The best source on your pet’s well-being is your vet
By Dr. Beth Engelbert, DVM
Wildwood Animal Hospital and Clinic LLC
The internet can be a wealth of information regarding almost any subject imaginable. However, the correct information is hidden amongst truth, half truths, opinions, and outright lies. When it comes to pets and their care, your veterinarian is the best resource to decoding the internet.
One of the categories pet owners research most is pet foods. Rumors of recalls due to poor ingredients, contamination, or disease can run rampant. All pet foods and treats are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration to ensure they are as safe as possible. The FDA also issues recalls as necessary if there is a problem, such as Salmonella contamination. A link to the list of recalls is available at fda.gov by selecting the Animal & Veterinary tab.
Local and national veterinary organizations also alert veterinarians to recalls. A call to your veterinarian can help relieve concerns with your pet’s food.
People frequently search symptoms their pets may be exhibiting. Pet owners are then bombarded with too much information and “worst case scenarios.” To properly diagnose a problem with a pet, a complete physical exam is needed. The physical exam findings will then either reveal the problem or point your veterinarian in the direction of further testing to gather more information.
For example, a pet that does not want to eat could have a bad tooth, renal disease, pain, infection, anxiety, cancer, and the list continues. An exam would identify a loose and infected tooth, weight changes, or painful areas. Yearly examinations — or every six months in older pets — can result in subtle changes being identified much faster, allow earlier treatment and management, and lead to a longer, high quality life for your pet.
Information on treatments, including dosing on certain medications, can be found online as well. These sites are often inaccurate. Never give pets a medication, especially one made for humans, without consulting with your veterinarian. Your veterinarian is equipped to determine if a medication is safe with your pet’s health status or if there will be interactions with any current medications or conditions. Any recommendations for medications are considered prescribing and can only legally be done by a licensed veterinarian.
Veterinarians have had years of intense training to learn the details of pet illnesses. Continuing education keeps veterinarians current on new products, procedures, and policies. It is, however, impossible for every veterinarian to learn about everything, so sometimes a referral to a special interest veterinarian is recommended.
As with most things, communication is key. Ask questions — there are no dumb ones — and discuss your expectations with your veterinarian, not the internet. You will be happier, and your pet will thank you.
Wildwood Animal Hospital and Clinic LLC is located at 210 Airpark Road in Marshfield and online at wildwoodanimalhospital.net.