Why should I take my pet to the vet, when I can “Google” the answer to my question?
“I was reading” is the phrase that will make almost any veterinarian cringe and brace. Why? Not because we want you to be uninformed or because all “Googled” health information is bad, it’s because, most of the time, the information obtained is suspect at best. I’ll let you in on a secret: your vet knows that, while you may value his/her knowledge, you are going to consult Google, your friend, the groomer, the breeder, and the pet store clerk before speaking with your vet.
Now, I have absolutely no problem with any of these individuals, including Dr Google. However, if you have a medical health concern about your pet, consider reversing the order of your information search. Veterinarians study for many years, and are mandated to continue studying, for the specific purpose of answering your questions about your pet’s health care needs. Does your vet know everything? Absolutely not. But your vet is much more highly equipped to search out an answer for you or direct you to the right answer.
Believe it or not, vets generally don’t have a problem with you researching concerns on your own. There are a number of good, verifiable websites with good information. Talk with your vet about this.
Too many times our clients go searching because their dog is, for example, hanging its ears low. Their search diagnoses an ear infection. As a result of this, the start putting all manner of things in the dog’s ear, which relieves the symptoms for a short time . . . and then it gets worse. Meanwhile, the poor animal is suffering from a foxtail which only your vet can diagnose and treat appropriately. A condition that can be diagnosed quickly and remedied immediately. Information is good. The right information is better. Give your vet a chance!
“Ask the Vet” is a monthly feature of the Times-Advocate brought to you by Dr. David Knox of Companion Animal Clinic. If you have a question for the Vet, please submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org.