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Dr. Keaton Smith is a graduate of the University Of Kentucky College Of Agriculture with a doctorate ...

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Dr. Smith's Journal

I chat about veterinary medicine and the life of a country animal doctor.
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Holy MAT-rimony.

Holy MAT-rimony.

I know that the holiday season is upon us, and with the cold snap coming on strong it's easy to forget about grooming issues. However, you can never let your guard down, especially on those "haired" breed dogs like Poodles and Cocker Spaniels. These guys, even in winter, need special grooming care. There is nothing wrong with having long hair, but the more length, the more care it needs. Damp, dirty, long, matted hair spells trouble for our canine companions. It's important that you maintain the hair or trim it to the appropriate length to avoid problems. 

Take, for instance, this case. Everything on the dog had been groomed from time to time, but the legs were left long. Unfortunately, the dog was not bathed and brushed regularly, and before long the legs became a muddy matted mess.

By the time the dog was brought to us, the stench was almost unbearable. It left an aroma in every room we walked it and we fought to mask and eliminate the odor the entire day. Bacteria were growing very well in this tortuous wreck. 

The dog was lame because the mats had strangulated the skin and caused pressure sores. Infection lay underneath and was not only making the dog miserable but also sick. One leg had been matted for so long that we even found maggots eating at the infected and dead skin.  Another paw was swollen with pus that had oozed down and through the matting and caused the paw pads to turn gray from constant dampness.

This is what we found underneath the car wreck. Notice the horrible full-thickness ulcerations. Similar cases can be so bad that limbs actually lose all blood supply and fall off in a gangrenous mess. 

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Yes, all of this came from not properly grooming the hair on the legs. So please, give your pet the Christmas gift it could really use...a day at the spa.

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