Dr. “No!” – The Dangers of Using “Dr. Google”
Where would we be without the internet and Dr. Google? The days of researching topics and interests at the library have passed. Nowadays, if we want to research a topic, we “Google it” and whatever the topic is we want to know then at our fingertips.
Or is it?
A recent Google search on “cancer in pets” returned over 37 million results in 0.75 seconds. It is safe to say that none of us could ever research the validity and accuracy of all of those sites and sources of information, let alone read them all. Some of them of course, are reliable sources – veterinary teaching hospitals and veterinary organizations such as the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA).
However, the internet gives anyone a blank page to publish information, sometimes with little more than opinion than fact to support it.
Dr Google Is No Substitution
It is increasingly inevitable that at the onset of symptoms in our pets (and ourselves!), we go online to discern what’s happening. The internet can be a great complement to information from your veterinarian, however, it is not a reliable substitute for the years of education, training, and experience that a veterinarian has.
Internet sites rarely provide an accurate diagnosis. Only your veterinarian is trained to evaluate your pet’s history, perform a physical exam, and interpret medical tests that can give pet owners a true diagnosis.
Why is an accurate diagnosis important?
Like other health problems, an early and accurate diagnosis can lead to better potential outcomes for your pet. Cancer is a scary thing to hear but with accurate and thorough diagnosis, staging and treatment planning with a specialist, your pet’s condition can be properly understood and their quality and length of life can be improved. So don’t delay on the internet – see your veterinarian first!
Misdiagnosis On the Internet Can Be Dangerous
Some treatments that are recommended on the internet can be benign to one pet but potentially toxic to another.
In the case of cancer treatment, there is no one thing that can be done at home to mitigate the cancer’s progression. Of course, there are many things that can be done at home to provide comfort and care to pets with cancer and our team at VOSRC are experts at helping you tailor a home care plan for your pet’s specific needs.