I know, a bit ironic that I am using social media to discuss social media. However, I read things every day that drive me nuts – especially on Facebook. Not to pick on FB but it the main social media that I look at daily.
I see posts like this: Dear FB friends, My 28 year old Quarter Horse gelding Chubby has not eaten for five days. Do you think I should call the vet? Or do you have suggestions?
The suggestions pour in covering everything from Miracle Herb A to hanging chicken feathers outside his stall on the north wall – preferably white feathers from a young rooster. While you might think those suggestions are a bit off the wall, I see similar ones daily. Meanwhile, only a few brave souls suggest “perhaps it is time to call the vet.”
The reasons given for not calling the vet include such things as “too expensive,” though the person runs out to buy Miracle Herb A which is $40 an ounce, or their work schedule is too crazy to consider setting up an appointment yet once again they can drive 50 miles one way to buy Miracle Herb A.
Meanwhile Chubby is still not eating. By the time the person breaks down and actually does call a vet, the horse is often too far-gone to save. Perhaps the problem wasn’t one that could have been successfully treated anyway. Still, by delaying appropriate diagnosis and care, the horse’s chances for a resolution go down. The vet is defamed for not saving the horse and the FB authorities all shake their heads saying things like “Well, the vet blew that case.” It is quickly forgotten that Miracle Herb A didn’t work and even the chicken feathers brought Chubby no relief and no appetite.
The other situation is when the vet gives some changes in care for a horse – maybe a different wormer in the rotation. Immediately, a zillion FB friends have reasons why that change isn’t necessary or that change will cause the immediate demise of your horse. Instead of asking their vet more questions if they feel uncomfortable with a change, people follow the advice of well meaning but often not well-educated friends. Remember what your mother said, “Free advice is worth what you paid for it.”
So next time your horse has a problem, consider whether you should ask the advice of friends who might love horses dearly but have never even actually owned one or maybe call your veterinarian who has spent years training to be able to help care for ill or injured equines.