The Pet Corner: Don’t rely on Dr. Google

The internet is responsible for causing some pet owners to worry and stress by having unreliable sources available to everyone who wants to read them.

Many pet owners look to the all-knowing internet or “Dr. Google” for information to self- diagnose their pet’s conditions.

Some pet owners search the internet for symptoms to match the clinical signs of their sick pet, which has become an enormous problem for the veterinary profession with several reasons and repercussions.

Don’t get me wrong. I think the internet is an amazing, wonderful and technologically advanced tool matched by no other.

You can find anything in the world within seconds with a simple click of the mouse.

You can research every single imaginable thought without getting out of your chair.

However, there are several problems with the internet.

Some of those problems are far beyond the scope of this column and represent a whole other topic of conversation.

Many problems directly relate to pet care and medical conditions of your furry family member.

We have already established that our pets are more like a member of the family than just a dog or cat.

If you are trying to look up information about your pet, you are researching signs and symptoms for a family member. First, not everything on the internet is right.

There is a lot of information available to everyone that is not true.

Unless you have a vast knowledge of medical conditions or a degree in veterinary medicine, you won’t even know that what you are reading is not valid.

You may tend to assume that you are learning only facts.

It would not hurt to be skeptical of everything you read.

It would serve most people well to require some scientific proof before believing what they learned about a medical condition.

Pay close attention to the source of the information you read. The information would be much more accurate if a licensed veterinarian writes it.

The best approach for medical care for your furry family member would be to have regular checkups for your pet and listen only to your veterinarian’s advice.

Your veterinarian spent eight long years in college studying veterinary medicine in addition to having years of experience examining, diagnosing and treating pets with various medical conditions.

More often than not, pet owners, who read about specific symptoms their pet has, tend to think the worse.

Those trying to figure out what is wrong with their pet end up thinking something far worse is wrong than the actual condition their pet has.

They do themselves more harm than good by causing themselves a lot of worry and grief unnecessarily.

I can’t count the number of times a client has been worried sick over their pet because of what they have read on the internet only to be relieved when I give them the real diagnosis.

It seems like human nature to expect the worst, but there is no sense in jumping to conclusions without your veterinarian’s advice.

If my car starts to make a noise whenever I run over a bump, I might speculate that the problem is this or that.

I won’t go to the internet to research and diagnose the problem.

Even if I was right and figured out the problem, how would I go about fixing it?

I would have no idea how to start. The one thing I wouldn’t do is get all worried about something that might not be the problem.

Even if you can figure out your pet’s condition, chances are you would not be able to treat the condition without the proper medication or surgical ability. That’s why I don’t try to fix the air conditioner, washing machine, refrigerator or any appliances before calling someone well trained to do so.

If you have a sick or injured pet, don’t waste precious time and effort before contacting your veterinarian.

If your pet needs medical care, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible to ensure your pet lives a long, healthy and happy life.

Dr. Jeff Castle is a veterinarian at Clark County Veterinary Clinic.