The British Veterinary Association is reminding pet owners not to replace a trip to the vets with non-clinical information they find online.
BVA’s Voice of the Veterinary Profession survey of more than 500 vets, conducted as part of National Pet Month (April), revealed that 82% said that clients had challenged their diagnoses, recommendation or professional opinion based on information found on the internet.
Respondents pinned some of the blame on online forums and social media sites, saying that clicking into online information led some owners to question the advice vets gave them in areas including medication and healthy diets.
BVA president Simon Doherty said: “The internet is a great tool for research but it must not undermine the expertise and years of training that a veterinary professional has…
“We recognise that there is some useful information on pet health, welfare and behaviour available online but guesswork and advice from unverified sources has the potential to cause delay in proper treatment or lead to further issues and distress for the animal. The best source of information for animal health concerns will always be a vet who knows your pet.”