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I've been reading message boards for many years and I feel it's important to address an issue you seldom see posted. Some of you may agree with me, some of you may disagree - that's what makes the world go 'round and I'm sure you'll voice your opinions pro or con.

IMHO some people can handle caring for an ultra sick dog at home and some people can't.

One very important thing the home caretaker must realize is when it's time to call the vet, when it's time to take the animal to the vet or ER, and when it's okay to continue to seek and get advice on the internet over an extended period of time.

Of course most often you see the best of both worlds where the poster takes the animal to the vet when necessary and continues to ask questions and share information on the message boards. But that doesn't always happen. Sometimes it's obvious there's an emergency situation, sometimes it's not - it's not always easy to tell when you have an emergency and when a problem can wait. Personally I'm paranoid and always try to err on the side of caution but that's just me.

However, when a dog has obvious symptoms of a medical problem that can get progressively worse over a short time frame, it's important that it get immediate medical attention and hours spent seeking advice over the internet can be contrary to the animal's welfare and subsequent recovery.

On another note, while I agree it's not a great scenario that a dog be left overnight at a hospital that's not staffed 24/7, it's often better than the dog not receiving the proper nursing care at home. I'm not a big fan of this, but if an owner is unable to care for an animal at home, and either doesn't want to leave it at an unstaffed hospital or it needs critical care throughout the night, there's always the option of transporting the dog to the ER when the regular vet hospital closes and then transporting it back to the hospital the next day.
 

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Totally agree. Most people don't have the experience or the knowledge, read one website or answer on 'Yahoo answers' and then make big mistakes that can seriously risk their pet's health.

However I think good factual information is a good tool to use alongside your vet's advice. I use the net as supplemental advice along side my vet and the net aids in my deeper understanding of what my vet tells me. Although if I am unsure of anything small I always call the office to verify information.

Problems usually arise when people try to use the internet as a replacement for the vet.
 

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Amen to that Gayle!

On IMOM-which is basically a health board-you are not allowed to give any vet advice. You can suggest things but always in terms of talking to their vet about it. When Anna was on there, I took that to be a good practice and try to remember to always say that here as well.

What if you suggest something that interacts with another drug that the owner didn't post about that the dog is taking? What if they have had stomach issues in the past and you suggest aspirin and in a couple of days the dog has an ulcer? Because people new to the site might just take this advice literally-you don't know what is going to happen once the advice cat is out of the bag.

I know people sometimes
about vets, and there are some vets who maybe deserve it. But a patient, persistent, resourceful (not monetarily but assertively) owner will nicely push until action is taken, or will seek a second opinion. And a veterinary doctor will work with you with their experience and knowledge.

If anyone suggests something to me and doesn't provide a link to substantiate it, I google it myself or ask my vet.

If someone suggests a medication or supplement, I research it and still talk to my vet about it because I am not fully aware of ALL the possibilities of bad drug interactions.

I worry when people take "one time (at band camp?), my dog had the same thing your dog has..." too seriously and follow that advice.

I don't care if my vet wants to cut off my internets when I bring in a list of drugs and ask which if any we can use with one of my dogs-and then the corresponding list of drugs they are on. We have a good laugh and go through it.

I have gotten help on this board so many times I can't even remember them all. But review it with my vet before doing anything and do my own research before I review it with him. I always feel like if I post here, I may not get answers, but I get some ideas and that is great!

But that's just for general information.

For emergencies and critical situations-be ready to pack up and go.

When Kramer bloated, he and I were pacing the parking lot when his vet pulled in (at about 80 mph). I didn't even bother to check online because I had already printed out the symptoms of bloat and had it on the frig (yeah-I know-neurotic).

I have a number of pets, so I need to know when my vet office opens (7am) and the emergency number (in my cell). But when you think about it the same things that can happen to a lot of dogs, can happen to one.

It is good to know what is an emergency-there is a sticky-and err on the side of caution regardless.

Good topic Gayle!
 

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For me the info on the Internet and the info on this board are like "bonus" sources of info. I check with the vet first but if things aren't adding up or if I want to explore other possibilities or learn more about alternative tests or treatments to push for, then they're a Godsend. But only as a bonus, never as a substitute.
And I take all the new ideas back to the vet and discuss it with them. Oh, they love me so much sometimes.


Quote:I worry when people take "one time (at band camp?), my dog had the same thing your dog has..."
 

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Originally Posted By: pupresqFor me the info on the Internet and the info on this board are like "bonus" sources of info. I check with the vet first but if things aren't adding up or if I want to explore other possibilities or learn more about alternative tests or treatments to push for, then they're a Godsend. <span style="color: #FF0000">But only as a bonus, never as a substitute.</span>
And I take all the new ideas back to the vet and discuss it with them. Oh, they love me so much sometimes.
I wrote that whole big thing and that highlighted part is what I was trying to say.

 

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There's a special place in my heart for the internet sources of bad information. It a subject about which I am acutely sensitive, because I work with cancer patients. Now please don't misunderstand- I am so in favor of exploring all options and making informed decisions. I am the fiercest advocate of patient autonomy you will find. But cancer is so individual and so emotional that there is all sorts of opportunity for people to get information that either does not apply to them, or is simply wrong.
I am also responsible legally for everything that comes out of my mouth. I cannot say that "I think your medicine is what's making you feel that way"...I am not a physician, or mid level provider and even if the last seven thousand people who were on this medicine reported the same thing I am not qualified to comment. What if they took it to heart and discontinued the medicine and died because of it. I am not only legally responsible but morally as well. I can say "If you have concerns check with your doctor and follow her instructions about your medication". I can and should get sued for misleading a patient about my qualifications by doing nothing more than speaking out of turn. The patient is not expected to know I am not qualified to discuss these things with them.
I do know enough to know when to tell them they should call their doctor, what information I have that needs to be relayed to the doctor, and which type of doctor he should see. Oh, and when to call 911.

I try hard to carry that over in my postings on here and my horse board.
 

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I don't use the Internet as the main source, but to me I am amazed how many vets that don't suggest ice/cold packing the scrotum of a newly neutered male. That is like basic keep the swelling down information. Luckily that was on my post op instructions.

Vets also don't have people put their dogs on a bland diet when many times all the dogs system needs is some basic relief.

Then there is the pushing ABX and not telling people that Probiotics will help maintaining the digestive balance.

So Internet for the only source - No - No - No, supplement yes, yes.

Val
 

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The net should be supplemental to vet care ONLY! Common sense dictates that you should know when your dog is sick, rather than trust the opinion of people who have never met your dog and can only see the problem through pictures.

If it's something simple like a case of collie nose, I'll be the first one to offer up my home remedy of spf 50 chapstick. Raw paw? Berts Bees comfy ointment. These aren't life threatening issues and a dog isn't going to suffer if you try them.
 

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Originally Posted By: Wisc.Tiger

So Internet for the only source - No - No - No, supplement yes, yes.

Val
I completely agree. If you have watched this board for a while (and checked out people's profiles & websites), you have and idea who knows what they are talking about, who had general information, and who to hit the ignor button on.


I think people post health questions for the same reasons that they post question on training or behavior issues. For some it is their sole source of information, others want to bounce ideas off others, and some people are at their wits end on an issue and are looking for anything that can help them (the cushing's thread comes to mind)

I was directed to this thread because I was asking about some skin lesions I found on my dog today. I am planning on calling the vet in the am, but posted photos here to see if anyone had some info in the meantime. If someone suggested a home remedy that may make him more comfortable until I get the to vet I may try it or not if I don't think it is applicable.
 

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I think most people have or use common sense, it is the others that are worrisome. Whether they just want to save a buck, or in a lot of cases the parents don't want to drag the dog to the vet or just a total lack of concern by someone in the house that is the final say. Those are the people who cause us all concern.

Val
 

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Just a few thoughts. The field of medicine both human and animal moves so incredibly fast that only the most obsessed Dr/Vet could begin to keep up with the reading and study it would require to be conversant in every remedy available for everything. So would he neccesarily know about the study re: ibuprofen/aspirin/acetominophen and their various drawbacks and side effects. So if he prescribed ibuprofen and you said, "But that causes ulcers." would he know that a study suggests that to be so or would his reasoning be, "Yes it may, but it provides more benefits than aspirin and ulcers are easily treated."
My point is that there is such a tremendous amount of info available on the net that anyone who doesn't avail himself of it is putting himself at the mercy of a vet who may or may not be up on everything. I don't care to remember how many times I have thought my dog had something wrong with it and took it to the vet only to have him say, "Well, everything looks fine, all the tests are normal keep an eye on him and bring him back if he doesn't get better and we'll run some more tests, that'll be 125.00 bucks."
If dog allergy tests cost anything like human tests it's highly unlikely I'll be able to afford them. So finding stuff about diets and such is very useful to me. The post Strana1 made about the lesions was interesting in regards to this thread. What if that had been a picture of a dog with bloat and someone said, "Get the dog to vet immediately." What if she thought, "Nah, I don't believe anything I read on the net."
 

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This is a great topic Gayle.

I think the phrases I use the most are. "In your shoes, I'd go to the vet"

and

"If this were my dog, I'd be taking my dog to a specialist."

It's great to bounce ideas off each other. I've been to some pretty pricey specialists and I've learned some things that are helpful to pass along, not to diagnose someone else's dog, but to say "what about this?" and "have you asked your vet about this?" And there are maladies that I knew nothing about when I got my GSD (SIBO anyone?) that knowing you made me more conversant when talking to my vet, discussing the diagnostic options, ruling out all the other stuff, honing in what helps and hurts for diet, etc.

I ignore suggestions that appear to be off the top of someone's head (the One Time at Band Camp ideas -- which has just become a cult classic phrase here!
). I tend to do extra research before I post if something "might" be helpful. I know what it's like to be the person pulling her hair out, and I want to help, but help in a truly constructive way.

I'm at my vet's office so frequently that Friday, one of the staffers came in and said "oh good, you're here. I saw your car in the parking lot, and I knew I could see the puppy."
You know you spend too much time at the vet's office when the staffers all know your car by sight!

So yes, this forum is wonderful. But it would never replace my vet.

That said, I will add, one other thing I have said a few more times than I wish is either "I'd bring my dog back in. Your vet might have missed something. Ask about running these (XXX) tests." Or even this: "wow, in your shoes, I think I'd be finding a new vet."
Not all vets are as wonderful, proactive, intelligent, fact-finding, willing to work with specialists, respectful, etc as mine. I do think this forum (this thread and other places on the forum) does provide a service when experienced dog owners can tell a less experienced dog owner that their vet perhaps is not meeting a minimum standard of care.

JMO.
 

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And, (too late to edit) I think that anyone who waits around for a forum to give advice in an emergency is just a fool. Emergency Clinics are open 24 hours a day; most give quick advice over the phone to get you started. Every dog owner should know where the two closest clinics are.

And they should have poison control number's posted by their phone. For their dog, their spouse and their kids. Poison control has animal databases as well as human's.

Logging on to the internet in a clear emergency is....well...I wouldn't do it. Not unless I was positive that Val, Gayle, Pupresq, Barb, AND Jean were online (and in this thread) all that the same time.

Hey, why don't I have all your cell phone numbers, anyhow???
 

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I find the internet to be a great source of information to form the questions I can ask my vet to increase my knowledge and discount some bogus information. That also applies to the information I get (or offer) on this forum. Repeating information from a respected source can also be misinterpreted as it is often taken out of context.

There is no doubt, for minor ailments, I seek information from the 'net but I read many sources (we had to upgrade our level of broadband probably due to my searches) and I have many veterinary medical texts to add to my available information.

The internet is only as good as the information provided and if the source is suspect or "iffy", I agree that it is foolish to rely on the internet other than just another source. Not all vets are informed and none are infallible either and asking questions from information gained from any source is always wise if the information provided seems suspect.
 

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Originally Posted By: Qyn
if the source is suspect or "iffy"
Yup. A lot of the info that's cited as fact is, in fact provided by people who sell a product. That's suspect information to me.

Quote:
Not all vets are informed and none are infallible either
I belong to another forum, not a dog-based forum, but simply one that has a pets thread. One of the mods is a DVM, and signs his name with that professional title after his posts. It is, I presume then, veterinary advice similar to what he would give in his office. So often, too often, the advice is what I (a simple layperson) would consider questionable. He once told another member that it's ok to run a 4-month old puppy (that would be about 70 lbs at adulthood) on a concrete bike trail (the owner would be on a bike), "but make sure you get the pup's pads toughed up first to avoid blisters." What? Another member (a GSD owner) and I jumped up and down and asked what about the pounding of the baby's body on that concrete? What about the fact that the owner would almost certainly be forcing the pup to go faster than his own pace? What about bones, joints, etc?

I was my usual outspoken self and said that under no circumstances would I EVER take my young pup on such an excursion once much less daily, as the owner planned to do. The other like-minded member asked very nicely, "Dr X, would you please address whether this could cause damage to the growing puppy?"

Dr. X didn't have any answers. He said something about going to a veterinary bulletin board regarding this issue
, and asked if anyone else on the forum taught agility and might have more insight.

OMG! This guy is the vet to a real community somewhere out there. AND he's on the internet giving advice as a vet. Much of his advice is simple traditional advice. Some, well, some...


The folks at Science Diet would be proud for starters....


Finally, Qyn brings up a good point

Quote:
Repeating information from a respected source can also be misinterpreted as it is often taken out of context.
That's why I like links, and I like to give links. I may have a bias that makes me think an article, including a scholarly article, says something it doesn't. (Or, it might just be late and my brain isn't working so well.) I want owners to read for themselves, AND be able to print it and bring it to their vets, who can read it themselves.

I like it when others give me links. It's not that I don't trust others' summaries of articles. I do appreciate them, a lot. A list of 17 links without any commentary is kind of overwhelming. Which says what? Are they all redundant, and just kind of support each other's theories? Is one far better than the other? (I presume a poster has read them all and can distill some of this info for me...? ) But I also like to look at the source documents when I have the time. So, thanks for posting links too!
 

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I am on the fence with this.

I do agree that if it's an emergency there is no substitute, get help right now, as in 5 minutes ago! However, if it is not an emergency or an ongoing issue, it can't hurt to research and ask for peoples' advice, as long as you run it by the vet before carrying it out.

For example, my old ferret had adrenal disease which most ferrets end up with as they get older, we had one gland removed surgically but it came back in the other one aggressively. Upon researching I read about melatonin being used as a treatment option...I ran it by the vet who had never heard of it but said it wouldn't hurt so she wrote a rx. My ferret went from being about 3 hairs shy of 100% bald (one of the main symptoms) to a thin but complete coat. Her health improved and she lived comfortably for quite a while with the treatment.

There have been a couple cases like that where I have actually brought something up that the vet had not even heard of; and I found out about them through the internet, often on boards like this.
 

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<span style='font-size: 14pt'> Excellent post, Gayle!!!! I have seen it so many times when someone is on a message board asking for advice when they should be in the car on the way to the vet. Especially when it comes to puppies. A sick puppy can go down hill VERY fast and time is wasted when the owner in on the internet asking people what to do. </span>
 

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Originally Posted By: BrennasMom

I do agree that if it's an emergency there is no substitute, get help right now, as in 5 minutes ago! However, if it is not an emergency or an ongoing issue, it can't hurt to research and ask for peoples' advice, as long as you run it by the vet before carrying it out.
I think those are the main points-at least what I am always thinking.

The people on this site are great at brainstorming. When Nina was really sick ideas were flying. I would write them out and take my list to the vet and would say...what about lupus (and that is one of my fear diseases I ask about if a dog farts sideways), what about...and it was very helpful.

One thing that concerns me are home care/home remedies that in their "homey-ness" imply no need to talk to a vet. Ah, just slap a little gooey ointment on, trap the germs there, don't let the wound breathe, and attract dirt-that should help! (can you tell my vets are not ointment people?)

Or med recommendations where you just hold your breath hoping the person is going to run it past the vet first. Val always does a great job of saying things so that you get the picture-the dosage or time may not be right-but that you need to talk to the vet about it.

What this also does is create that relationship that is so important with the vet staff so that you can talk to each other easily.

In the staph infection thread Skye'sMom suggested looking for the underlying cause-so another great thing you get here is not just bandaid or mask the problem, but look at why it is happening and try to prevent it from happening again. So there are things in threads that go beyond in such a good way.

Why give masking meds when you can give meds that address the issue? I think that is one great thing that you will find here-instead of NSAIDS as the only defense against arthritis, why not supplements, Adequan, chiropractic, etc. and then if needed go on pain/inflammation meds-so nice to think of things in that manner.

So there are good and then the times when people are biting their nails hoping the dog gets to a vet.

Also noticed some references to this thread and hope that people understand that we have seen puppies and dogs die when not vetted well enough, fast enough.

This section has been important to a lot of us, for a lot of dogs and it is good to see that people utilize it often and well.

PS-K9Mom-what if he just SAYS he is a vet
...like I always tell people...I was telling my boyfriend George Clooney the other night how people lie on the internets...
 
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