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After 10 years in the industry , you always should be at the safe side ... Since the beginning you should ask for 60% at least of the total price to be prepaid ... Imagine that you have a case of toxicity ( snake bite) the total amount to be paid is 1000$ you should not touch the animal unless 600$ are paid to your clinic and it's clear that the rest of the money should be paid before the animal leaves the hospital , let the owner firm a special document that guarantees your financial right as illustrated above ... For sure you need a lawyer to validate and verify such a document , but after that you can keep the verified format in your clinic reception , that any case which enters should pay initially the checkup cost ... And after the medic examenes the animal and determines the final cost .. the owner must firm the ( financial obligations/guarantee format) .... In this industry , the OWNER CAN NOT BE TRUSTED UNLESS HE/SHE PROVES THE OPPOSITE.