I learned some years ago to always offer my best to the client. While it is certainly possible that they may not desire or be able to afford Plan A, they surely won’t ask for it if they don’t know what it is. With every patient, my job is to offer what I believe to be the highest standard of care. Offering anything less is a disservice to the pet and to the client. You certainly cannot judge by a person’s clothes or the car they drive. People who are well-to-do may decline complete care and people who appear near destitute may make whatever sacrifice needed to care for their pet.
Sometimes it’s a little difficult to get fired up about treating the pet’s dental problems when the owner’s smile reveals a few scattered green snags passing for teeth. If their own dental hygiene is not a priority, how important will the pet’s mouth be? On the other hand, their own dental problems might make the pet’s dental situation more real to them.
You might think that the pet’s previous care would be a pretty good indicator of what folks will do in the future, but you can certainly be surprised there, as well. When taking the history, I tend to get less optimistic when I find that the pet runs loose, hasn’t had a checkup in years, doesn’t take heartworm preventive, and the condition is long-standing or brought on by what appears to be egregious neglect.
You never know, though. Sometimes it’s the guilt factor, sometimes people really were meaning to do all that stuff and just didn’t get around to it. Tonight we had a big pup who had been accidentally (how else?) run over in its own driveway. She had lots of fleas, ear mites, no heartworm preventive, and no puppy boosters. Not good, I’m thinking. Yet, her folks stepped right up to the plate and are doing what it takes to make her right. "I guess we’ve been neglecting her." Man, we’ve just got to go on from where we are now. That’s all there is to do. If beating up on you would take us back in time and fix it, I’d be all for it… but it won’t, so pat yourself on the back for doing the right thing, and let’s get on with Plan A.