2001-Fri Jul 21 16:48:25 EDT 2017
Vetstreet. All rights reserved. Powered by Brightspot.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
The Internet is viewed by most veterinarians as a marvelous tool. Like you, we Google away with impunity, intent on attaining superior accessibility to subjects that span the spectrum of our interests and pique our curiosity. We’d be loath to lose it. Yet when it comes to our clients, some among us would rather not be asked to deal with it. Who needs reams of printouts on the dubious benefits conferred by mega-dosed vitamins, snake oil preparations, and juiced-fruit cancer cures? Who needs diagnoses and treatment regimens second-guessed based on questionably sourced online outlets?
In fact, for all my work as an “Internet vet” populating sites like this one with engaging, well-founded and fully vetted content, you can nonetheless count me among those veterinarians who look askance at a thick sheaf of papers that represent recently downloaded content I “should definitely read before we proceed with Cookie’s treatment.”
I’ll confess: Such requests typically fill me with dread. Call me lazy, but I do not relish the prospect of examining what too often amounts to kooky, pseudo-medical information owners are understandably drawn to for the hopefulness they offer pet owners who are at their wits' end. That doesn’t mean I won’t read them. Indeed, I usually will. But it’s no fun — more so given that I usually find myself explaining why x, y, and z probably won’t work and why it’s most likely a very bad idea. (All of which makes me feel like a great big meanie.)
I’ll also confess on behalf of my profession: It’s true that, as a profession we tend to recoil when our clients bring forth the fruits of their online labors. In case you’re thinking I might be overstating things, these conclusions are well documented in peer-reviewed research published in 2003 and 2008 in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.
The 2003 paper conducted a search for “canine” and “osteoarthritis,” then ranked the validity and utility of Internet information. The veterinary surgeons involved in the study were clearly not impressed by their surfing escapade, given this scathing conclusion:
“Results suggest that the quality of information currently available on the Web that addresses [osteoarthritis] in dogs is questionable. Although most of the sites conveyed some conventional information with reasonable accuracy, the information was incomplete, of minimal use, and often considered counterproductive.”
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Take our breed quiz to find your next pet.
Bartonella is a type bacteria that can be transmitted to cats, dogs and humans from exposure to infected fleas and…
Want to give your pup yummy, low-calorie treats? We’ve got the skinny on which foods are OK to feed him.
Not sure about food puzzles? Our veterinarian reveals why the payoff for your pet is well worth any extra work.
With these simple dental care tips, you can help keep your canine’s adorable smile shiny and healthy for life.
The friendly and inquisitive LaPerm has an easy-care coat that comes in a variety of colors and patterns.
Check out our collection of more than 250 videos about pet training, animal behavior, dog and cat breeds and more.
Wonder which dog or cat best fits your lifestyle? Our new tool will narrow down more than 300 breeds for you.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.