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Looking to the wrong places for medical advice – Places like the Internet, Facebook, asking friends and family members, people with no medical background or training.

We see a lot of patients harmed and (and sometimes they can’t be saved) because their owners followed the bad advice of people without a medical background. Common scenarios include giving toxic medications/supplements, trying to “diy” and delaying medical treatment, and tinkering with giving medications they have lying around at home (like antibiotics). In this video we discuss the danger of getting medical advice from the wrong places, and how to avoid this very common danger. Please comment below and share your experience if you have had to learn these lessons the hard way.

1.5 Doctor Google

The first time I ever saw a dog die from having essential oils applied to its skin was a huge wake-up call for me. The owner had researched online natural remedies to treat a rash and she showed me several websites that had instructed her to apply tea tree oil to her dog’s back and her dog actually died from them.

We see lots of pets coming in with overdoses and having been administered toxic medications and foods at the recommendation of friends and family members. I could fill a football stadium with the number of people that are receiving harmful medical advice on pet owner groups.

On Facebook, common things I see are Facebookers recommending that people administer medications that are not safe to their pets. They’re taking over the role of the pet’s doctor and managing a case for several days until it gets so bad that literally there may not be anything for us to do by the time it gets to us.

I’ve seen Facebook threads where people are advocating for pet owners to clean their dog’s ears with medications that can actually make their dog go deaf. There’s so much bad advice.

It’s very risky to be asking for medical advice on these groups and I’ve seen so many pets harmed by this. Same thing goes for family members, and it can end up being a lot more expensive in the long run. It’s actually illegal to be offering medical advice, to be diagnosing and to be prescribing medications without a medical degree. But for some reason nobody’s actually patrolling or regulating these forums like Facebook. If you need medical advice, go to the right place for that.

Related videos:

Here are the 3 best pieces of advice from the emergency vet that could save your pet’s life:

1) DON’T WAIT TOO LONG TO GET HELP!

If you wait too long, it could be too late. This is especially true for concerns such as laboured breathing, pale gums and weakness. You know your pet best, so if you are worried or concerned, “when in doubt, check it out!”

2) PREVENT THE PREVENTABLE

Learn as much as possible about dangers that face your pet, such as household poisons, seemingly harmless objects (such as toys, clothing, garbage and rocks), other animals, and vehicles. Pets are like toddlers and they need a responsible adult/babysitter to protect them from danger. Puppies and kittens need to start their vaccines at 8 WEEKS (and they need boosters too!) to protect them from deadly diseases.

3) BE PREPARED FOR THE WORST CASE SCENARIO

Have a plan in place, know your nearest emergency clinic, have the ASPCA phone number on speed dial. Know basic first aid training and CPR. But MOST IMPORTANTLY, BE FINANCIALLY PREPARED. The cost of medical treatment in an emergency, and the owners’ ability to pay for it, is probably the most important factor that determines whether a pet will receive the medical care it needs. The best way to protect yourself is to have good medical insurance for your pet. Do your research.

**REMEMBER**: WE ARE ALL ON THE SAME TEAM, with the best interest of the patient as everyone’s first priority. Let your vet do what he/she does best, and don’t try to grab the steering wheel and obstruct your vet from doing his/her job. We are all in the same car, we are all headed to the same place, but only one of us has the driver’s license (meaning, only the vet has the medical training and background to “drive the car”).

Please remember to spay/ neuter your pet, and to donate to your local animal shelter- they really need your help!

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