THE advent of the internet has brought a wealth of information at the fingertips of the animal owner.
The upside is that the internet provides cat videos, immediate gratification and fast access to extensive information. The downside being that the source of the information may be dubious, inaccurate and difficult to evaluate and interpret. The majority of the ‘information’ posted on the internet is neither verified nor reviewed.
However, for today’s clients, the temptation to consult the internet is great. But given the hit-or-miss nature of web information, the potential for harm to the pet is great too. While there is little hope of ending this pervasive practice, your veterinary practice can help ensure internet searches are less haphazard by identifying credible websites. It is important for animal owners to discuss any information obtained from the internet with their veterinarian, before instituting treatment.
Veterinary professionals are well aware of the danger of misinterpreting internet information, and the potential harm that can be caused to animals as a result. They are equipped with years of rigorous studying, and in most cases, coupled with years of extensive practical experience and are in the best position to advise animal owners about animal health issues.
The internet, if used prudently, can be a source of useful information regarding animal health matters. However, it should never be used as a replacement for your veterinarian. Consult your veterinarian for animal health related issues and for guidance on credible veterinary websites.