“Hey! How are you going? I just have a quick question regarding [insert pets name here].”
“Long time no speak. My dog hasn’t eaten in 6 days and has had vomiting and diarrhoea for 5 of those days. What should I do?”
“Hey, just a quick one but I really want to let my cat have kittens just once so she can experience motherhood, is 8 months too young to let her mate?”,
Please, if you have a friend you rarely chat to, a friend of a friend of a friend or an extremely distant acquaintance who is a vet/student/nurse/tech etc, it is really not okay to ask for free advice. It is actually disrespectful.
Most of us (including myself) are obliging and willing to help because that is the nature of our profession. Though I tell you, if you haven’t bothered to say hey prior to Mitten’s getting into a cat fight at 2am or if you haven’t cared to check in and see how life is going before Charlie started coughing 2 days ago, it is not okay to ask for that free advice.
You usually message us in the middle of a busy day or you message late at night when we are settling in, trying to unwind from a 15 hour hectic day of sick animals and devastated/angry clients. A Facebook message or text pops up from someone we haven’t spoken to in 5-10 years. I get it, you are desperate. Most want to know if they should take their pet to a vet or not. My honest answer is, if you are desperate enough to ask someone you rarely know or haven’t spoken to in a while if you should seek medical attention for your pet, then you more than likely need to. If you are unsure, it is best to call an emergency clinic and ask for advice.
Be mindful. Veterinary medicine already consumes our lives. It bombards us in all aspects of life. I will reply and help as much as I can without physically seeing your animal, but keep in mind that I am most likely replying to you when I am shoveling food into my mouth in the 2 minutes I have spare to eat during a shift or I am in the middle of spending some rare, free time with my loved ones. I will always advise to seek veterinary attention because if you are that concerned to message me, best bet is that your pet requires it.