We live in a generation of instantaneous information. Don’t know what to make for dinner? Use Google to find a new tasty recipe! Hear a song in the grocery store that you really liked? There’s an App for that! With the development of smart phones and tablets we are spending more and more of our time on the internet. Access to all this information makes it easier than ever to research a topic and make a decision about anything, including the health of your pets.
More and more of our clients are going online to research at home treatments or diagnosis for their pets. Google can be a great source of information for pet owners, but it can also cause undue concerns about their pet’s condition. It’s important to remember to take what you learn from the internet with a grain of salt as not all information is reliable. There’s a saying “one wrong man can always find a friend” and the internet makes it a lot easier to find that friend. If you look hard enough you will almost always find someone who shares the same opinion as you whether it’s right or wrong.
Here are some tips to finding information about your pet on the internet:
• Get your diagnosis from a licensed veterinarian first, then begin your internet search to add onto the information you already know is true.
• Refrain from looking up symptoms – different symptoms can be applied to many various diseases that the people of the internet did not mention in their blog posts or chat forums.
• Remember anyone can post on the internet – just like you wouldn’t trust everything your next door neighbor says you shouldn’t trust everything you read on the internet
• Beware of bias- there are many different biases to be aware of from people trying to sell you thing to people who have a bone to pick with a specific product or profession. Be very wary of information you read in the comment sections or online forums.
• Remember; when in doubt call your veterinarian! Even if our only advice is to come into the clinic for an exam, our advice over the phone is always free and we will try our hardest to point you in the right direction.
This blog post was written by McQueen Animal Hospital, a veterinary clinic in Brampton providing quality affordable veterinary care