The dog's blog no. 16 Grrrrrr... Online forums

  Moscow ( Veterinary     Prescriber   's   rescue hound) has actually found his own voice and gives a peculiarly dog's eye perspective of on all things veterinary. This month: Grrrrr... online forums

Hasn't it been hot lately? I've been lying in the shade all day. I'm a big dog and I hide from the heat (that's what my furbrother keeps singing to me, something to do with a Screaming Trees song). I've had to go out for my walks early in the morning and late in the evening. Last night when I came back from my walk, I went to my fursister for a cuddle and a brush as usual. But I could tell she wasn't very happy. I know when she's not happy. It was something to do with forums. I've noticed that hoomans like to talk to each other when they've got a problem or a question or have a rant. This time it was online forums that made my fursister have a rant. 

Vets and vet nurses use online forums in all sorts of ways - to discuss politics (veterinary and general), share practical information, ask for help with tricky or unfamiliar cases, let of steam. share anxieties, and so on. Forums can be helpful and supportive, and occasionally intolerant and mildly abusive. They are also used a lot to get answers to questions about medicines - about availability, treatment choice, dosage, administration, adverse effects, drug interactions, about prescribing outside the terms of the licence (off-label) and under the cascade, and about dispensing. 

What these hoomans get in response to their questions is a lot of opinion and anecdote, and the occasional reference source. Sometimes they all seem to agree with each other. But following what most hoomans think and do isn't always the best thing. And how can they make sense of lots of different answers? What they get must depend on who can be bothered or has the time to reply, who writes the most or argues most strongly. Many of the same questions come up again and again. It must all take up a lot of hoomans' time and they might not even get the right answer.

My firsister says vets and vet nurses are not to blame. It might have something to do with not having enough of the right sort of information to hand. There are some excellent resources, but there are limits to how much they can help with day-to-day prescribing dilemmas, like treatment choice, what to do when you have to prescribe off-label. and the rules about dispensing. It's not fair that solving problems is made difficult through a lack of information. Even basic facts, like which Lepto vaccines are identical, are not readily available, and they should be.

I so wish I could help, but I can only bark. If I could, I would tell all the vets about Veterinary Prescriber because it answers a lot of their questions about medicines, by going to great lengths to gather all the relevant info, and checking how reliable it is, to give the best answers. It would save them a lot of time.  What? There's knocking at the door!!!. Woof woof. Must go see.... 

 
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