It’s around 9 o’clock in the pm and I’ve just sat down to catch the prime time news. Just before the well poised news anchor can say her name, I receive a text message on whatsapp.
“Who could that be?” I ask myself trying hard to ignore it, but curiosity gets the better part of me and I procede to view the message.
“Hi doc!” the text reads, before I can reply a second message pops up
“I got your number from a pal, am Kaye”
“My cat is unwell”
So far it’s a one sided conversation with Kaye still typing. She goes on to tell me how her cat has been sleeping a lot lately and she is worried about it. She even goes ahead to send me images of a skin condition that she suspects could be the reason her cat is sleeping alot.
“So how can I help you? ” I finally text back.
“well I was hoping you could tell me what is wrong with my cat!”
Based on her vague description of the signs and poor images, I ask her to bring her cat in for a full examination. She hesitates for a few hours into the next day before she responds to my text.
Now, is it possible for me to prescibe a drug to treat something that I have not confirmed? Ofcourse it’s not. But unfortunately that’s exactly what most veterinarians go through. Half baked consultations over the phone with clients hesitant to take their pets for a full clinical examination.
The veterinarian is not a miracle worker, remember that your pet does not talk to you and so whatever you are reporting is based on your intuition as well as your observation, which can be important in guiding the diagnosis but without a full examination the diagnosis is only tentative.
It’s not an entirely bad thing that clients are embracing technology to reach out to veterinarians because in case of emergency situations technology can come in handy to save the lives of their pets. However, just like medical doctors are advising against using google to diagnose yourself, veterinarians are also advising you not to diagnose your pet using google. Your pet wouldn’t be happy if he/she found out about it.
Don’t be a know it all, don’t be like Kaye, seek professional medical help.