Veterinary Myths

Aug 08, 2016

Like so many other topics, there seems to be a tremendous amount of bad veterinary advice on the internet and social media. Faulty home remedies, ‘old wives’ tales’ and well-meaning but often uneducated peoples’ opinions can make it difficult to know what is best for your pet. Even when I start to feel like I’ve heard it all, someone comes up with something new!Let’s dispel some myths about veterinary medicine that you may be familiar with:

1) You don’t need to buy expensive flea prevention- just use diatomaceous earth! MYTH: If diatomaceous earth worked, trust me, we would all use it. It just plainly doesn’t work- but it will trap you into a false sense of security!

2) If medication works for you, it will work for your pet too. FALSE: While some human medications are used for animals, there are some that will cause great harm. Pain medication is the most often misused type of human medication and can be deadly so best to ask a veterinary professional before use.

3) My cat is indoors only so she doesn’t need to be seen for exams or any vaccinations. FALSE: Rabies vaccine is required by law and rabies is most often transmitted to cats by bats which can come into your house. Also, the vast majority of illnesses we find in cats are simply because they are cats- being indoors is not a protection from the majority of illness we see in cats- like dental disease, kidney disease, bladder stones, etc.

4) My dog/cat doesn’t need heartworm prevention because they don’t go outside. FALSE: Let’s face it....your dog does go outside (albeit for maybe a brief time). I believe that some cats truly never go outside, but a study conducted by North Carolina State University found that 27 percent of the cats diagnosed with heartworm were inside-only cats. Mosquitoes (the carriers of heartworm) come in your house!

5) I don’t think my pet needs a microchip because they are always with me. MYTH: Microchips are designed for the time that your pet isn’t with you. It’s for those times that the cat slips out when the landlord comes over to fix your water heater, when your dog gets scared by fireworks and slips out of the leash or jumps the fence, when your child leaves the backdoor ajar, when there is a natural disaster! Without proper identification, 90% of lost pets will never make it back to their owners and microchipping is the only one time, absolutely permanent means of pet identification.

6) Coconut oil for everything! It’s like duct tape for your health! MYTH (probably): There’s not much research here. It probably won’t hurt (as long as you don’t feed it to your pet!) but it may not help either.

7) My breeder says... CAUTION: While it is very easy to believe everything a breeder is telling you because “they must know what they are doing because here they are selling me a $1500 maltischnauyorkiedoodle”, I have heard some of the worst advice from breeders to new owners over the years. This is not to say that may don’t know what they’re doing and some are making good recommendations, but the message here is that most breeders aren’t veterinarians and you should always ask your vet before blindly following possibly unsound advice.

8) You shouldn’t spay/neuter your dog because it is registered. FALSE: All kennel club registration means is that your dog is purebred and may have a pedigree. Unfortunately, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it has desirable bloodlines, is free from genetic defects, has a good temperament, etc. which is what you should select for should you desire to breed your animal. Also, there are thousands of pets that are euthanized in shelters every month due to pet overpopulation and improper breeding so best to not add to this dilemma in most situations.

9) I buy my pets food at a super exclusive, fancy place, so it’s obviously the best. MYTH: People are programmed to believe that the more expensive it is, the better it is. Unfortunately, that’s just not true. Interest in pet food has exploded in recent years due to mass marketing and everyone wants a piece of the pie. This has created a market for small niche brands that are producing premium cost pet food with little to no research, quality controls, clinical trials, veterinary nutritionists, etc. It is important to look for an AAFCO label on all your pet food and it is often better to buy from a larger, well established brand to ensure that you are getting what you pay for and that proper guidelines are being followed to ensure the health and safety of you and your pet.

The best advice that I could give you is: Don’t believe everything you read on the internet! We all know there are yahoos out there with lots of things to say...so let’s just agree to believe in science and we promise to help you sort out fact from fiction and to help you make the best informed decisions for your pet!

Dr. Stacy Logsdon