Internet Diagnosis and Alternative Therapies
I love to utilize the internet as a tool. You can basically find ANYTHING on the internet! And, that is part of the problem. I think sometimes the internet is overused and abused when it comes to diagnosing ourselves and our pets.
The problem increases with our animals because we cannot as readily see the side effects and the damage that these diagnosis and holistic or alternative therapies may be causing.
For example, if I decide to take Goat Weed to treat my ear infection and I get severe anxiety, muscle tension and confusion I can stop taking it because I recognize something within my body is not right. But if I give my dog the same medication or something similar I might not see any visual side effects, and it could be doing irreparable damage.
Alternative therapies are defined as such because they are not scientifically tested or they have been disproved by other studies. Some of these methods can actually prove harmful.
Much of our modern knowledge and therapies have come from alternative therapies. The development of aspirin, digitalis, and ephedrine all came from this ancient experimentation and lore.
If it is Natural It has to be Safe
We tend to think of toxins as coming from industrialized chemicals but plants were the original toxins. Sassafras makes a delicious tea and was a recommended tonic for many years for multiple ailments. However, sassafras has been linked to liver cancer. There is no way to know this by looking at the plant, drinking it or even seeing what happens to someone who drinks it. Only scientific studies have shown the dangers of sassafras.
Some herbs and alternative therapies may be completely safe, but some may have harmful if not deadly consequences.
How, Then, Do We Try and Give Our Pets the Best of Both Worlds?
- Go ahead and do some research on the internet, but only search proven websites. When I am looking for health information I do not click on any site that is not written or moderated by a licensed veterinarian.
- Get familiar with good veterinary medicine websites
- AVMA American Veterinary Medical Association www.avma.org
- Veterinary Medicine www.veterinarymedicine.dvm360.com
- American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association www.ahvma.org
- Holistic Veterinary Medicine www.holisticvetpetcare.com
- Talk with your vet! That is what they are there for! Never add a medication or change anything about your pet’s care without contacting your vet.
- Get a second opinion, if you think there could be more options or if you are not happy with your vet. There are often times specialist that can help with all kinds of specific types of veterinary concerns.
- Find your nearest Veterinary College and make an appointment or get a referral. Often veterinary colleges have some of the leading doctors in veterinary medicine and all of the options that may be available. They may also be more informed on holistic options.
Another Crucial Thing to Remember
Dogs are not humans. Human medications: Tylenol, Cold Medicine and even Aspirin can be deadly for pets. Do not assume that because a medication helps you and is effective for you, that it will be effective or safe for your pet.
Even simple things like nutrition and changing the PH of your dog’s urine can be detrimental.
When we go on a high protein low carb diet, we can be sure and drink more water so that we don’t damage our liver or kidneys in the process, but your dog doesn’t know to do this. High protein diets can damage the kidneys of some dogs.
I worry about people diagnosing their own, or WORSE other people’s animals and doing damage or inadvertently denying their pet (or someone else’s) medical care.
Truth is, I bet if you look hard enough you could find that chiclets cure cancer, or cause cancer for that matter! Anyone can post anything on the internet, it certainly does not have to be true. And, just because you think chiclets cured your cancer doesn’t mean it will work for me or anyone else.
Be a smart consumer or reader, even if you are emotionally involved and want to believe the information that you find! Only search medically proven sites when searching for medical information.
Build a relationship and contact your vet when you have questions. They went to veterinary medical school and most of the time they know what they are talking about or can point you toward someone else who might!
Good luck and be smart!
I have been a professional dog trainer and pet sitter for over 20 years. I am a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, through the international Certification Counsel of Professional Dog Trainers. I have trained and worked with police, Schutzhund and personal protection dogs. I trained Assistance Dogs in a men’s prison and ran my own nonprofit organization to take adult dogs from shelters and to train them to assist children and adults with disabilities, at no charge to my clients. My nonprofit organization and I were nominated for several awards of merit and even made the front page of the Denver Post. I was a veterinary technician for many years, where I learned about all aspects of health and preventative medicine. I have trained and worked with exotic animals and cheetahs. I introduced a temperament testing program in my local shelter and sat on the board of directors. I volunteered with my dog “Mr. Snitch” and helped local children learn to read. I have attained obedience titles and several blue ribbons. I am constantly in search of ways to continue my education and excellence when it comes to animals, their behavior and their health.