Surfing the Web
The amount of information at our fingertips is both impressive and overwhelming with the advent of the world-wide-web. Unfortunately, most people are not taught how to sort through all of the available information, and may find themselves more confused than ever after reading through a few sites on a given topic. Anyone can make a website, and anyone can call themselves an “expert” in an effort to put their opinions in a format for the world to read. This can cause a fair amount of confusion, especially when trying to research medical conditions in our pets.
We have provided a few guidelines to follow when deciding what to read, and more importantly, what to believe, as you review the abundant amount of information available on any given topic.
- Look for sites that are associated with a University, Veterinary Clinic, or Referral Center. Avoid sites authored by other pet owners, kennel owners, “patient / pet care advocates”, or “expert committees” since these sites are usually based on opinion rather than medical facts.
- Look for sites that are authored by Doctors that have D.V.M. (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine) after their name. In general, a Doctor that has a PhD without a D.V.M. may know research, but often lacks the ability to apply the information to a real patient with a real owner in the real world!
- When reviewing the information, determine if the information presented by the DVM is based on current research. If the information is presented as a “survey” or “retrospective” study, the information is generally open to interpretation and not based on all available facts. The best research is “peer reviewed”, or based on “prospective” studies, or “double-blinded” clinical trials.
- Always question any research information provided by or sponsored by a company that has a vested interest in selling their product. If the company has thoroughly evaluated their product, they will cite research performed by a separate “independent” research institution (e.g. a University) that will confirm their claims.
- Always consider where the authoring DVM works when evaluating the information. A DVM at a Referral Center or University will be more likely to see the “worst-of-the-worst” cases, so they may discuss testing, treatment or outcomes that do not represent the “average” patient in everyday practices.
Once you are comfortable with the information you have found on the topic you are researching, it is helpful to print the articles and bring them in for further discussion. In some cases, you may uncover information that will help the Doctor provide the ultimate care for your pet!
Healthcare Links and Information
Emergency / Referral Clinics
- PAW Health Animal Network Animal Emergency – pawhealthnetwork.com
- Fox Valley Animal Referral Center – www.fvarc.com
- UW-Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital – www.vetmed.wisc.edu/home
- UM-Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital – www.cvm.umn.edu
- Edinger Surgical Options – edingersurgicaloptions.com
- Poison Control – www.apcc.aspca.org or aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control or petpoisonhelpline.com
Local Pet Care Supplies
Humane Societies/Animal Welfare
- Humane Society of Waupaca County – www.waupacahumane.org
- Portage County Humane Society – www.hspcwi.org
Veterinary Medical Information
Miscellaneous Veterinary Information & Supplies
- Home Again Microchips – www.homeagain.com
- Lucky Pet Pet Tags – www.luckypet.com
- Morris Animal Foundation – www.morrisanimalfoundation.org
- Wisdom Panel Breed Identification – www.wisdompanel.com
- Dog’s Best Friend Consulting – www.dogsbestfriendtraining.com
- Ideal Dog Training – http://www.idealdogtrainer.com
- Therapy Dog International of Central Wisconsin – www.tdi-dog.org