Long-haired Pets and Emergency Diaper Rash

Hardly a day goes by that I don't ruminate on the difficulty of the long-haired pet.  If nothing else, I want them to roll up their sleeves when I draw blood. Those long, silky coats are mutations.  They can be beautiful when well cared for, but the pet cannot care for that upholstery by himself. Dogs and cats have limited grooming apparatus: paws and tongues.   The long-haired guys didn't mutate some sort of super tongue and toe-nails to go with it.

When a normal (i.e. short-coated) pet passes a poop, they assume a squatting position and the poop falls free and clear.  The bomb-bay doors close and that hiney looks practically as clean as Bambi's snowy-white behind in the Walt Disney movie (especially after Fido licks it a few times, just prior to kissing mommy).  If you have long hair around the anus, it's more difficult to stay clean.  Sort of like dumping the chute with your pants on.  Hard to stay clean.

As long as the stool is nice and firm, it usually falls free anyway.  One day, though, the stool will be a little bit soft and sticky.  It will catch in that long hair around the anus and stick there.  Then some more stool will stick to that.  Then you get the snowball effect, though it doesn't exactly look like a snowball (not even a "Hostess Sno-ball", that grotesque pink marshmallow-and-coconut-covered-glob of cake).  Pretty soon (as in a day or two… or three), the outer layer has hardened into a little brick made of poop and hair.  More stool pools underneath it.  Finally, no more can come out, as the pet is effectively corked shut. 

At this point, the owner notes a foul odor (just now?!) and the pet is crying and straining because he can't go potty.  "Something must be terribly wrong! We'd better call Fluffy's doctor! "  Oddly enough, this is usually after hours, often quite late in the evening.  The complaint may be anything from constipation to cancer.  I kid you not.

Of course, it's just a matter of soaking the mess in warm water until it loosens up, and then cutting away the long hair.  If it's been going on very long, you'll have one heck of a case of diaper rash under that mess.  Fortunately, a day's exposure to the open air and a little first aid cream usually takes care of that in a hurry.  Regular rear-end hair-cuts will keep the problem from recurring.

Set the way-back, Sherman.  It's nine o'clock PM when the call comes.  "We hate to get you out so late, Doc, but we think Fluffy is really suffering.  We don't want her to suffer, so we'd like for you to come out and put her to sleep."  Okay, I'll meet you there.  "See, Doc, she has this terrible odor, and there's this hard lump on her bottom.  I figure she's got cancer and it's starting to rot her insides out.  We love her, but we don't want her to suffer."   Good news!  She doesn't have cancer.  She just has a dirty bottom.  A simple (well, not that simple) emergency butt-wipe and she's as good as new (or will be when the diaper rash heals up).  "Huh…Well, I'll be…uh, do we owe you anything for that?"

Yes.  Yes, you do.

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