A Georgia veterinarian’s recent experience illustrates the power of the Internet and social media in showcasing animal care and the veterinary profession to the general public.

On the evening of January 29, Dr. Andy Mathis, at Granite Hills Animal Care in Elberton, Georgia, received a call about an abandoned dog found on a country road. With the local shelter closed for the day, Mathis took the dog, a small, mixed-breed female, into the clinic. The dog was emaciated, anemic, hypothermic, and had a painful vaginal prolapse.

Realizing the dog needed specialized care, Mathis transferred her to the University of Georgia veterinary teaching hospital, where the staff named her Graycie Clare. The staff at the teaching hospital treated Graycie’s prolapse, rehydrated, dewormed and spayed her before returning her to the clinic several days later. Mathis also began documenting Graycie’s story on the clinic’s Facebook site.

Previously, Mathis had set up a Veterinary Charitable Care Fund through the American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF), which allows tax-deductible donations for good-Samaritan cases. He began documenting Graycie’s care on Facebook, and donations soon built to cover her veterinary bills.

While Graycies condition improved, she remained frightened, shy and reluctant to eat, and Mathis worked to acclimate her and help her regain her health. On February 13, Mathis posted a short video to the clinic’s Facebook site, in which he sits with Graycie in her cage, eating his breakfast cereal while encouraging Graycie to nibble her dog chow. Since then, the video has logged more than 5 million views.

Naturally, adoption offers have flooded in, and Mathis has arranged a good home for Graycie once she fully recovers.

While this story comes from the world of companion-animal medicine, it serves as an example of how large-animal veterinarians, and livestock producers, could use social media to show the public how they care for animals on a day-to-day basis.