Ash Veterinary Clinic


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Dr. Google

As a veterinarian in a semi-rural part of the state, I see some pretty creative home remedies from clients. Some folks around here do not like to take their pets (or themselves) to the doctor unless it is something that causes them genuine alarm. Because of that mindset, some people tend to try to treat problems themselves. Here at Ash Veterinary Clinic, there are home treatments, remedies, and medications that we hear often which are not only untrue but can be dangerous to the pet.  Some start like this: “He’s been limping for about a month — I have been giving him a baby aspirin every day. It has been getting worse lately, though, so I thought I’d better have you check him out.” “She has a tummy ache! That pink stuff on her fur is Pepto Bismol. She still has not stopped vomiting.” “He has been really itchy so I have been giving him Benadryl, but it does not help. Do you have something stronger?”  All too often I spend more time explaining why some things won’t hurt, but don’t help, and some things are absolutely dangerous. 

With the explosion of instant internet availability, “Dr. Google” has given pet owners access to a litany of home remedies — some of which make your veterinarian shake their head, others which make them shudder. The problem with good old “Dr. Google” is that owners get advice without the benefit of a physical exam. It is not all bad information, but some of the problems with using unsourced information begin when pet owners believe they are treating constipation and their pets really have diarrhea. Or, when an animal has a topical parasite, like scabies or fleas, and the owner is giving an antihistamine for the itching. Home remedies are not going to be effective in these sorts of situations, and sometimes they can be quite harmful.

An important fact to consider is that individual animals may have disease processes that make otherwise benign medications harmful. If your arthritic old dog has poor kidney function and you are giving them aspirin for chronic pain, you can be doing much more harm than good. Aspirin can cause his kidneys to fail and small hemorrhages in the stomach and intestines. Aspirin is not particularly kind to the cartilage in the old fellow’s joints either. Cartilage provides a cushiony surface on the ends of bones, so it is pretty important to preserve it for as long as possible. Newer medications have emerged in the last couple of decades for both pets and people because they are safer.

                There are some easily obtained over-the-counter (OTC) drugs that are listed for treatment of diarrhea online. Unfortunately, “Dr. Google” has not examined your pet to try to discover the underlying cause of the diarrhea, so while these doses might be “okay,” they will not do a thing for a dog with intestinal parasites, bacterial infections or viruses like parvovirus. Even though you can find drug dosages posted all over the Internet, it is unethical and illegal to provide dosage amounts for an animal that has not been seen by a veterinarian. “Dr. Google” also does not give all the contraindications for a certain dose that a veterinarian would know.

                All in all, a combination of treatments involving natural healing, homeopathy and modern medicine can many times be effective so contact your veterinarian for a professional recommendation, with correct dosages for your pet and your pet’s condition.  If you have an ongoing, recent relationship with your doctor, they most likely will be able to give you accurate information and treatments.  Here, and around the United States, a doctor/client/patient relationship is only considered to be valid if the doctor has done a complete physical examination yearly.   Unfortunately, “Dr. Google” is never available for consultations for contraindications and side effects of the medications you found on line for your furry companions. “Dr. Google” does not care if you follow the advice and harm your pet because there is no recourse when the diagnosis is incorrect. Please do not take his word for anything! If you are tempted to treat your pet with a home remedy, please call Ash Veterinary Clinic in Carleton at 734-782-2827, visit us at or send an email to After all, if practicing veterinary medicine were that easy, there would be no need for veterinarians!

Dr. Toinette Strusinski-Broschay is the owner of Ash Veterinary Clinic in Carleton.

[4:06:25 PM] Dianne Raftopoulos: