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We’ve all been there: It’s midnight, and your cat is acting strange. Then it vomits. You watch your pet, wondering if you need to bundle it into the carrier and incur a $100 emergency vet bill to be told your cat is probably fine, or that you should wait until the morning and take your chances on not giving your pet immediate attention.
Some conditions are clearly emergencies -- car accidents, breathing problems, intractable vomiting -- but other cases can be more subtle. Until the advent of the Internet, advice-seeking owners had to hope their regular veterinarian was on call, or trust their own judgment.
The Internet is a wonderful repository of information, but like all things, there are great sources of information and not-so-great sources. I have seen well-meaning strangers give advice that ranges from just incorrect to flat out dangerous. It’s vital if you are going to seek the advice of someone on the Internet that it is someone who knows what they are talking about -- especially when it comes to your loved ones.
In recent years, veterinarians have stepped in to provide a quick, cost-effective place on the Internet for owners to have their questions answered and get solid advice no matter the time of the day. Here are two websites that I recommend, having had the fortune to meet and speak face-to-face with the veterinarians who run both sites:
VetLive.com: Drs. Jed and Laci Schaible, a married team of veterinarians, founded VetLive in response to the lack of reliable information for their clients on the Internet. They provide levels of service from quick questions to live chats and in-depth second opinions, all given by a team of licensed veterinarians, 24 hours a day. Prices start at $16.95 for an immediate answer.
AskAVetQuestion.com: Dr. Marie Haynes founded AskAVetQuestion.com out of a desire to help provide accurate information for the Internet population. She is the solo provider of answers. Prices range from $8 for a 12-24 hour turnaround to $15 for an immediate answer.
It’s nice to have reassurance when our pet’s health is at risk. It’s even nicer to have a safe and trusted place to go in order to find that reassurance so everyone can get back to the business of enjoying their healthy felines.
Dr. Jessica Vogelsang is a small-animal veterinarian from San Diego. When she's not at work or with her family of two and her four-legged creatures, you can find her blogging about life with pets at PawCurious.com. Dr. Vogelsang's blogs have previously appeared on The Daily Cat.