Wrinkles was a sad little sight. It had been seven years since his last doctor visit. His list of medical complaints was long: smelly ears for a few months, coughing for eight months, two suspicious lumps, poor appetite for six months and off his heartworm preventive for seven years.
By the time the visit was over we had diagnosed a severe yeast infection in both ears, a tracheobronchial infection causing the cough, suspicious lumps that need reevaluation in three weeks and heartworm disease.
When I asked Wrinkles’ owner how it came to be that she was so long between doctor visits she said, “My husband doesn’t like to take dogs to the doctor too often.”
“One thing for sure,” I replied, “with this list of problems, once every seven years is not too often.”
Years ago there was a television commercial for a certain brand of oil filter. It featured a New York mechanic telling his customer how to take care of his car with preventive care. His catch phrase was, “Youse can pay me now, or youse can pay me later,” meaning, of course, that changing one’s oil and filter as preventive care for a car wasn’t a cost, it was an investment in cost-control, comfort and reliability.
You could pay him a little bit of money today to change the oil and filter, removing harmful dirt from the engine, or you could pay him a few thousand dollars later for repairing or replacing your entire engine.
The point being that there is a price to pay for failing to perform preventive maintenance.
Or, in the case of your pet, for failing to perform preventive care.
Right now Wrinkles is paying that price, although we believe that all of the problems he currently has can be treated and resolved. It will just be a long, difficult, expensive and unnecessary road.
Preventive care doesn’t cost. It pays.