Dr. Google and Facebook, the new Veterinarians on the block…

There is a scary new trend developing and it is developing at high speed. The use of the Internet Veterinarian Dr. Google, and his trusted sidekick FaceBook…

In the space of no less than 5 minutes this morning I saw four, yes FOUR questions posed to the general public on Facebook about health issues with dogs. Many of the replies were of course fed by the smartest veterinarian in the whole wide world, Doctor Google! Let me just give a short list of what I have seen over the last few weeks in questions to the good ole Internet Vet…

  • Bee sting to eyelid, face swollen up, head swelled during conversation and eventually the owner decided to go to the Veterinarian because she got scared by what some people were telling her. She did however mention that her pup was okay and that she only went because people scared her into going. This was a pup of maybe 3 months old and the owner felt it was prudent to go on FaceBook first to question the masses on their views before thinking about her pup and his needs. This owner even made it a point to say that after she went to the Veterinarian she felt it was not needed because the Veterinarian did exactly what she would have done to begin with…
  • Broken foot/paw. Owner comes online on Facebook to ask how to splint his dogs paw because it’s broken and he has no time to see a vet until after the weekend! Can he just cage the dog for 2 days and what human pain killers can he give his dog to tide him over for the next 2 days. Owner made it clear that Dr. Google and FaceBook were his go to places for medical questions since he hated “Forking out cash” for an ER vet when he could do it himself for the next 2 days and then the Veterinarian could fix what needed to be fixed on Monday.
  • Dog has not eaten for 5 days, is lethargic, vomits constantly and barely comes out of his crate/kennel. Owner refuses to take dog to vet, dog has shown this behaviour a year ago and it passed by itself but now the dog is really acting lazy and doesn’t really want to do anything anymore. What kind of meds can he be given that are over the counter? Owner would rather not spend too much money since they plan to go on a concert weekend in a month’s time!
  • Dog with hole in flank. Dog was running around playing, ran through some brush, caught on a piece of brush or wood sticking out. Large hole in skin on flank behind ribs, piece of wood still sticking out. Owner removed it himself. Was proud to say his dog was a real tough bastard because it was about 7 inches long and he didn’t even bite him when he removed it. Could he use some sort of glue to close up the hole and would be fine? Mentioned the dog would yelp each time he tried to walk but that was probably from the hole in his skin. 4 days later the owner was forced to go to Veterinarian due to the wound oozing pus and looking bad.

Are we seeing a pattern yet? I know I get furious when I see posts like these. Why is it that people are so big on saying I love my dog, but the moment they have to spend money for anything healthcare related they feel it is a good thing to first contact Dr Google and FaceBook?

Why is it that the moment money becomes involved that love doesn’t seem to run as deep as the owners proclaim it does? What am I missing here? You make a commitment to get a dog so you make a commitment to keep that dog safe, healthy, well fed and happy. You are taking a life into your care so you should ensure that that life is being taken care of to the best of your abilities. No dog asks to go home with you. No dog has a choice for where it ends up. It is a choice, we as owners make for the dog. They depend on us for everything so why do so many of us not give them that needed care? What is it about a Veterinarian that makes us think we know better? We didn’t go to school to learn about animal medicine, but they did. So what makes us so much better and smarter that we think we can make well informed decisions for our dogs when most of the time we do not know what we are doing? And lets not forget that the dogs are paying for it!

It scares me to see the amount of people asking for advice, and giving advice on the Internet. They think nothing of it to ask for medical advice of total strangers. Dosages are thrown around like cookies and even when there are different dosages mentioned on the same question, no one thinks it’s strange! They just shake it off… Medications are mentioned as if it is the most normal thing in the world, everything gets smothered in coconut oil! Coconut oil is the new black! It is the hero of the day and saves all dogs out there, be it with a broken paw, or a broken teeth, just smother it in coconut oil and you will be fine!

Do we always have to run to the Veterinarian for every little thing? Of course not! But when you own a dog you should be prepared for things that might and could happen to your beloved pooch. Do these things cost money? Yep, they sure do! And if you’re lucky the cost a hell of a lot! But that is what goes with owning a dog. To say, I can’t afford it is not going to work… If you own a dog you should set aside money for emergencies… They can happen in a blink of an eye. If you can set aside money for days out with the family, eating out, ordering out, buying things on amazon you do not need, then you can set aside a little money every week or month to at least have a starter when something goes wrong. It also helps if the costs run too high to have some money set aside to convince a Veterinarian to give you a payment plan if you can put down a little starter money. It might seem like it’s easy for me to talk but trust me, it isn’t easy at all. As a dog owner for 30 years, in a sports (KNPV) that is very hard on dogs I know all about having to pay the Veterinarian and I am pretty sure that the fancy new MRI clinic my Veterinarian opened last year was built in large on my donations to them… and there have been a LOT of donations! Having 3 dogs break down within 5 months from Cancer, old age and a training accident managed to set me back a good $12.000 in 5 months time a few years ago… So yes, I know the price of owning dogs. But that is the choice I made for them. To come into my care, and to provide for them any and everything they need to be happy, healthy and safe. We did not go to the Veterinarian school, we did not learn medicine, we did not spend a lot of cash on getting educated on anatomy, we did not lose sleep over working hard to get our Veterinarian papers and licences… They did tho! So lets give them some credit for what they do. Does it cost a lot of money? Yep it sure as hell does. Is it justified? Yes! it sure is hell is. Are the dogs worth every penny we have to pay to a Veterinarian for their well being, YES, THEY SURE AS HELL ARE!

PS: Just because you got lucky the last time, or this time, doesn’t mean that you will next time… Saying it never went bad before doesn’t mean it will not go bad in the future. Things never go wrong, until they do…

Regards, Alice Mackenzie.

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