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Ask a Vet: Consider source of medical information
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If you read my column regularly, you’ll know how often I stress the importance of making sure you find experts to trust on matters of science and medicine.

The specialized training required for certain fields makes it almost impossible for anyone to become more than passingly familiar with them.

For example, I can throw a baseball with some curve on it. But John Smoltz is a much more reliable source for how to do it. Neil deGrasse Tyson is a better source for why it happens with regards to the physics of air resistance and friction.

Still, the experts have to know their field and have to be aware of when they are overstepping and moving into territory for which they are not trained.

Allow me to elaborate. I haven’t palpated a cow to determine pregnancy in years. If someone with reliable training and more recent experience were available, I’d recommend them over myself.

Unfortunately, not all experts stick to their field and experience. And not all seem to appreciate the value of other specialists.

Doctors for humans are crucial to your health, and many work in a specialized field. If you need a bypass to treat clogged arteries in your heart, you would not use a dermatologist. If you wanted a diet to help you lose weight and maintain health, you would not use a cardiologist who sells voodoo supplements via his own talk show.

And if you have a pharmacology question regarding your pet, ask your veterinarian. If she doesn’t know the answer, she can ask a veterinary pharmacologist.

General pharmacologists are trained heavily in human physiology and the effects of drugs on various parts of the human body. But not always so for a pet’s body.

For example, I sometimes prescribe prednisolone for cats. Recently, I had an owner call to berate me because her pharmacist told her she could use prednisone for the same thing, but at a fraction of the cost.

Prednisone is converted to prednisolone in the body in humans and dogs, but not in cats. Cats have to take the preconverted form. Apparently that pharmacist didn’t know that.

Therefore, please consider the source of any medical recommendation.

Matthew Sisk is a practicing veterinarian from Habersham County. Have questions about your pet? He can be reached at mattsisk2003@yahoo.com.

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