Avoid common misconceptions

Published 3:59 pm Monday, July 11, 2011

By DR. FRED SELF / Veterinarian

This week I would like to discuss several misconceptions.

It is common for pet owners trying to do the best for their furry friends to at some point make a decision based on a misunderstanding.

This misunderstanding can be due to product labeling, word-of-mouth inconsistencies or unreliable Internet and television sources. The most recent misconception we have run across has to do with flea and tick products. Some of the current labeling for the latest products contain words like “repels” followed by a list of insects.

The problem is that the actual repelling is not related to all the members of the list. As a result, when one of these products is used and fleas and ticks are still seen on the pet, the owner believes the product has failed.

In fact, the product is likely working well.

Because fleas and ticks make a living by staying hidden, their being easily seen likely means they are in the process of dying.

That, in turn, means the product is working. Sometimes word-of-mouth remedies are not as effective as believed. For instance, the owners who covered their dog in creosote may have gotten rid of fleas, but they also had a very uncomfortable dog.

Most of the commercials we see and Internet sites we visit contain information that is poorly controlled. In other words, if I wanted to make a website or commercial and tell the world that the moon was made of applesauce, I could.

And no one would be in charge of stopping or correcting me.

From the freedom of speech standpoint, that is great. However, from the point of view of knowing what is best for our pets, this can be bad.

Currently, multiple online pharmacies claim to carry veterinary products that are the same as those you get from your veterinarian and that carry the same guarantees.

This is false. The veterinary products sold by online pharmacies are, in most cases, not purchased from the product’s makers.

They are bootlegged products. The manufacturer does not maintain its guarantees and will not even guarantee the safety of the product.

Before making decisions regarding new products or procedures for your pets, contact your veterinarian.

Most veterinarians are like me and plan to be in practice for years to come and want to make sure you get the most accurate information available.

Dr. Fred Self is a veterinarian at Shelbiana Animal Clinic, along with Dr. Charles Thornburg. You can reach him at 669-7717.