Where do you turn for vet advice for dogs? Some people go straight to their regular vet; others look online or turn to friends who have had similar experiences. These have their limitations, either in expense or in how applicable it is for your dog.
For me, it’s all about the research. If Nala has a problem, I call the vet to ask if it warrants a visit, research it online before the visit so I know what questions to ask, then after the visit I come home and do more research on what the vet told me. When I do this research, one of the major questions is – how do I know these sources are reliable? The last thing I want to do is risk Nala’s health on bad advice or waste time at the vet with irrelevant questions.
That’s where Drs. Laci and Jed Schaible come in. They are veterinarians who run a website called VetLIVE.com where you can ask a vet
questions online 24/7. Their goal is to give pet owners affordable, convenient access to unbiased vet advice. “Much like a car-smart man gets a better experience oftentimes at the mechanic, if you are an educated owner, you most always will have a different and superior experience at your vet,” says Dr. Laci.
Dr. Laci and Dr. Jed, a married couple, are not the only vets who answer questions on their site. They have a long list of vets they’ve interviewed, done background checks on, and tested on their knowledge of veterinary issues. They seek out vets who share their philosophy of providing the best care for the pet without spending unnecessary amounts on high-priced medicine. Services start at just $15.95 for a basic question-and-answer with a vet.
The vets at VetLIVE.com have answered questions ranging from what is going on with a pet’s illness to second opinions after having seen a vet. “We also get a lot of questions when vets are closed and the emergency vet automatically says, ‘Come in and there is a $500 deposit to be seen,’" said Dr. Laci. “Most of the time, it really is something that can wait, but when we do tell people to get in their car and go now, I think it comforts them to know an unbiased vet has told them to go, and we have given them financial advice on what tests are reasonable and what diagnoses are most likely. It's reassurance and comforting for them.”
I went to them to ask about a problem Nala was having. She had gone to the vet (one we hadn’t seen before) for a sudden limp and after hundreds of dollars in blood tests and x-rays, got the diagnosis of elbow dysplasia and a joint mouse. I’d never heard of a joint mouse, so I went online and asked Dr. Laci about it. She thoroughly explained what a joint mouse is and what to do about it, and her agreement with the vet’s suggestions helped me feel more confident in the new vet we had seen. I can’t tell you how reassuring it was to talk to an unbiased vet about what Nala needed.
Since I often do research on Nala’s health online, I asked Dr. Laci what she thought about all the veterinary information that’s out there. “This is WONDERFUL for pet owners,” she said. “This is a good thing that a great vet will appreciate, not take as an insult.” But she offered a warning as well: “You just have to be careful of the source. Pet owners offering their advice or stories online really isn't the best place to turn to for expert advice. It is certainly good to share and swap stories, but it is far from gospel, and I have witnessed a lot of medical information get jumbled and extremely inaccurate this way.”
If you’re like me and want to check and double-check everything about your dog’s health, turning to an online vet like those at VetLIVE.com
is a great option. It’s an affordable way to get reassurance about a diagnosis or even prep for an upcoming vet visit. And if you’re looking for vet advice for dogs online, it’s good to know that you can trust the source.
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