August 4, 2015
Your pet is acting strangely. Should this worry you? Should you call your veterinarian? Hum… Well, you think, why not look on Google first? Then you enter the symptoms and click on search.
Now that the Internet is part of our daily lives, it has never been easier to get information. Plus there are many sites. In veterinary medicine, we use Internet a lot. It allows us to recommend the official sites of veterinary medical centres and universities so people can search, at their own pace, for information concerning various medical conditions and often see photos of those conditions. But there are millions of non-official sites. Some may provide useful information, but not always…
Clients will search the Internet for information concerning their pets because they are interested and eager to understand their behaviour or condition. But some people are putting too much faith in information found on the Internet. They believe in what’s written by people like them and become wary about their veterinarian’s recommendations.
The Internet must be used as a complement of information and to seek “demonstrations” of what your veterinarian has told you, not to verify if it’s true. If you are wary about your veterinarian’s recommendations, you can certainly ask for a second opinion, either at one of his/her colleagues or consult a veterinarian at another clinic.
The danger of the Internet is that you can find information that is incorrect or not accurate. It may harm your pet by delaying the diagnosis and the treatment that is needed. Many pets are diagnosed by owners that have consulted the Internet and then delay a visit to the vet. Some people even administer their own medication (for human use) without validating with their vet if this is safe and what are the doses required. It may be very harmful because it can conceal a deterioration of the pet’s health and even cause very severe adverse effects. Some medication for humans may cause a pet’s death (for example, Tylenol, acetaminophen is deadly toxic to cats and may have severe adverse effects for dogs).
So when your cat or dog is not feeling good, it’s preferable to call upon your team of veterinarians. They will give you good advice and evaluate if you should bring your pet for a consultation. Knowing that your pet is not feeling good, we will be able to assess its condition better. And if necessary, we can mention Internet sites from veterinary centres where you will find accurate information about the health of your pet.