Message Number: YG3260 | New FHL Archives Search
From: Karen Purcell, DVM
Date: 2001-05-05 06:54:00 UTC
Subject: Re: Letter from a dismayed vet

Rob and other interested parties,

> I think irritated DVMs will be an ongoing problem for you and the other
> vets on this list. Two vets have actually rolled their eyes at the
> suggestion that the internet can be a valuable source of information, and I
> tread pretty lightly (believe it or not). You've got to be careful not to
> walk on egos.
I have heard this from a number of clients. While I have had
clients hand me absolute bunk from the internet, I definitely use it
as a resource. This is considered an uncommon characteristic for a
vet by many of my clients, which saddens me.

> ok, hypothetical: you are my computer illiterate vet, and I return to your
> office (or call back) with printed websites and suggestions from online
> vets like those on the FHL. How would you want to be presented with such,
> and how would you *not* want to be presented with such. iow, how do we as
> clients best engage in neutral diagnostic discussion without becoming
> confrontational? What are the dos and donts? There are plenty of tips on
> how a good ferret vet should behave, but few on how a good ferret-owning
> client should behave. Why don't the *vets* speak up for a change?
Okay - don't call me on the phone, screaming that I'm trying to
kill your ferret by using western medicine, when I should be using
XYZ herbal/homeopathic remedy for ABC problem.
Don't complain to me because I won't give you a prescription for a
problem you've had diagnosed over the internet, when I haven't seen
your ferret for this particular problem (I get this one at least 2-3
times per week from pet owners, ferret owners are actually less
likely to do this).
Tact is a good thing. I personally don't have alot, so I try to be
sensitive with others that have this problem. However, screaming
epithets, verbal abuse and an unwillingness to listen are a problem,
and not helpful to any solutions.
The majority of my clients present me with additional information
from the internet in a matter of fact manner - "Here, doc, what do
you think of this?" I've had clients drop off handouts for my review
a few days before an appointment, so I have time to absorb the info
before discussing it at the appointment. This is a great way to
introduce the concept, ask first. Some vets are not open to this,
but may be more willing if approached privately (not in the waiting
room) or by phone.
I have learned a tremendous amount from the internet, information
that I did not have time to find, brought to me by helpful clients.
I've also debunked a number of internet rumors (Febreze in
particular) for my clients. But, I've been at odds with other vets,
particularly at academic institutions, that will not work with me
because I use the Internet, am in private practice, or do not have
enough letters after my name. Tact and patience are a must in any
consultation situation, no matter how it is initiated.
Hope this answers your question, at least from my perspective. I
look forward to hearing other vets views on this.

Karen Purcell DVM
Author of Essentials of Ferrets: A Guide for Practitioners
Uxbridge, MA