Why The Internet Isn’t The Answer If Your Pet Is Sick

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I understand that people want to help their pet when they are sick or injured. And I know they may not want to take their pet to the veterinarian or to the emergency hospital. The curiosity to search online for a cause of your pet’s illness and maybe a treatment is noble. But the Internet is neither a licensed veterinarian, nor is it always 100% accurate.

Just last week, a pet owner searched online looking for a treatment for what she thought her dog had–tick paralysis. She read that giving an adult aspirin to her 15lbs dog was a good idea and she did. The aspirin did not work and the dog started to vomit. She brought the dog to the ER veterinarian. Now, we have tick paralysis and NSAID aspirin toxicity because the dose of the aspirin was too high and can burn out the kidneys and create a bleeding disorder and gastric ulcers. Because of the asprin, the veterinarian was not able to use an injectable steroid. For many veterinarians (controversial idea), that’s the treatment of choice, along with other medications, for tick paralysis. That means that NSAIDS (aspirin, Tylenol, carprofen, etc.) cannot be used with steroids. So her pet lived, got through the tick paralysis (which is usually a 24 hour process), but she had to pay for three days of care in addition because of the renal toxicity from the NSAID. I think she learned her lesson.

If your pet is sick, call your veterinary office and ask for advice. If they say, bring your pet in or go to an emergency hospital, do so. Sometimes spending time on the internet is time that your doctor needs to care for your pet.

Here’s another example. A man’s two-year-old Labrador is seizing nonstop. This is an emergency and the dog needs to be seen as soon as possible if it has any chance to live. Instead, he spent, according to him, one hour searching online to see what to do while the dog is still seizing. He finally calls the hospital. They say come in immediately. He drives drives to hospital. The dog arrives with a 109-degree temperature and is still seizing. The ER did all that was clinically possible to save this young dog. The unfortunate result? The dog passed away one hour after they arrived.

Don’t let this happen to you. Call your veterinarian or your ER veterinary hospital if you suspect an emergency. It may save your pet’s life.

Dr. Manda is a full-time emergency veterinarian, former veterinary hospital owner, pet food executive, and successful entrepreneur. He consults to the pet food, animal health, and veterinary marketplace both nationally and internationally. At home he has 3 cats who request all of his free time.

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