Your 24/7 Free Vet Service
His blog post totally hit home with me! I know exactly where he is coming from. I often get emails or texts from friends, fellow competitors, k9 performance students or people I've met once at a seminar who would like my medical opinion regarding whatever issue their dog might be having. I like helping out when I have the time and I might even learn something in the process.
Right now during my holiday, when I have a lot of free time on my hands, I don't mind helping out. Although my final diploma is almost in my reach, I do not posses the knowledge of an experienced professional! When somebody asks me a question I often have to look it up, search databases and read several chapters in those big heavy books of mine. This takes time, as I never give an advice without having the evidence to backup my statement.
Believe it or not but you can't Google everything - and don't believe everything you read/see on the internet. It is advisable to posses a just teeny hint of source criticism when browsing the internet.
That being said the profession I have chosen does have a down side. People tend to believe that it is my obligation to help. Therefore I have been called on the speakers several times at competitions to help out injured dogs. First of all I am not authorized yet! Second of all after receiving my diploma I do not sign a paper or take an oath that in any way obligates me to help no matter what. We don't have a Hippocratic oath for vets. The Danish law on the other dictates that I am to minimize an animal's pain and suffering in any case.
Please remember that I am at the competition as a competitor spending my free time with my own dogs. Paying just as much for the entry fee as the rest of you. I am not on call. Of course I will help out in case of an emergency, but please consider the severity of the case before calling me. It does take a lot of my focus away from the task ahead if I'm being called while on the start line.
Although my everyday life is pretty hectic and sometimes a bit overwhelming, I always send a reply back when someone seeks my help. It might be that I don't have the time or the knowledge to give a qualified answer and I suggest they schedule an appointment at the vet's. Please respect this as I might want to spend an hour or so in the company of Tim and my dogs, before It's time to go to bed, instead of in front of the computer.
Also I won't be able to give you a diagnosis based on the symptoms YOU are observing. Since it's your dog and you are emotionally attached to that particular dog, your objectivity is often somewhat none existing.
Let's say your dog is limping after practice (I get a lot of those questions!) and you ask me 'what could it be?'. I can list many many many differential diagnoses to limping! We would have to narrow down the options by performing a clinical examination of the dog and then rule in or rule out differential diagnoses and then probably get some further tests done. When you email me I am relying on the information you are giving me is correct. I can't see the dog nor touch it in order to confirm and locate the problem. There's more to a diagnosis than what the owner observes. That's why my answer always ends with 'but you should have your vet look at it'.
Answering back in a harsh tone or de-friending me on facebook is totally unnecessary and inappropriate but sometimes the reality when I don't hand out free medical tips. For the most part, of course, people answer back politely. I don't mean to be rude when I don't give you the answer you are seeking, I simply don't have the time to come up with a qualified one.
A simple thank you is enough to keep me satisfied and ready to help out. Don't let this blog post stop you from contacting me - that's not the point. I am simply asking you to respect that I am spending my free time to help you.
Thank you :o)
And thank you Steve for your awesome blog posts, googility, running Action Blog Day and all the other things you do!