Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Inspection Connection

Over the years, Billy has found a wide array of items, some outrageous and some humorous, on his furry clients. Here's a short list: mats, ticks, fleas so numerous that the dog could have made a living as a travelling flea circus, ring worm, rashes, very large and very small tumors, hemorrhoids, serious allergies, dandruff, oozing eye and ear infections, puncture wounds, bites, animal feces, paint, gum, multiple burrs, sticks, and even a gaping, oozing scabby hole the size of a dime.

If that list wasn't shocking enough, not once, but twice, Billy has discovered a condom protruding from a dog’s rectum, which proves that dogs will eat anything. Imagine Billy's chagrin when he told one owner who insisted that it was a worm until Billy pointed out that the “worm” had a rim and a ribbed tip. Clearly, these dogs had been eating the trash and the owner’s spent no time inspecting their dogs.

Alas, many perfectly good dog owners never think to touch their dogs all over. A pat on the head does not count as proper affection or proper dog care. Fido can’t tell you if he’s under the weather, or even if he's uncomfortably dirty -- you have to discover the problem yourself. An inspection allows you to gather, track, monitor and assess the state of your dog’s health and cleanliness in a systematic and thorough manner. Now that you know better, you have no excuse, especially since inspections are so easy and quick to perform.

So, give your pooch the once over with your hands, eyes and nose at least once a week. Fido's eyes, however, require daily inspections. Eyes are delicate and you must clean off any eye crust that forms while Fido sleeps.

Start at the nose and work back to the tip of the tail. Part your dog's fur and look at his skin, check his paws and pads, lift his tail and look inside his ears. Be sure you check every inch of his body and every nook and cranny. The entire process takes about five to ten minutes and your dog will appreciate the attention. You can even inspect while you're cuddling -- Fido will never suspect that you're inspecting his skin while you rub his belly.

If at anytime you see, feel, smell or sense trouble brewing, call your veterinarian immediately. Your inspection may save your dog's life (and your bank account).

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