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The internet and your pet

Published Thursday 16 January 2014 by Ian Millar BVMS, CertVOphthal, MRCVS

 The internet is a powerful tool and has brought amazing information and advice into your living room and in most cases the information is reliable. We can access information that finds us pets, clothing for them and all sorts of other things to buy.

It allows our owners to look up the detail of what their vet had touched on during their pet’s examination and remind the owner of some aspects of the problem being treated which they can forget during the distress and concern of the consultation.

There are websites that can give you the detail and actions of the drugs that might have been prescribed and again this can be reassuring.

 The other side of the internet is the need to keep a perspective on the information given to you. We will encounter situations on a regular basis where a pet owner becomes very concerned about side effects of drugs as read from an internet page or prognoses regarding the problem or offering us help with a diagnosis based on what has been gleaned from cyberspace.

Sometimes it is relevant and we like to think we are not so arrogant that we cannot learn from our clients. It is however, important to remember that animals are not 4 legged humans and the drug reactions can be so different. For instance cats react totally differently to dogs to some drugs and there are many human drugs that work well in animals that are just not in the animal marketplace.

There are many, many sites abroad where diseases seen have no relevance to the UK situation. Some websites are created by people expanding their own experiences into seemingly wide factual and well researched creations. These are often far from real and miles from our veterinary experience.

Our knowledge as UK vets are based on sound education taught to us by well respected academics and we are constantly updating this knowledge several times a year through lectures, meetings and through reliable veterinary publications and are able to see what is good and what is bad regarding internet information.

I think these exchanges are good but be patient with your Vet if his/her opinion differs from what has been found in cyberspace. Run the article past them and await their comments. We are all, both owners and professionals, working to do what is best for our pets from both sides of the examination table.

Trust me, I’m a Veterinary Surgeon!

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