement. A few dogs went into that to be injected, too.


                    • #11
                      I've seen the really bad animals sedated in a couple different manners. We had a squeeze panel that slid into the Shoreline cages we used for cats which simply sandwiched the cat against the back of the cage to the point you could inject sedation into the butt muscle. For dogs, we adapted the same idea using a door and a wall. Run the leash through the hinge crack of a door, pull the dog's head into the corner, open the door back against the wall sandwiching the dog between the door and wall and then shoot him in the butt muscle with sedation drugs.


                      • #12
                        The vet's office I worked at nobody ever admitted the dog was a biter before it got to me. I was "expected to at least try". If the dog was too much to wrestle it would get a shot of some old timey "anesthesia that cost less than the gas". I was instructed that just because the dog or cat was shuddering & pooping did not mean it was seizing. The animal was under for around 20 minutes & would usually come awake in the tub at the end of the bath--groggy, confused & terrified. Then the actual groom began. Did I mention this guy was an instructor at a well respected teaching college?
                        "We are all ignorant--we merely have different areas of specialization."~Anonymous
                        People, PLEASE..It's ONLY a website!~Me


                        • #13
                          Pretty much exactly what Helly said is how it is for me. Often we have the owners put a muzzle on before they even get to the hospital. Especially if the dog is also animal aggressive so that there won't be potential for it to attack someone in the waiting room. There have been a few times where a dog will be given a dose of Ace and then given to me and it's like it was given nothing at all. So then it gets knocked completely out and I usually end up grooming it on a water table. Sometimes I find it really hard to be a vet groomer. I don't have any facilities that are different then any other groom shop and I'm by myself. More often then not, difficult dogs are scheduled on a day when the techs have no time to help me so I'm stuck waiting a few hours until they DO have a free moment. The only thing I have over another groom shop is that I accept sedated dogs and I have a vet down the hall in case anything happens. =/