By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Learning leads to preventive medicine
Placeholder Image

There is an epidemic in America. It is not ebola or measles, at least not yet.

No, we are faced with an epidemic of willful ignorance.

We live in a society benefited by amazing advances in science and culture. You can hold in your hand a device smaller than a sandwich that can show you a live video feed from space. You can receive medical treatments to supplement or even replace organs.

Your pets have benefited from these advancements. But some people have decided not to utilize these scientific advancements, yielding a detriment to the health of dogs.

When I was a little kid, parvo killed thousands of dogs, including one of my own. We now have a safe and effective vaccine that can come as close to full prevention as possible. Yet some people still don’t use it.

When I was in high school, thousands of dogs died from heartworm disease.

Heartworms occur when a mosquito bites a dog and transmits larval worms into it. The larval worms mature and live in the blood vessels between the heart and lungs. Cardiac and respiratory function is damaged. Eventually, death occurs, after a tortuous and painfully drawn out progression.

Now we can give a meat-flavored treat once a month to protect the dog. Yet some people don’t do it.

Some people want their children to witness the “beauty of life” by having their dog birth a litter. Then they scramble to give away the puppies, who may beget more unwanted dogs and continue the trend of unwanted pets being euthanized or neglected.

The beauty of life includes surgery and how it prevents such outcomes, as well as avoids diseases such as cancer. Yet some people don’t even consider it.

Yes, we live in a world where information is more available. The ancient Greeks knew the world was a sphere, and even worked out a close approximation on the size of our globe, as well as the size and distance of the moon. Imagine what that kind of dedication to learning could do for us now that we have the Internet?

Please learn something from someone other than a celebrity. And google something other than “twerking corgis,” but do google that.

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

Regional events