1.5 DR GOOGLE (7 Dangers to Avoid)︱Pet First Aid Course

1.5 DR. GOOGLE: More like, looking to the wrong places for medical advice (the internet, facebook, friends/family, breeders). We see a lot of patients harmed and (and sometimes they can't be saved) because their owners followed the bad advice of [usually well-intentioned] people without a medical background.

Common scenarios include giving toxic medications/supplements, trying to "diy," delaying medical treatment, and tinkering with giving medications they have lying around at home (like antibiotics). Some cases also include misdiagnosis and mis-management of serious conditions.

The first example that comes to mind is a dog that had a spinal infection called discospondylitis.  Instead of seeing a veterinarian or neurology specialist, the dog received care over a several month period from a non-veterinarian who provided home acupuncture and chiropractic treatments. The dog became irreversible tetraplegic (paralyzed in all four limbs); if he had received proper veterinary care, a correct diagnosis and treatment, this would never have happened. I could list countless examples.

In this video we discuss the danger of getting medical advice from the wrong places, and how to avoid this very common danger.

"Unauthorized Practice"

What is unauthorized practice? It is a punishable crime in most jurisdictions, where someone without a license to practice medicine "pretends" to be a doctor or veterinarian. That means: diagnosing diseases, prescribing medications, managing a patient's medical care and giving medical advice.

Here is a big warning to all pet care workers: pet owners will ask you for advice about their pets' medical problems because they like you and they trust you. If you have not gone to veterinary school and do not have a license to practice medicine, providing consultation or direction over the care of their pets' medical problems constitutes unauthorized practice and could leave you legally liable for any adverse outcomes. You could also face charges from your local authorities as well.

Please be very clear that this first aid course does not authorize you to practice medicine. Pet first aid is no substitute for proper veterinary care. 

If an owner asks you about a medical problem with their pet, the best answer is to say that you are not a veterinarian and that they should take their pet to a doctor if they have questions or concerns about their pet's medical care. 

If you find you really, really love giving veterinary advice when people ask for it, then the best thing to do is to go to veterinary school and become licensed, so that you have the required training and credentials to do so.

Please share your experience in the comments section on our YouTube channel if you have had to learn these lessons the hard way.


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TREES PET FIRST AID COURSE! This course is FREE and open to the public. We designed it for pet owners, dog walkers and pet sitters. If you pass the quiz at the end you can get a First Aid Certificate. Take notes and leave your questions and comments below :) Make sure to share with your friends that need to watch this!

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!

Additional Resources:
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