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Drug scares – how do I know what is true?

We live in a social world - one philosopher once called humanity “the ape that talks”, and we’re constantly talking, discussing, arguing, and sharing ideas and opinions. In general, I think this is great - communication has the capacity to widen our scope, to let us understand each other and the world. However, like every scientific and technical invention, modern communications (and especially social media and the internet) have their dark side. Beyond the cosy family chat, or judicious and informed news website, There be Dragons. I hope to look at data issues in veterinary practice in a later blog, but today I plan to do battle with just one of those dragons - Rumour. Specifically, the wide range of drug safety rumours that do the rounds on social media.
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Microchipping Law – is it working?

It is now two years since the “Microchip Law” - actually, The Microchipping of Dogs (England) Regulations 2015 - came into force. The aim was definitely laudable:   “Not only will this mean the UK’s 8.5 million dogs can be returned to their owners more quickly if they wander too far from home, but it will also make it easier to track down the owners of dogs that carry out attacks on people.”

DEFRA, 6th April 2016

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Homoeopathy is less likely to kill animals than refusing to take a pet to the vet

A social media war is raging in the veterinary world

An unnecessary war is raging between non-believing and believing members of the veterinary profession. No, I am not talking about religion, but the beliefs I’m talking about are held as passionately as if this was a fundamentalist versus atheist war. The topic is homoeopathy, and the latest battle in the war has been prompted by an infographic written by a vet that’s being widely shared on social media, provocatively titled “Homoeopathy Does No Harm: Really?”. This lists a number of anecdotal incidents where animals have allegedly died when homoeopathy was used in the place of conventional veterinary medicine.

Medicine Safety… A real issue for us as well as pets!

Licensed veterinary medicines are, generally, fairly safe. Before receiving a license and being marketed, they must be very thoroughly assessed for effectiveness and safety by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate in the UK, or their equivalent organisations elsewhere in the EU. While it is true that adverse reactions and side effects may occur, if used appropriately the balance of risk to benefit is very much in the patient’s favour. This, though, is something I’m hoping to come back to in a future blog… For today, I want to look at the other side of the coin - the potential risk to both animal and human health from accidental misuse of veterinary products.
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