Most dog owners will recognise that part of the "package"
of dog ownership is the experience of the occasional unpleasant
odour! Fortunately, this is usually a transient phenomenon
and with the appropriate change in diet or the use of a
fragrant shampoo the situation can be resolved. Unfortunately,
for some patients that "nasty niff" requires a
great deal more effort.
"Amber" is not the first patient to be presented
to me at the Fairfield Veterinary Centre with the complaint
from her owner that there is a very unpleasant smell but
they are not entirely sure from where it is coming. Experience
has taught me that certain breeds are prone to this tendency
because of their excessive "skin wrinkles". Cocker
Spaniels will often have an additional skin fold present
in their bottom jaw. This crevice accumulates saliva and
accordingly remains both moist and warm with little opportunity
to dry out.
This environment favours excessive bacterial growth resulting
in a particularly malodorous area (lip fold pyoderma). Most
owners will recoil in horror when their olfactory senses
establish this zone.................. Amber's owner, was
no exception and was able to provide a graphic description
as to the exact nature of this aroma!
Topical preparations of antiseptics can help but the constant
maintenance required can prove troublesome for both client
and patient! Unable to sustain a longterm improvement in
the environment of the skin through medical means, the obvious
surgical alternative is to remove the skin fold........a
type of face lift surgery.
Fortunately, for Amber her recovery has been excellent
and her wounds have healed remarkably well. Her scars are
well hidden and even an experienced eye would wonder how
she managed to look so young and healthy overnight! I have
had to point out on more than one occasion to her owner
that I am not licensed to operate on humans!