Kill 'em with Kindness... and Flea Control

One of my favorite things ever is when people tell me they don't use flea control. Usually because their pet doesn't have fleas, or maybe it's because it doesn't go outside. Or it's the 'winter' and they can't get fleas in the winter. Sometimes they don't want to put 'chemicals' on their pet, and sometimes they are just cheap. (Actually, I really think it comes down to money most of the time... everything does). Meanwhile, the poor pet is suffering at the very least from having fleas crawling all over its skin to the very worst, having severe allergies, skin infections, and potential blood or intestinal parasite infections, on top of having fleas crawling all over its skin. Or, more accurately, underneath.

Yesterday, which was my last day of work before a much needed staycation this week (!), a guy came in with his dog. This client has a history of arguing with receptionists on the phone, declining all flea control and preventive care, and only doing the bare minimum for his dog. My technician came back with the chart and told me she had to put him in a room in front of another client because he was in the lobby bemoaning how much veterinary care costs and his last clinic was nothing but a bunch of money grubbers out to get him. When she asked what flea control the dog was on, he said he doesn't like flea control and he gives the pup a bath as needed. I decided to kill him with kindness to see what would happen.

"Hi, I'm Dr. M. How are you and the pooch doing today?"

"Great! I'm Mr. X."

"Let's take a look at Mr. Wiggles here."

After all the niceties, I begin looking at the dog which has fleas, thinning hair and an obvious chronic skin irritation and infection. Now that I've got him all nice and comfortable, I cut to the quick and say to Mr. X, "So, what do you have against flea control?"

"Uh, err, well, umm, ehh--- does he have fleas?"

That's right. Mr. X could not even answer me. He could not come up with EVEN ONE REASON (that he wanted to share) for why he wasn't using flea control.

I informed him that yes, indeed the dog did have fleas. They're not microscopic after all, you can see them with the naked eye. The two of us then proceeded to pluck fleas off the dog like a bunch of monkeys. (Except we didn't use them as a tasty snack, as monkeys are wont to do. But anyway, I digress.)

"Fleas are more than a nuisance," I say, popping a flea on the table. "They also carry tapeworms, and some nasty bacteria, including the plague. You know, the black plague from the middle ages."

"Ew, that's gross," he says.

"Yep. Also, he is probably allergic to fleas, so every bite makes him super itchy, and then he's created this infection from scratching and chewing. He'll feel much more comfortable with regular flea control and some antibiotics."

He actually says, "Wow, ok. I guess I need to get some flea meds." And then actually does! A whole year's supply! WHAT, I know, I was shocked, too.

Of course, then there is always the whole following through part....

Also, sorry for not posting in 4 months. :|


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