Pesky pest problem

How do I tactfully talk to a client about a flea infestation?
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Oct 01, 2009


Gina Toman, RVT
Asking, "When was the last time you applied flea preventive?" seems to be the best way to broach this topic, says Gina Toman, RVT, Firstline Editorial Advisory Board member and practice manager at Seaside Animal Care in Calabash, N.C. "From this question, the conversation will go one of two ways. The client will respond with a date, prompting you to ask what type of preventive she applied and where she bought it. The second possibility is that the client will say she's not applying a flea preventive. Both paths should lead to a discussion with the client about why and how flea infestations occur."

It's important for team members to educate the client on not only treating the affected pet with veterinary-approved products—and on continued treatment and follow up—but also on treating the pet's siblings (both indoor and outdoor) and environment. At Seaside Animal Care, team members discuss with clients how to treat the environment and then recommend repeating the process again in 14 to 21 days as a way to break the flea cycle.

If you discuss the subject with care and compassion toward the pet, the client shouldn't be embarrassed. However, if you feel that the client is offended by the conversation, simply explain to her that this is a common problem that can be fixed relatively easily and that she's not alone—you are here to help.