dr google


As veterinarians we find that more and more of our clients refer to the powers of the internet and its vast expanse of data, to find out about medicines, understand diseases and even sometimes get diagnoses for their pets. But as the old saying goes ‘don’t believe everything you read.’ The internet can be a dangerous place of misinformation, so this month we are going to quickly look at Dr Google and explain why you still need your vet!

Why search the net?

  • Many clients search for information purely because they feel they need a better understanding of their pet’s condition. Time in the consulting room with your pet can be stressful and overwhelming. Not everything your vet tells you is going to sink in, so what could be easier than searching the net for information in the comfort of your own home.
  •       Your pet will often get sick at the worst possible time for you financially. Many people look to the net in a desperate search  for answers, home remedies and diagnosis’.  This is possibly the worst time to take ‘advice’   from Dr Google. “If you can’t afford a vet, you can’t afford a pet” (1)  Not seeking professional veterinary help when your pet is ill can not only lead to irreversible  consequences for your pet’s health but end up costing you far more financially.
  •       Every patient responds differently to treatment even for the simplest problems. Quite often medications will need to be changed or perhaps it just seems to be taking ages for your pet to respond to the treatment.  Dr Google can appear to be a cheap way to get a second opinion if a client is frustrated and feels they need to find out more information.

                                                                                      It’s a minefield out there!

So where do you search?

The biggest problem with searching for any information on the internet is that anyone can give their advice, regardless of their qualifications or experience in the field or lack thereof ! So the main problem the pet owner faces is how to determine whether the source they have found is valid and the advice given is good or bad.

We all know that there are so hundreds of contradicting opinions out there:

eggs are good for you; no they are bad etc !

Try to avoid:

Vendetta websites – There are people who use the internet to vent their issues, they may have had a bad experience with a vet, a drug or pet food and are happy to wax lyrical about the evils of the person, company, producer. These sites generally do not have your pets welfare at heart and are best avoided.

Miracle cures for sale! – any site that claims to have the cure for pets deadly disease

Buying non veterinary sanctioned medicines – When your veterinarian prescribes medication for your pet they do so with a comprehensive the knowledge of the product that will have been registered for safe use in animals.

All pet diseases are not created equal! – try to be discerning   with the information you read. Just because your pet is suffering from a disease that someone has written extensively about does not mean that your pet will react, respond in the same way to the same treatment.

The good news!

AAHA – the American Animal Hospital Association is a great place to start looking for information. Many veterinary practices have their own websites which contain a comprehensive library of articles that can be accessed by the client, covering many of the common topics from kidney failure to feeding your new kitten. Below are a couple of links with excellent information designed specifically for the client.

CALL YOUR VET! Your vet and his/her staff are your best source of information.

Or try these!
http: //www.aaha.org (pet health library)

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