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VOL 7 • ED 1

JAN / FEB 2017

WWW.PETBOARDINGANDDAYCARE.COM

and daycare magazine

CREATING

CONFIDENCE IN HANDLING

Profile of Success

CREATURE COMFORTS PET RESORT

TOP 3

REASONS

KENNELS DON’T SELL

Cover Illustration by Sam Thong • www.SamThong.com

PET BOARDING & DAYCARE

1


2

PET BOARDING & DAYCARE


UPGRADING YOUR LOOK FOR 2017? we can help

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JAN UA RY / F E B R UA RY 2 0 1 7

CONTENTS

FACILITY

TOP THREE REASONS

KENNELS

26

DON’T

SELL

& WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT By Laura Laaman

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT 26

28

PROFILE OF SUCCESS:

8

42

Creating Confidence in Handling

14

Dog Care Professionals Today: Where Are

20

Lowering Your Tax Bill: Pay Yourself Instead

We Going & How Will We Get There? of the IRS

50

Ultraviolet Light

Is It Ringworm?

Industry News 54 54

Facility

4

Air Disinfection with Filtration &

Animal Health

Business

36

46

CREATURE COMFORTS PET RESORT

Behavior

PET BOARDING & DAYCARE

How a Facility’s Layout Impacts Efficiency & Productivity

PET BOARDING & DAYCARE

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ANIMAL BEHAVIOR

CREATING

IN HANDLING By Kama Brown

W

orking with dogs can be intimidating at times. Employees working in the canine boarding and daycare sector should feel confident in their own judgment and handling skills. Kennel owners can create this confidence and good judgment by setting up demonstrations, sharing knowledge, and allowing the employees to share their experiences with each other. Handling an aggressive dog is a finicky process. There is a lot of balance between space that needs to be decided in a few moments based on the dog’s behavior and breed. Employees should understand that different breeds bite differently. There are always exceptions, but in general, retrievers and guarding breeds will bite and hold, terriers will bite and shake and all the other breeds

6

will bite, release and bite again. Within each breed, each individual dog is going to have a history and threshold that determines the intensity and function of the bite. Being able to assess an individual dog’s threshold before the dog bites is a key to creating confidence in handling uneasy dogs. Assessing threshold is always looking for subtle changes in the dog’s behavior. Subtle fear signals include tensed muscles, weight shifted backwards, tucked tails, body lowered to the ground, crouching, closed mouth, tongue flicking, yawning, dilated pupils, wide eyes, ears back, head held very still, and puffing out upper lips. Being aware of small things can make a big difference. Hands and faces are the most commonly bitten areas on the human body so having an employee who is

PET BOARDING & DAYCARE

overtly aware of where their hands and faces are in relation to a dog’s mouth is critical. For example, employees should use their feet to kick toys, bowls and bedding to the front of the kennel or away from the daycare group before picking them up. Employees should never reach down into a group of dogs to retrieve a toy or a dropped object. Pickup sticks or chuck-it toys are great at providing a way for employees to keep their heads up. If a dog does not immediately greet a human in a friendly way, it has become common advice to extend a hand out while walking towards the dog, to allow the dog to smell you. It’s important to remind employees that dogs have twenty times more scent receptor cells than humans and a scent processing center in the brain to match. Dogs can already smell anyone in the room. A dog who


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DOGS HAVE

20

TIMES MORE

SCENT RECEPTORS

THAN HUMANS

does not approach a human is deliberately doing so and this needs to be taken into consideration. If a dog is hesitant about coming to you, the most threatening thing you could do is to walk towards them, bend over them and touch them. When meeting new dogs, employees should always squat down and invite the dog into their space. When the new dog does approach, they should slowly rise out of the squatting position and begin to touch the dog in preparation for handling. If slowly standing up causes the dog to jump back or crouch, that is a sign of fear. Fear and aggression have a circular relationship and usually the first sign of aggression is going to be a fear signal. If the dog begins to step backwards, crouch down, pant excessively, roll over or pee, the employee should take a few steps back and squat down again, repeating the invite for the dog to come forward. If the dog never chooses to approach, this should be noted in the dog’s file as a dog

that employees should consider hesitant. Using treats, a soft voice and slow movements will usually help the dog regain enough composure to feel safe, thus helping to avoid aggression in the future. Once the dog begins to approach willingly and offer flexible body movement, it’s a great sign that the dog is now feeling comfortable and an employee can go forward with more extensive handling, such as harnessing and bathing. However, if the dog remains hesitant to approach, handling should be managed in a different way. There are three ways to manage handling with a hesitant dog. 1) The first way is to give the dog the complete freedom to choose. This looks a lot like waiting at a kennel door for a dog to approach before connecting a leash, waiting for a dog to choose before coming in from the daycare yard, allowing a dog to walk away during a brushing session if they become uneasy, etc. Allowing a dog to choose is always going to result in zero

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aggression. It should be expected that some of these things may never happen. A hesitant dog may never choose to have a leash put on and the owner should be told that certain services will not be performed because the dog is uncomfortable with them. In the world we live in now, that means most kennels would not be performing very many nail trims. 2) The second approach is to force the dog into these situations while managing their ability to bite. This looks a lot like putting a muzzle on, getting a second person to restrain the dog, throwing a leash over the dog’s neck to pull them outside or inside. This approach often results in aggression and should be eliminated in boarding and daycare settings. Owners are becoming increasingly aware of the negative long term effects this type of handling can have on their dog’s behavior and are unwilling to risk it. Dog trainers are increasingly discouraging owners from taking dogs to facilities that implement forceful handling. The trend towards force-free daycares and boarding kennels is significant. Loyalty is increased when employees take the time to notice the dog’s emotions and thoughtfully explain their observations to owners. Referring owners to a certified dog trainer or veterinarian is a safe way to ensure the dog owner can have all their dog’s needs met while maintaining the daycare and kennel as a safe and positive experience for the dog and the employees. 3) The third approach is a mix between the two, often times referred to as Low Stress Handling or Gentle Restraint. This method works to create a positive PET BOARDING & DAYCARE

experience for the dog by using food, breaks and a quiet atmosphere. Dr. Sophia Yin developed a protocol and learning course that allows businesses to become certified in these methods and use them as a marketing tool as well. Employees should have practice recognizing the subtle differences between appeasement, arousal, aggression and fear. Appeasement is often a sign of mixed emotion. Dogs are masters of appeasement and many times overly appeasing dogs can be the snappers and biters that nobody expected. Appeasement behaviors are behaviors often called submissive; rolling over when being greeted, constant licking when being petted, repeatedly extending their paw during grooming or trying to lick a person’s face nonstop. These behaviors are the subtle, polite way that dogs express they want something to end. It’s easy to decide if the behavior is appeasement by stopping the interaction and taking note of what the dog does next. If the dog is restricted to a leash or kennel and is constantly licking, pawing or rolling over, it’s best to give the dog some space and see if the dog chooses to continue the interaction. Often just taking a step back will give the dog a chance to walk away (which should be noted) or the dog will stand up, compose themselves and restart the interaction in a more confident manner. A dog that is offering appeasement behaviors repeatedly without being given a break is at risk of being pushed into mental exhaustion and over stimulation. Employees gain


PET BOARDING & DAYCARE

11


CONFIDENT H A PP Y D O G S

will always greet other dogs

and people standing on four feet with fluid and flexible body movement. confidence in their own interactions and handling by offering the dog a break and taking note of the dog’s behavior. Quite often people feel that their dog is being friendly when they roll onto their backs and that rolling over is an invitation to rub their belly. However, unless the dog is relaxed and happy, this is not true. Showing their belly to an unknown individual, be it a person or a dog, is an appeasement gesture. Confident, happy dogs will always greet other dogs and people standing on four feet with fluid and flexible body movement. Arousal is another set of behaviors that can have contextual meanings. Common behaviors that come from

12

arousal but are not necessarily aggression are nipping, hackles rising, mounting, humping, neck biting, barking and backing away and playing the “chase me” game. Employees should begin to find ways to reduce the dog’s activity when these behaviors happen. Remaining calm is critical as any surge of energy from the human end will often result in a mirrored response from the dog. Walking the opposite direction will often bring a dog to follow. Looking at something in a corner or along a fence will usually peak interest. Luring the dog with a treat while a leash is attached is a great diversion. Directly grabbing the dog is never a good idea but herding the dog into a smaller space is a

PET BOARDING & DAYCARE

great way to control the situation without applying too much pressure on the dog. If removing the most aroused dog in the group isn’t working, bringing the rest of the group into the separate space momentarily can sometimes prove easier. It’s important not to overreact, yell, chase or punish an overly aroused dog. Over arousal on its own is not aggression but it can easily lead to it, so it’s important to quell the behaviors that go along with over arousal as indirectly and quietly as possible. A fearful dog has three options; fight, flight or freeze. If a dog cannot create distance because they are confined in a small area, on a leash or in a kennel, the behaviors shown will be a dog that becomes very still or a dog that aggresses. Sometimes freeze is the predecessor to a growl, lunge or bite, and sometimes freeze is skipped entirely. Space is a great way to reduce the freeze behavior, so whenever possible add some distance and see if the dog relaxes by offering backwards movement, lying down, looking away, lip licking, stretching or “shaking off ”. If the dog does not respond in this way, remove yourself and/or the other dogs from the environment and wait in a safe place until the dog does show these signals. Once the dog begins to offer these “calming signals”, it’s a safe time to begin interacting again. Experience and seeing these behaviors first hand is a great way to create employee confidence. If these situations arise, encouraging the employees to share the experiences among each other is a great learning tool. Setting up demonstrations with local vets, rescues or trainers can offer valuable learning opportunities without jeopardizing client dogs or employee safety. Keeping owners informed and giving employees numerous opportunities to learn these skills will create happy dogs, loyal customers and experienced employees. n


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BUSINESS

DOG CARE

TODAY

WHERE ARE WE GOING & HOW WILL WE GET THERE? By Doug Duncan

14

PET BOARDING & DAYCARE


I remember as a boy of twelve years old letting my neighbor’s dog out to use the bathroom. Every week or so my neighbor would get home late from work, and on those days she’d ask me to go over to take Tilly, her English Springer Spaniel, out for a short potty walk. I was paid in cookies, which I felt was a bargain because I loved cookies and I loved Tilly, too. It was a win–win! But though I loved Tilly, looking back now I realize that I did not understand her. Tilly was old and could be uncomfortable at times. I could get her out the back door and walk her up and down the street, but I did not know how to help her to feel better. I did not understand the physical limitations she was experiencing or how they might impact her life. I did not understand the possibility that age–related cognitive impairment might be effecting her behavior, making her less comfortable with handling around certain parts of her body. And I certainly did not know how to have a conversation about these topics with Tilly’s owner.

Still, dog care—dog walking, pet sitting, dog training, boarding, and dog daycare—remains an unregulated industry. In the vast majority of cities and towns, there are no special requirements needed to own and operate a dog business, except for those regulations that any business owner must observe—a business license and paying taxes being the most obvious. There are professional organizations that work to set guidelines that dog professionals can ascribe to, and many of these organizations do a fantastic job. They’ve created codes of ethics and professionalism, and exams that test a dog professional’s knowledge and abilities. Some even require continuing education to keep dog professionals at the top of their game. But these steps remain voluntary. We still work in an industry grappling with how best to organize its practitioners. As

we nurture this fledgling profession of ours, we should recognize the progress we have made while acknowledging we have a lot of work yet to be done. We are on the right track, but there is a long journey ahead as we try to define and address just what dog professionals must be able to do and what they must know. What We Need to Understand About Dogs What does it mean to be a dog professional anyway? At this stage in our development, there’s no consensus regarding what a dog professional is. What kinds of things do we expect dog professionals to know? Doing the work well clearly demands much more than just a love of dogs. Growing up with dogs might set you on a path toward working with dogs as a professional, but it certainly

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Personal experience just isn’t enough. Professionals have a responsibility to learn about dogs from trusted and reliable sources.

doesn’t prepare you to understand and care for dogs as a professional. Personal experience just isn’t enough. Professionals have a responsibility to learn about dogs from trusted and reliable sources. This means attending seminars and conferences to better understand how dogs learn and how they communicate using body language. We should listen to experts in the field to better understand how arousal, fear, and aggression impact a dog’s physiology and how behaviors function to change a dog’s environment. Our understanding of dogs is increasing and changing very quickly. We need to keep up with this increasing knowledge by reading articles by the experts who do the research. All of this, in addition to mastering the mechanics of training—how to elicit behaviors and how to reinforce them well and at the right moment—is what modern dog professionals do. What We Need To Understand About Business To be successful, dog professionals also need to know how to run a business. Many people begin working with dogs before even thinking about how to run a

16

PET BOARDING & DAYCARE

business. We get into working with dogs because, well, we love them. Far fewer of us go into working with dogs in order to be business owners. Working with animals just doesn’t conjure up images of a desk job. But, to be successful at what you do, you have to be able to work on your business as well as in it. This means tackling the business planning, the bookkeeping, the scheduling, the policy writing, and the marketing. There are a lot of things that support being successful at working with dogs, and confronting them early is important. The more prepared you are, the easier it will be to focus on the dogs once you’re up and running. Marketing Your Business To work with dogs you first have to attract your customers to your services. In a competitive market, word of mouth simply is not enough. Your website is the face of your business, and you’ll want it to smile. How your business looks, to your competition and to your potential clients, matters. How can you craft your website so that it attracts the kind of customers you want to work with? You have to be adept at communicating effectively and efficiently just what your business does. The right website can do that for you. The wrong one can actually work against you. How and where you market your business also matters. If your business is focused in a small neighborhood, it probably doesn’t make sense to broadcast television ads to the entire state. Some advertising efforts will have much greater impact than others, and they don’t have to be expensive. What kinds of marketing projects, for example, work best to reach out to those veterinarians you’ve been wanting to connect with? What is the best way to reach new clients and what works to keep the ones you already have? Every cent you spend on your website and your marketing materials can come back to you many times over, and professionals


PET BOARDING & DAYCARE

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Professionals also charge what they are worth. Your knowledge and abilities are worth something, just as the knowledge and abilities that your doctor possesses are worth something.

learn how to maximize their time spent on marketing so that it generates the impact they need to succeed. Charging What You’re Worth Professionals also charge what they are worth. Your knowledge and abilities are worth something, just as the knowledge and abilities that your doctor possesses are worth something. If you need legal help, you are going to pay the

professional rates that attorneys charge because they worked hard to learn how to do what they do. Professionals are people with special knowledge, skills, and abilities—with experience—and people seek them out because that is worth something. Setting your rates too low can communicate the wrong message to your customers. Are you looking for bargain hunters or people who value your knowledge and abilities, and are willing to pay for them? Establishing Sound Policies Professionals also have well thought out policies and procedures so their customers know just what kind of service they are working with. Good policies and procedures spell out what you do and how you do it. How do you handle your dog walking clients during inclement weather, for example? What kind of cancellation policy does your training business have to protect your income and your clients’ training success? Does your dog daycare give discounts for signing up for multiple days or for signing up with multiple dogs? (I actually counsel against such discounts because dog daycare is not, and should not, be a volume industry. Such discounts might attract customers, but they can destroy your bottom line). Taking Care of Yourself People who work with dogs professionally must learn to take good care of themselves as well as the dogs. You’re no good to the dogs or to your

18

PET BOARDING & DAYCARE

customers if you let yourself become burned out with your business. Your time is valuable and how you use it matters. How can you set yourself up to be there for your clients while also being there for yourself? Successful professionals prioritize their time well, carving out time for their clients, their friends and family, and themselves. To succeed, you’ve got to take care of yourself, too. The Future I love dogs. I’m a dog lover. Taking care of my neighbor’s dog may have been the catalyst that sent me on my own path toward becoming a dog professional, but it did not teach me what I needed to know to succeed as a dog professional. We are all dog professionals, and we’ve made some great strides forward. We care about our profession. We want to see it continue to transform into a strong profession with agreed upon standards and practices. You can help us all reach a place where we are all valued for what we know and how we do what we do. You can get there by valuing your education, your business, and most importantly, yourself. n Doug Duncan helps fellow dog professionals succeed across the country as a dog*tec Dog Walking Academy instructor and business consultant. Learn more at www.dogtec.org or reach out to Doug at doug@dogtec.org. Doug enjoys his own successful dog training and daycare business, Doggy Business, in Portland, Oregon.


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TAX BILL LOWERING YOUR

PAY YOURSELF INSTEAD OF THE IRS By Marie Poliseno

If you are like most dog professionals that I work with, you probably transitioned from being a full time employee to being self-employed. One of the many benefits of working for others is the ability to contribute to a 401K. Unfortunately, as we become our own boss, contributions to a Retirement Plan often fall to the wayside.

Y

ou’re likely aware of the benefits of saving for your own retirement, but you may not realize the positive, short–term impact on your taxes each and every year that you make a contribution to a qualified plan. It can add up. Making Retirement Plan Savings Contributions If given the opportunity, would you rather pay yourself or the IRS thousands 20

of dollars? Cash flow is a common problem for dog pros, especially when starting out, and my clients often tell me they’ll think about saving for retirement when things get rolling and start looking up. But you don’t really save money that way. You just end up giving it to the IRS. Budgeting is essential, especially when cash flow is limited. But knowing how to spend those budgeted dollars is even more important. Did you know single individuals PET BOARDING & DAYCARE

making less than $17,750 are allowed to take a credit on their taxes of up to $1,000 if they contribute to a Retirement Savings Plan? So in addition to the contribution being tax deductible (depending upon the plan), the government will pay you up to $1,000 to put something away toward your own retirement. Contributions can be made to traditional IRAs, SIMPLE plans, or SEP IRAs. Each type of plan has specific criteria and maximums for how much


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Social dogs are most at risk • Dog parks • Boarding facilities

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YOU EARN

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can be contributed, but in all cases, they provide an effective means for paying yourself what you would otherwise be paying the government. Here’s an example: Let’s say you earn $17,750 per year, are single, and under the age of 50. Your accountant informs you that you owe a whopping $3,118 in both income and self-employment taxes. If you contribute $2,000 to a qualified Retirement Plan before the April 15th deadline, you will reduce your tax burden by $1,200 (your tax will be reduced by $200 as you are in the 10%

22

1,918

$

AND

YOU OWE $

NOW OWE

$2,000 TO A QUALIFIED RETIREMENT PLAN

WILL REDUCE BY

$1,200

tax bracket and you will receive $1,000 as a Retirement Saver’s tax Credit.) So now you only owe the IRS $1,918, and you put away $2,000 for yourself! The advantages for those making more than $17,750 are even greater. While the Retirement Savings Credit is not available for single individuals making more than $29,500 (it’s phased out based upon the income level of the individual and completely goes away at $29,500), contributions to a SEP IRA can be as much as $52,000. That may seem unrealistic, but remember

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be helpful in selecting a plan and reviewing the investment options, but it’s not necessary. Setting up your own plan is easy. Just contact a brokerage firm or bank who will provide you the application. IRAs and SEP IRAs can be set up almost immediately. SIMPLE plans must be set up by October 1st in order to make contributions the following year, so plan ahead if a SIMPLE plan is your choice. If funds are limited right now, you might consider setting up an IRA to start, which can later be rolled over into a plan with higher contribution limits. The important thing is to get started! Of course, the effect of retirement plan contributions vary with the type of plan, the amount you contribute, and your earnings, but each has their own unique way of allowing you to manage your tax liability. Conclusion Contributing to a qualified retirement plan is one of the easiest ways to reduce your tax burden while building a little nest egg for yourself. Budgeting some of your hard-earned dollars to pay yourself instead of the IRS—while also planning for your future—is one of the most effective tax strategies you can have in your financial toolkit. n Marie Poliseno is the Managing Partner of Dollars & Scents Accounting Services. She is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) as well as a professional dog trainer (CPDT-KA) and honors graduate of the SFSPCA Academy for Dog Trainers (CC). To work with Marie on your financial and tax matters, e-mail marie@dog-procpa.com or visit www.dog-pro-cpa.com to learn more about her services.

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PET BOARDING & DAYCARE


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FACILITY

TOP THREE REASONS

KENNELS

DON’T

SELL

& WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT By Laura Laaman

26

PET BOARDING & DAYCARE


M

ost owners of a pet care business start their business with ideas of being surrounding by happy puppies, kittens, dogs, cats, and their grateful pet parents. Lovely thought. Then, all the unexpected challenges arise. Employee, customer and financial challenges quickly make this business—though still rewarding—very taxing. There is currently quite a buzz in the pet care industry. With a profusion of successful kennel sales closings, some even describe this development as a bubble. So it’s tough not to wonder what your business and all your hard work could be worth. I’ve had the distinct privilege of knowing what my clients have sold their businesses for. Outstanding Pet Care clients have sold their businesses for record values. Most are able to retire with ample money to enjoy a high quality of life. Sounds great, right? But how can you get to the same point? First things first, it’s fiscally wise to invest in a professional valuation by an industry expert. I consulted with power broker Teija Heikkila at National Kennel Sales & Appraisals. Teija is a Certified M&A Advisor and principal broker of National Kennel Sales & Appraisals. Each week Teija and her firm are approached by dozens of pet care facility owners who are ready to sell their businesses. Sadly, the majority of those businesses aren’t in a position to be sold for any real value. According to National Kennel Sales, here are the top three reasons kennels don’t sell and what you can do about changing your financial future today: 1. Low Cash Flow. Cash flow can be kind of a squishy term, but very simply stated, it's the amount of money you have left in your pocket after you pay your employees, suppliers, tax man, and other expenses. All buyers are looking for strong cash flows. If you want to get maximum value for your business, or even be able to sell it at all, you have to

have strong cash flow. Cash is king; a pretty, newer building with lower cash flow is far less appealing to a buyer than an older, less attractive building that is throwing off lots of cash. 2. Low Revenues. If the business is not producing strong, growing, revenues, it's not going to be very appealing to most buyers. This doesn’t mean a small business (lower number of enclosures or small yards) can't be valuable. It’s the amount of revenue you produce with what you have. We have clients with only 33 overnight enclosures that, without dog training, produce over $1,000,000 in annual sales. According to National Kennel Sales, there are buyers for every price point. However, the businesses that sell have growing, strong revenues sufficient to justify the asking price. 3. Lack of Systems. When prospective owners are interested in purchasing your business, they're looking for a turn–key, free–standing, independent business—which doesn't include you. That means you need to have systems in place that allow the business to run and generate income without you. I love this quote from Michael Gerber,

author of a fabulous business book, The E-Myth Revisited: “If your business depends on you, you don’t own a business—you have a job!” So all this makes sense, you say, but how do you end up with enough cash flow for you now and for a buyer in the future?? A fundamental key is having proven systems—particularly ones that generate increasing revenues. These have proven to have a dramatic impact on your business’ short and long-term value. For example; consider how revenue comes into your pet care business. The pets don’t have credit cards, their pet parents do. How do pet parents choose to contact you? Because this is such an emotional business, they want to talk to someone either over the phone or in person, to better understand the care you provide. They want to be assured intellectually and emotionally. Intellectually, they need to hear that you are doing the right things to care for pets. Emotionally, they want to feel they would be making the right decision in trusting your company. Due to the latter, a website alone is NOT going to get this job done. Pet parents want to talk to someone, so they either

Put me on a web cam, and I’ll do wonders for your business. Online Doggy is the #1 provider of webcam systems to the pet care industry.

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Call us Today to Schedule a FREE, Private Consultation.

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SOME OF OUR MANY SERVICES INCLUDE: Constant support guaranteed to grow your business Marketing & pricing guidance Exclusive meetings with the top pet care facility owners in the world Phone training “Hiring Laura and the OPC team was a pivotal defining moment for our business. In our first year with OPC, we increased $330,000 over our previous year.” – Hailey Seidel, Bow Dog Canine Specialists

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PET BOARDING & DAYCARE

call you or come in for a tour. Having an organized process that provides concerned pet parents with a concise, compelling, and competitively superior phone and tour experience has proven to be a game changing improvement for my clients. This proven system can produce double the revenue each petnight compared to the industry’s average. Having these systems in place makes your business much more turnkey than a company without them. Solid systems should be: • Documented • Duplicable (doable by current or future employees) • Measurable (results can be quantified) • Provable (by the bottom line) You’re likely good or great at pet care. You might have an intuitive gift for providing wonderful, loving care. But wise and mature business owners realize it’s virtually impossible to also be good at the other important parts of developing a strong, sellable business. By implementing valuable systems and ensuring they “stick” in your business, you’ll likely also quickly end up with more time to focus on other important tasks—or just enjoy a less demanding schedule. n If you’re interested in additional information on Outstanding Pet Care Services, a oneon-one consultation with Laura Laaman, or an information–packed webinar with even more detail on Steps to Successfully Selling your Pet Care Business (now or in the future), go to www.OutstandingPetCare.com or call Laura Laaman’s team at 1-888-SELL-MORE, 1-888-735-5667. Interested in learning the value of your business or have questions about selling your pet care business?  Contact Teija Heikkila and her team at National Kennel Sales & Appraisals at 877 690 3647 or email her directly at teija@nationalkennelsales.com


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PROFILE OF SUCCESS

Creature

Comforts P E T R E S O RT

It Started with a Dream

30

PET BOARDING & DAYCARE


By Kathy Hosler Photos Provided by Creature Comforts Pet Resort

W

hen you follow your dream, there is no limit to what you can accomplish. Creature Comforts Pet Resort in Longview, Texas is proof positive of that. Tonya Read started Creature Comforts in November of 1996. It began as a pet sitting and dog walking service, and over the years became quite successful. But, from the very beginning, Tonya had a vision of more. She wanted to build a premiere

pet resort that would focus on the comfort and safety of the pets, and peace of mind for their owners. In 2011 Tonya and her husband, Bret, decided to take their business to the next level and build the resort of their dreams. After two years of intense research and countless visits to other facilities, the Reads had a big list of everything that they wanted to implement in their facility. “We designed our facility as if we

PET BOARDING & DAYCARE

were on the other side of the counter,” says an enthusiastic Tonya Read. “Everything is what we would want for our own pets. It took us three years to get the funding, buy the land, and erect the building.” Tonya and Bret’s dream came true on October 13, 2014 when Creature Comforts Pet Resort opened its doors. Their gorgeous 7,600 sq. ft. building sits on one acre of land. “In designing our building we focused on functionality,

31


The cattery boasts a feline activity wall and a gigantic exercise wheel (picture a hamster wheel on steroids). — Tonya Read, Creature Comforts Owner

Inside is a 1,800 sq. ft. playroom, 85 individual kennels, and a state–of– the–art cattery.

32

cleanliness, and guest experience,” says Tonya. “To achieve these goals we installed sanitation shoots, a filtered air system, and the use of medical grade cleaning solutions.” The resort has a spacious 10,000 sq. ft. outdoor daycare yard and four 1,000 sq. ft. individual play yards. The main yard features artificial turf, boneshaped wading pools, and a fun and unique splash pad adventure area. Inside is an 1,800 sq. ft. playroom, 85 individual kennels, and a state– of–the–art cattery. Soft music plays and calming aromatherapy is used in the dog areas of the facility. Feline guests enjoy privacy and luxury accommodations in the Creature Comforts cattery. Each of their large cat condos has separate areas for feeding, sleeping, and the litter box. “Our cattery is the first in East Texas offering 250 sq. ft. of open play space with floor to ceiling windows that are perfect for bird watching,” shares

PET BOARDING & DAYCARE

Tonya. “The cattery boasts a feline activity wall and a gigantic exercise wheel (picture a hamster wheel on steroids). Every cat gets its own private time in the huge play area.” It’s not just the cats that enjoy lots of fun activities at the resort. “We average anywhere from 50 to 80 dogs per day in daycare,” Tonya says. “They usually play from 8:00 to 4:00 with a nap time in the middle. We don’t ban any breed from our daycare, we ban the actual bad behavior. Every dog must be evaluated before they are accepted into our program. The day they are evaluated, the dog is here from 11:00 until 4:00 and that first day is free. The owners get a complete report of how their dog did. Once a dog is approved, they can attend daycare whenever they want.” One of the most popular features of the daycare activities is the splash pad. It is a 400 sq. ft. area filled with random water jets and bubblers, a fire hydrant that shoots out water, and a


One of the most popular features of the daycare activities is

the splash pad. It is a 400 sq. ft. area filled with random water jets and bubblers, a fire hydrant that shoots out water, and a tall umbrella and a shower head that both spray water.

tall umbrella and a shower head that both spray water. Colorful LED lights illuminate the entire splash pad area and make it possible to showcase it during evening activities. “For dogs that don’t do well in daycare, or for older or special needs dogs,” says Tonya “we have a ‘cozy room’. It’s a smaller room that has a bank of dog beds, a television, and toys. It’s a stress-free way for these pets to enjoy themselves in a quieter setting supervised by our caring staff members.” At Creature Comforts their philosophy is ‘Active Pet, Happy Pet’. Even the pets that aren’t in daycare are taken out at least five times a day. There is a full grooming salon at the facility where pets can enjoy everything from basic baths to pampering spa treatments. Large dogs have a walk-in shower and adjustable hydraulic grooming tables make the styling process easier for the pets and the groomers. They also have a large

PET BOARDING & DAYCARE

33


They also have a large

retail section

that sells high quality food, treats, toys, collars and more.

L

tio oca

n - Growi

ng I

nd

ry us t

Pri me

retail section that sells high quality food, treats, toys, collars and more. Within the coming year they plan to add training, with Tonya and Carmen

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(Manager) acquiring their certification in basic obedience and behavior modification. Two team members will also be certified in Pet CPR and First Aid as instructors, keeping team members certified and offering local classes to the community. Bret’s specialty is overseeing the financials, their website, www.creaturecomforts. pet, and taking care of their social media sites; Facebook and Instagram. “Our website is packed with information about our facility and the services that we offer,” shares Bret. “We post pictures of our guests on Facebook every night. All of the pet guests get their picture taken, even if they are not in daycare. We probably take 300 to 400 pictures a day. Our clients and followers love it!” Creature Comforts has twenty-two indoor and outdoor high definition security cameras. “We can monitor everything that goes on,” Bret says. “If there is ever an incident, we can go back and review it.” The Reads credit much of their success to the dedication of their fifteen team members. “It’s hard work, but our staff is great and they work as a real team,” Tonya and Bret say emphatically. “Our PET BOARDING & DAYCARE

highly trained team members are what sets us apart from other facilities. They are all very knowledgeable about the dogs and are trained in Pet CPR and animal behavior. Each of them will go above and beyond to make sure every pet goes home happier than when they got here. One way we show our appreciation to our team is that every quarter we plan a special event or group activity for them.” The Reads appreciate their clients, too and are planning some great things for them. “We are going to hold community social events,” shares Tonya. “We plan to have outdoor movie nights, where owners and their pets can come and enjoy evening get–togethers while watching the ‘big screen’.” “I am going to start teaching classes, too,” she continues. “They will focus on topics like, how people can select the right pet for them and how to care for their pet’s grooming needs. And, we will also have classes in dog obedience and behavior modification.” Creature Comforts may have had humble beginnings, but Tonya and Bret Read used that foundation to create their fabulous luxury pet resort—and they’re not done yet! n


PET BOARDING & DAYCARE

35


Morris By Walter

O

ne of the daily challenges

on facility design. Trial and error is a

many incremental tasks, each with

pet care businesses face is

great teacher, particularly when it’s at

labor costs that individually may seem

their facility layout. The

your own expense. I hired this young

small and insignificant. But when

layout of the building can significantly

man, and his recommendations were

viewed over approximately 12 hours

impact efficiency and productivity.

invaluable to my company.

a day, 365 days a year, with multiple

Approximately forty years ago when I was planning to design and

employees, the figure can be huge. With An Existing Building

build a pet care facility, I searched the

For those looking to build a

industry for expert help but didn’t find

new facility today, the industry has

If you have an existing pet care

any professionals who had knowledge

a number of architects, engineers,

facility, you may feel that your building

or experience in this area. I turned

and consultants who recognize the

“is what it is,” and therefore, there isn’t

to a facility owner who had built his

importance of proper layout for

much you can do to improve efficiencies.

own facility. I was surprised to learn

efficiency and productivity. Consulting

Not true. Take time to step back from

that, over time, he had discovered his

with a successful facility operator who

the day-to-day and analyze the work

layout was so bad and inefficient, he

has firsthand knowledge and years of

flow and procedures in your operation

gutted the building and redesigned it.

experience can also be helpful.

to see where you can make adjustments.

Shortly after, he became a consultant 36

Building a Facility

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Receive Food

Store

Prepare Meals

Deliver Meals

Take time to step back from the day-to-day and analyze the work flow and procedures in your operation to see where you can make adjustments. Consider making flow charts of some of the different functions carried out during the day. the different functions carried out during

you can use to improve your facility’s

perform needed tasks like cleaning.

the day. Timing and charting these

efficiencies and productivity.

We ran a little contest with two teams

movements can be very revealing. Once you have gathered the data, a review of the routes taken and the time

of people. Their job was to clean an

Cleaning

enclosure as they normally do. We

This is a large part of our daily la-

timed them and checked the quality

required to carry out functions can show

bor expense. Make sure your team has

of the work. By watching multiple

where procedures need to be changed.

the proper equipment and materials,

people do the same job, we discovered

and the cleaning stations and storage

that some people were very efficient

is important not only to reduce

areas are conveniently located through-

in certain parts of their process, and

unnecessary labor costs, but it also may

out the building.

others were less efficient. We adopted

Efficient and proper work flow

help reduce disturbance and stress on

One strategy we have used in our

the best practices. Videotaping your

the pets. Here are some of our most

facility is a game where we observe

best practices is a great learning tool

common tasks along with strategies

how different employees and managers

that can save training time.

After going to several conventions and looking at all the manufacturers it was very apparent to my wife and I that if we wanted to have a truly amazing kennel

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efficient operation and better customer

Feeding Centralized or conveniently located food prep stations have proven to reduce travel distance. This means the pets’ food is delivered by using a cart rather than making individual trips. In many facilities, pets are fed twice a day. If there isn’t an organized plan, staff will make needless and wasteful trips back

Strategically located

and forth. Outdoor Access

front of the building

area from the boarding rooms should be

departing dogs make for a more efficient operation and better customer service.

Access to an outdoor elimination as direct and short as possible. This also is critical if the need to evacuate the building occurs. Check In and Out Process Strategically located holding areas at the front of the building for arriving and departing dogs make for a more

Achieve Your Dreams A successful pet business starts with a simple idea. If you can dream it, you can achieve it. From grooming and retail to boarding and daycare, pet service pros rely on imaginative thinking and ambitious doing to make a difference for their clients. Whether your mission is discovering innovative new products, sharpening your skills or placing first in one of North America’s largest grooming competitions—you’ll find endless opportunities to bring your vision to life.

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to walk to the back of the building, disturbing the population, to retrieve a dog going home. If departure times are acquired from the client at drop off, these dogs can be brought forward prior to departure. Arriving dogs can be held for a short time until the staff is available and the timing is right to take them to their regular enclosures.

holding areas at the for arriving and

service. This can reduce the need

PET BOARDING & DAYCARE

Time is money, so anything you can do to make your operation more productive and efficient will benefit your bottom line. n If you have a facility project, whether a new build, expansion, renovation, or you’re looking for help with operations and personnel, Walter Morris can be reached at Walter@Morrispetcareconsulting.com.


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air

n o i t c d i s i n fe WITH FILTRATION & ULTRAVIOLET LIGHT By Annette Uda and Wladyslaw J. Kowalski, P.E., Ph.D

What are the advantages of cleaning the air with filters and ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) in a typical pet boarding facility or animal house? The major benefits are pet health and the suppression of infectious disease outbreaks while the secondary benefits include reduced likelihood of human infections and general facility cleanliness.

C

ertainly, these benefits can reduce the cost of operation and prevent catastrophic losses if infectious disease outbreaks are prevented. For any given facility, the actual payback or savings of installing an air disinfection system will depend on many factors but even a single outbreak of a contagious disease like Canine Cough (aka Kennel cough), Influenza or Parvovirus can wreak havoc on operating costs and the benefits should be weighed in this regard.

42

Air filtration is an effective approach for cleaning the air, provided the right filter and the appropriate airflow are used. The filter need not be a HEPA filter, which can be expensive to operate, since a HEPA filter may provide no significant advantage over normal high efficiency filters such as MERV rated filters. Typical filters used for air cleaning range from MERV 6 to MERV 16 where the higher MERV ratings mean higher removal rates.

PET BOARDING & DAYCARE

Figure 1 shows a typical performance curve for a MERV 10 filter overlain with an array of canine pathogens including viruses, bacteria and fungal spores shown in relative size. Fungal spores, which are large, are removed at relatively high rates, often approaching 100%, while the bacteria and viruses are removed at rates determined by their physical size. The net effect of air filtration is to lower the airborne concentrations of pathogens, which limits the inhalation


Figure 1 Performance curve of a MERV 10 filter against canine pathogens. The Most Penetrating Particle (MPP) size range is indicated between about 0.1 – 0.4 microns.

are not changed out on time will suffer reduced ability to remove particulates, but when they become loaded with dust

and debris, they will increase the energy consumption of the fans or blowers and this is a good reason alone to change the

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of pathogens as well as the settling of pathogens on floors and surfaces. Typical ventilation systems will also introduce about 15-25% outside air (fresh air for breathing) and the purging effect of outside air can also diminish the indoor airborne concentrations of microbes. However, the outside air is not sterile and contains a wide variety of ambient environmental microbes that can induce disease. There are no viruses in the outdoor air but there are many environmental bacteria like Staphylococcus, Streptococcus and Pseudomonas and many fungi like Aspergillus and Fusarium. Air filters will generally remove these microbes provided the outside air passes through the filter. Environmental microbes which enter the indoor environment by other routes, like doors and human traffic, will tend to be removed by the recirculation of the air through the filters of ventilation system. Air filters should be changed out at least once a month or as specified by your individual needs. The operating efficiency is reduced when they are fouled and they will consume more energy if they are not maintained. Air filters that

43


It just so happens that the microbes that can penetrate MERV filters (i.e. in the MPP range) are very often microbes that are highly susceptible to UV rays and this leads to the combination of UV and MERV filters being the most effective and economical means of disinfecting air. filters regularly. One additional factor that deserves attention is the fit of the filters; the filters must fit tightly in place, especially if they are high efficiency filters, because a small amount of leakage past the filter can result in greatly diminished filtration efficiency. The removal of microbes from an airstream can be greatly enhanced by the addition of ultraviolet (UV) lights in or near the air handling unit in any building. Referring back to Figure 1, one can see

that the smallest microbes, viruses, and bacteria can penetrate a filter at high rates (for a single pass). It just so happens that the microbes that can penetrate MERV filters (i.e. in the MPP range) are very often microbes that are highly susceptible to UV rays and this leads to the combination of UV and MERV filters being the most effective and economical means of disinfecting air. Fungal spores are the most UV– resistant microbes but they tend to be

easily removed by even low efficiency MERV filters. UVGI systems attached to air filtration systems will tend to balance out the removal rates such that high microbial removal rates can be achieved across–the–board by the appropriate pairing of UV lamps and MERV filters. In effect, UVGI perfectly complements air filtration and has the effect of removing the MPP (most penetrating particle) size range from the filter performance curve. The combined performance curve (see

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my panel system you all made/installed for my pet resort. That’s one of the BEST investments I have made in this little venture.

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Figure 1) is largely ‘flattened’ with the result being high single-pass removal rates for virtually all pathogens of consequence, provided the filters and UV lamps are appropriately selected. UV rays can destroy organic matter over time and will tend to clean cooling coils, and may even restore the coils to their original design operating conditions. The payback period (or return on investment) due to the cooling coil cleaning effect alone is typically on the order of 1-2 years or less and can often be used to economically justify the installation of air cleaning systems in animal facilities. There is not a “one size fits all” solution when choosing a UV air and surface disinfection system. Furthermore, the array of zoonotic pathogens is considerably different from pathogens that infect and they must be addressed individually to ensure high levels of removal by any given air treatment system. As always, it is best to consult an experienced firm who specialize within the animal care industry to get the equipment properly sized and located to fit your facility’s needs. n Annette is the founder of PetAirapy, LLC, an Illinois-based company manufacturing advanced commercial-grade Air and Surface disinfection units by means of Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI). Annette has a passion for promoting the health and well-being of all animals through raising awareness of the importance of indoor air quality. Through research and development along with a team of doctors and engineers, she has been able to identify and mitigate over 200 Animal specific micro-organisms that can spread illness throughout animal care facilities. PetAirapy products have been tested & proven to kill over 99.9% of viruses, bacterias and germs including K-9 cough, Distemper, Canine influenza, Feline calicivirus and more. PetAirapy units are widely used in many animal hospitals, shelters, boarding facilities and more.

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ANIMAL HEALTH

WHAT YOU

SHOULD

KNOW ABOUT

By Jill Lopez, DVM

46

PET BOARDING & DAYCARE


L

eptospirosis is a disease caused by bacteria of the genus Leptospira.(1) Leptospirosis is one of the most widespread and prevalent diseases and it can infect both animals and people.(1,2,3,5) While there are over 200 types (also called serovars), the most common found in the US include grippotyphosa, bratislava, autumnalis, and ponoma.(1,2,3) Leptospira bacteria prefer warm weather and wet environments. They can be found in rivers, lakes, creeks, and puddles.(1,2,3) Flooding and heavy rainstorms can spread the contaminated water. Under optimal conditions, Leptospira can remain in the environment for months. Peak incidence of the disease in dogs typically occur in the summer and fall, following heavy rainfall.(1,2,3) According to an article from American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM), the regions with the highest areas of prevalence amongst dogs include Hawaii, California, Oregon, Washington, the upper Midwest, the Midwest parts of Texas, Colorado, and the Northeast and Mid–Atlantic coastal regions.(1,5) A study of 1,241 healthy dogs in Michigan showed that 24.9% had Leptospira antibody titers.(1,5)

Infected animals shed Leptospires (the infective stage) in their urine. (4,5) Dogs usually become infected through contact with infected urine or bodily fluids. Transmission can occur through exposure to contaminated water or soil. (4,5) in urban environments are at risk for this disease. Infected animals shed Leptospires (the infective stage) in their urine.(4,5) Dogs usually become infected through contact with infected urine or bodily fluids. Transmission can occur through exposure to contaminated water or soil.(4,5) Dogs can become infected by drinking contaminated water from rivers, lakes, puddles, or even contaminated water bowls. Leptospires can easily

penetrate the skin and also the mucous membranes. Leptospires then go into the blood stream and multiply.(1,2,3) They then spread throughout the body and replicate in many organs, including the kidneys and liver. Incubation period for this disease is approximately 7 days.(4,5) Zoonotic Potential Leptospirosis is a zoonotic disease, which means it can be passed from animals to people. While people can get

Clinical Signs Leptospirosis results in illness of varying severity in dogs. Some dogs may appear normal or display mild signs of disease, while others become severely ill. Leptospirosis is often suspected when a dog shows signs of kidney or liver disease. Fever and lethargy are also common signs of disease.(1,2,3) Transmission Leptospirosis can be transmitted by a variety of domestic and wild animals. Since rats can spread the disease, dogs

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People that enjoy outdoor recreation or that work with animals, such as doggie daycare workers, kennel employees, veterinarians, and shelter volunteers, are most at risk for catching this disease.

Leptospirosis from infected dogs, it is more commonly associated with direct exposure to infected water.(2,5) People can also become infected with Leptospirosis through recreational activities such as boating, freshwater swimming, and hunting.(1,5) Some people have contracted Leptospirosis from direct exposure to infected rodent urine. People that enjoy outdoor recreation or that work with animals, such as doggie daycare workers, kennel employees, veterinarians, and shelter volunteers, are most at risk for catching this disease. Without treatment, Leptospirosis can lead to kidney damage and liver failure and can be fatal.(1,2,4,5) The severity of the disease varies, just like in dogs. Some people that are infected may look and feel completely normal, while others may have flu like signs. The most severe form of the disease is called Weil’s disease and involves liver and

kidney failure.(1,2,5) Although it is not a reportable disease in several countries, there is an estimate of 300,000–500,000 of severe human cases of Leptospirosis reported each year worldwide.(1,5) Diagnostics There are many tests that can be performed to determine if a dog has a Leptospirosis infection, most require samples of either blood or urine. The MAT, or Micro–Agglutination Test, is commonly performed to confirm Leptospirosis. In this test, a serum sample is mixed with a culture of Leptospirosis and then it is examined for clumping, which is called agglutination.(1,2,3) IDEXX laboratories recently introduced a snap test for Leptospirosis that can be ran in the veterinary clinic.(2) Treatment Antibiotics are used to treat Leptospirosis

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in dogs. According to the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM), the antibiotic of choice is Doxycycline.(5) In addition, the dog is treated with supportive care, including intravenous fluids to support kidney function. Animals with severe disease have a very poor prognosis. Prevention Leptospirosis vaccines are effective in helping to prevent disease and some vaccines are actually proven to prevent shedding of the disease. Dogs that have contact with wildlife, swim, or roam would be especially at risk. However, even those dogs that live in urban areas may be at risk, since the disease can be spread through rat urine. Most veterinary experts recommend giving vaccines that contain 4–serovars rather than just 2.(4,5) Dogs will receive an initial vaccination and then a booster, usually within 2–4 weeks, and then they would receive the Leptospirosis vaccine on an annual basis. To learn more about Leptospirosis, you can visit the Center for Disease Control’s website: http://www.cdc.gov/leptospirosis n

5. Sykes JE, Hartmann K, Lunn KF, Moore GE, et. al: 2010 ACVIM small animal consensus statement on leptospirosis: diagnosis, epidemiology, treatment, and prevention. J Vet Intern Med 2011 Vol 25 (1) pp. 1-13. Dr. Jill Lopez is a veterinarian with Merck Animal Health. She started her career as a small animal practitioner in West Virginia and has worked in various segments of the

Animal Health Industry for over 15 years. She has particular interests in pet safety, infectious disease, and general health issues. 

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References 1. Sykes Jane E, Leptospirosis, World Small Animal Veterinary Association World Congress Proceedings 2014. 2. Langstom C: Leptospirosis. Atlantic Coast Veterinary Conference 2010.  3. Greene CE, Sykes JE, Brown CA: Leptospirosis. Infectious Diseases of the Dog and Cat, 3rd ed. Philadelphia, WB Saunders 2006 pp. 402-416. 

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4. Goldstein GE: Canine Leptospirosis 2010: Update on Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention (S21B). Western Veterinary Conference 2010.

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IS IT

RINGWORM? BY Colleen Mendelsohn, DVM Diplomate American College of Veterinary Dermatology

Ringworm is one of the most over and under diagnosed conditions in veterinary dermatology. Dermatophytosis (ringworm) is a fungal infection of the hair, superficial skin, and occasionally nails. Contrary to the common name for Dermatophytosis, “ringworm”, it is not a parasite and worms are not the problem!

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hree species of ringworm cause the majority of infections: Microsporum canis, Microsporum gypseum, and Trichophyton mentagrophytes; with Microsporum canis being the most commonly seen and it is more common in cats than dogs. It is often forgotten as a potential problem in adult pets. However, at the same time, lesions of other, more common conditions are frequently mistaken for ringworm, by owners, groomers and animal health care professionals. Depending on the organism involved, the most common source of infection are other infected pets or contaminated environments (M. canis), rodents (T. mentagrophytes), and occasionally the soil (M. gypseum). In addition to the condition being present in the environment, some animals may act as carriers of the disease with no visible lesions, which then can be passed on to more susceptible animals in the facility. M. canis can survive in the environment for at least 13 months, making reinfection a common problem as well. Therefore, pets that have been treated and resolved could potentially become PET BOARDING & DAYCARE

re–infected and again become a source of the contamination to your facility. People who come into contact with infected animals are also at risk of developing ringworm. The highest risk are those that have suppressed immune responses including children, the elderly or those with weakened immune responses through disease or medications. As with animals, most individuals who are exposed will not develop an infection. The symptoms of ringworm are NOT specific. The most common clinical signs of infection are hair loss, broken hairs, and darkening of the skin. The owners will often report that the problem is not itchy. Other signs may include red bumps, itching, crusting, scaling, and occasionally a discharge is noted as well. When the claws are affected, they can become brittle and even break, eventually leading to the claws becoming deformed. However, a “ring” of scale and hairloss with darkening of the skin is NOT usually a symptom of ringworm, it is more often an indication of a bacterial skin infection (this lesion is referred to as an epidermal collarette), and most


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If a pet has skin lesions, and has been diagnosed with ringworm, then other pets in the house are also sources of infection, as are any articles of clothing, towels or toys that a pet owner might bring with them. often associated with the organism Staphylococcus pseudintermedius. Unlike ringworm, this condition is not contagious and does not pose a risk to the other pets in your care, although, without knowing what is causing the lesion, it is important to properly disinfect any area where a pet with lesions has been. If any abnormal lesion is noted, let the pet owner know and make sure they seek advice from their veterinarian. When an owner makes an appointment and lets you know in advance that their pet has a skin condition, getting a letter from their veterinarian indicating that it is safe to groom them is also recommended. Treating ringworm can be a long process. The problem should be treated both topically and systemically (oral medications) in some cases. Even among veterinary dermatologists there is disagreement whether an animal should be shaved for treatment. On the one hand, clipping the coat allows better access for topical medications and shortens the

hairs, upon which the organisms thrive. However, shaving a pet that has ringworm contaminates the person doing the shaving, the facility, as well as the grooming equipment. Unless the coat is long and extremely unkempt or an animal is not responding to therapy, shaving the coat is generally avoided. If your facility is associated with a veterinary hospital and the veterinarian has prescribed topical therapy for a ringworm positive pet, the “dip” or shampoo should be done away from the general grooming area. The bather should wear protective gear and the room should have its own ventilation system. After the bath, the entire area and the vents should be decontaminated. Veterinary dermatologists will recommend that the animal have at least 2 negative cultures about a month apart from each other before they can be declared “disease free”. Additionally, any “in contact” animal should be cultured as well. Ringworm cultures can take up to 3-4 weeks to get a final negative result.

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Ringworm is difficult to remove from the environment. Some basic steps include: • Destroy all fabric bedding, rugs and towels that cannot be washed in a 1:10 bleach solution (0.5%). All surfaces and grooming supplies should be soaked for 5 minutes in a 1:10 bleach solution. • Clippers, dryers and other items that cannot be soaked should be wiped down as best as possible and “retired” for a few months if possible. • All heating and cooling ducts and vents should be vacuumed and disinfected. These procedures should ideally be done before closing to prevent human exposure to the fumes from the concentrated bleach solution. If a pet has skin lesions, and has been diagnosed with ringworm, then other pets in the house are also sources of infection, as are any articles of clothing, towels or toys that a pet owner might bring with them. Pet owner education is key to making sure that the pets are well taken care of, and that the facility as well as the employees are adequately protected. n Dr. Mendelsohn is a 1997 graduate of UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and received Diplomate status with the American College of Veterinary Dermatology in 2004. After graduation from UC Davis, Dr. Mendelsohn completed an internship with the Animal Emergency Clinic and Animal Specialty Group in San Diego. She later practiced general medicine before starting her residency with the Animal Dermatology Clinic in 2000. Her love and appreciation of the human-animal bond is what drew Dr. Mendelsohn to this specialty. Another opportunity that Dr. Mendelsohn enjoys is the training of veterinary students, helping these students appreciate the hidden complexities of dermatologic disease.For more information please visit www.animaldermatology.com.


Sample Health Report Card ____________________________________’s Report Card Last Name ______________________________________ Examined By_______________________ Date: ________

VACCINATION PROGRAM ___ ALL OK ___ DUE q Distemper/Parvo

q Lyme

q Bordetella

COAT & SKIN q No problems found q Dull/dry q Matted q Abnormal Lump

q Rabies

q Rattlesnake

q Flu

q Distemper q Leukemia

ABDOMEN q Excessive shedding/hair loss q Itchy q Parasites q Other: ________________

q No problems found q Abnormal lump q Tense/painful q Distended q Other: ______________________________

LUNGS EYES q No problems found q Cloudy lens: L ___ R ___ q Discharge q Other: ________________ q Inflamed q Eyelid Problem:_________________________________

EARS q No problems found q Inflamed q Itchy

q Abnormal lump: L ___ R ___ q Excessive wax/hair q Other: ________________

q No problems found q Breathing too rapidly q Coughing

q Breathing difficulty q Congestion q Other: ________________

DIGESTIVE SYSTEM q No problems found q Excessive gas q Vomiting q Eating disorder

q Abnormal feces (BM) q Diarrhea q Other: ________________

URINARY/REPRODUCTIVE SYSTEM NOSE & THROAT q No problems found

q No problems found q Abnormal urinations q Breast lump(s) q Genital discharge q Anal gland problem q Abnormal testicles q Other: ________________

q Nasal discharge

MOUTH, TEETH, GUMS q No problems found q Broken teeth q Inflamed lips q Loose teeth q Ulcers q Bleeding gums q Abnormal lumps q Tartar buildup q Other: _____________________________

WEIGHT: _____ lbs q Normal range q Too heavy

q Too thin q Recommended weight: _______

INTESTINAL PARASITES/WORMS LEGS & PAWS q No problems found q Lameness/pain

q None seen q Seen during exam q Suspected q Joint/nail problem q Other: ________________

COMMENTS:

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Hairy Situations is the first disaster planning book written specifically for the pet care industry. The goal of the book is to help pet care business owners put emergency plans and procedures in place so that their businesses are better able to recover physically, financially and emotionally from disaster. Hairy Situations details how to mitigate crises and prevent disasters and provides documents (with links to word documents) that can be used for personalized crisis response plans. The book can be ordered at www.petbusinessdisasterresponse. com or from Amazon.

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