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Ask a Vet: Pet advice from all kinds of sources
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Bless your heart.

If you’re from the South, you know that sentiment is rarely only empathetic. It usually has a bit of judgmental sarcasm in it.

I run into it routinely in my job. Not as a spoken statement, but implied via behavior.

Surveys routinely report veterinarians as one of the most trusted job titles. But those surveys don’t report how much respect goes along with the job.

Take “Jimmy,” for example. He works at a local pet supply store and worked there for two weeks. He works after school and was trained in his job for several hours by another high school student.

Clients routinely have difficulty deciding if my advice or his is more applicable to their pet.

Yep. Jimmy and his close to 50 hours of experience. Me and my 10 years of college, three degrees and more than a decade of practice. Flip a coin, right?

Another instance was at a recent conference where a world-renowned cardiologist from human medicine remarked how astonished he was dogs and cats get so many diseases that humans get. The conference attendees were freshmen and sophomores from a veterinary school. They already knew this.

Yet many clients argue with their veterinarian when conflicting information is offered by an ignorant person in the human healthcare field. Not even doctors. I’ve had clients tell me they’re torn between my recommendation and the recommendation of the receptionist at their dentist’s office for cardiac care of their cat.

So take this advice or leave it.

Your veterinarian has medical training. It’s not a lesser training than human doctors receive. It’s actually superior, as your vet has to know what can and cannot affect the patient (pet) and owner (human). We often get questions that seem to be seeking confirmation of another source as opposed to information. When they conflict, we get doubt.

And that’s insulting.

For example, what is the No. 1 place humans get ringworm? Not pets. What is the most common source of food allergies in pets? Not grains. What is the safest over the counter pain control for pets? None are very safe.

But again, I’m just a veterinarian.

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

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