Knowledge is power. As one of the wisest creatures on earth, a cat, you can be sure I understand this. Google has a lot of knowledge and, therefore, a lot of power. Where is this headed, you ask? To Dr. Google, of course. Now I enjoy some time on the internet. I Googled best cat toy and this really great fuzzy, dead rat looking, toy showed up. It really is a great toy. When I was briefly diabetic, I Googled tips for getting my blood sugar down without insulin. I got a lot of great information. The office also got a lot of tips and tricks for how to give me shots. I appreciated that (trust me, I appreciated a good shot administration technique). Dr. Lacher even Googled diabetes in cats to get some more information. Dr. Lacher isn’t so up on her cat diabetes treatment regimes. That’s my cross to bear as the cat in the equine hospital. What we don’t do is take information from the Google and apply is all willy nilly without consulting with my actual cat doctor. And that is the power of Google.
So how do you use Dr. Google wisely? Really think about what your concern is. Let’s say your horse is suddenly sore on a leg. Googling “horse sore leg” is a sure way to get too broad a result. Add some time and severity descriptors. Try Googling “horse suddenly very lame one leg.” No matter what you Google in this manner, the first results will be forums of some sort. As a wise cat I am going to give you some free advice: Don’t go there. I will tell you later when you can go there, but until you have an answer from one of the Docs, JUST. DON’T. GO. THERE. Sometimes you humans can be dense, so hopefully, I conveyed that point well enough. At this point in a search you want facts not wild ideas from people who shouldn’t be banned from idea coming up with activities. Look for sources like The Horse Magazine, Veterinary Clinic websites, and well recognized professional sites. These sources will give you quality answers and may lead you to more questions. This is what the internet was made for: giving you humans access to information. It was actually made so that I could order that cat treat I love so much that is hard to find locally but this is also a good use.
Now you have Googled and found some information. Use that information to evaluate your horse and your circumstances. The internet is really good at putting information out there, now apply it to you. Continuing our example of a very lame horse, it is unlikely that an attack by a vampire bat is a likely cause in Gainesville, Florida. This means you can start crossing things off the list of possibilities. You can also examine your horse and decide if the leg is swollen or tender anywhere, push and poke things, and think about what you guys have been doing the past few days. Armed with this information you can give our Docs a better idea about why your horse’s problem before they arrive. I promise you, they are not upset by this use of the Google.
A consultation with our Docs has determined that they do need to see your horse to better determine why the leg is really sore. After a thorough examination, they will give you a diagnosis of the problem. NOW you may Google the problem and click on those chat forums. BUT do it with a purpose. The internet is full of tips and tricks for caring for horses with problems. Our Docs have picked up numerous time and sanity savers over their years of experience. Evaluate these ideas and see if it is something you can apply to your situation. The Google will have reports of diagnostic tests and therapies that others have tried. Again critically evaluate these tests and treatments. Ask the Docs about them. They are more than willing to discuss what you found. What they don’t want is for you to have doubts and questions about your horse’s care that go unanswered!
Remember Dr. Google sorts results by popularity not rightness quotient. If you are a wise cat, trust the team at Springhill Equine to come up with the best, right answer for your horse.
Check out this link I found, it’ll be stuck in my head until next week! This is what happens when humans don’t have enough cat supervision.