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Ask A Vet: Sigh ... Johnny Depp is dead. Again.
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I had a friend share the story with me on Facebook with a link to the webpage reporting the news. But upon further investigation, he isn’t dead. My son, the little pirate that he is, is very relieved.

But you can find news Depp has died all of the time. He has died at least a half dozen times in the past decade. And way back in the 1980s, he was even killed once by Freddy Krueger.

Such is the Internet. It’s full of news. That is an accurate statement.

Full of reliable news? Well, it depends on where you look. And maybe not even then.

Probably once every other day, I receive a phone call from an owner who has concerns about his pet after reading something on the Internet.

Sometimes it’s just the bit of education needed to convince the owner their cat does need to be on heartworm prevention, which is nice for me, the owner and especially the cat. But other times, it’s the owner who just learned their dog got diabetes from the chlorine in tap water, which is false.

And once the information is read and dedicated to memory, the idea is hard to dislodge. It is especially hard when Internet accounts are based on unverified information rather than science.

Medicine is based on science. Anything not based on science is not medicine. There is not eastern or western medicine. There is medicine and nonmedicine pretending to be medicine.

Science is ruthless. It will never tell you what to believe. It will only tell you what to doubt, which is the way science works.

If an idea has been tested hundreds, thousands and millions of time and still works, it becomes accepted as scientifically plausible.

But the truth is, science will not give you facts. It will show you falsehoods. Even if you’ve believed them for centuries, science will discard them if they prove to be false.

As my livelihood is cemented in science, I must say I have never seen verifiable, repeatable evidence of chlorine causing diabetes in animals. Now, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle, that’s a different story.

Therefore, to all readers who surf the Web, please use the Internet to educate yourself. But doubt what you read.

After all, Captain Jack is alive and well!

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