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Why you should never diagnose your pet online

Dog

It’s safe to say that most of us have had our lives changed by the invention of the Internet. Where we’d previously have to go through a time-consuming process of looking up answers in a book or consulting an expert, we can now Google anything and everything at the touch of a button. We all know how tempting it can be to Google health symptoms (human or pet related) to try to find a quick remedy for an ailment, especially out of hours during evenings and weekends.

But with an estimated 3.2 billion Internet users globally, the answers you find could be written by any old Tom, Dick or Harry and they could do more harm than good, particularly if you’re asking questions related to health.

While there are many websites out there that do give good advice and are thoroughly researched and overseen by qualified professionals, there are just as many forums containing bad advice and dodgy home remedies that could be dangerous or even life threatening to your pet.

Maltese dog

Many common symptoms could point to a wide array of different illnesses and problems and it could be easy to misdiagnose. Your vet will be much better equipped to rule out potential maladies after an examination. A pet’s condition can sometimes deteriorate rapidly and symptoms can worsen in the blink of an eye, the time you spend looking on the Internet could be put to better use by driving them to the vet. Health problems that are left to worsen will often take a vet longer to treat and therefore end up being more costly in the long run.

You know your pet better than anyone so if something seems a little off, trust your instincts and take them to the vet. Some of the most serious signs you should look out for include difficulty breathing, seizures, not eating or drinking, bloating, signs of severe pain, struggling to urinate, repeated vomiting or diarrhoea, severe weakness or collapse and loss of use of rear legs. You should contact your vet immediately if your pet displays any of these symptoms.

As wonderful as Google is, your vet will always be your most valuable and most trusted resource as they will know your pet almost as well as you do. They’ll have a good idea of your pets unique medical needs and will be able to create a tailored treatment plan to help them recover as quickly as possible.