Veterinary Emergencies and the Internet – Pet tip 157
If your pet was hit by a car would you sit down at your desk and start up your computer, or immediately rush your pet to the veterinarian? The natural answer should be the second option. In emergency situations it is especially crucial that your pet receives stabilizing medical care as soon as possible. Even the couple of minutes it takes to do a seemingly harmless quick Internet search can mean the difference between life and death. These days the Internet may seem to hold the answers to all questions, but if the answers are wrong or take too long to discover what good are they when you are dealing with potentially fatal situations?
Too much information is not always a good thing
Anyone can post information on the Internet: the 12 year old girl across the street, the malicious man who wants to harm animals or the knowledgeable veterinarian. Keep this in mind whenever you are searching anything on the Internet, not just animals. We often give something published or posted on the Internet more prestige and the benefit of the doubt. The reality is that you should not trust anything you find on the Internet lecturing you on your pet’s health unless you have some proof that it is legitimate. Ensure that you know how to sift through the options or variables to find the true gems – websites run by individuals that are veterinarians or other related specialists. When you do stumble across legitimate websites, more often than not you will be unsure of what you are looking for and how to use it. This is not only time consuming, but also very frustrating. The outcome is often one annoyed pet-loving person and one pet still in need of help. You have wasted precious time that could affect the prognosis of your pet’s condition. In emergencies in particular, the Internet is definitely the last place you want to be if your pet is in a critical condition. This cannot be stressed enough – every second counts! Please do not waste your time on the computer and rush your pet to a qualified individual who can provide medical care immediately!
Vets are trained to help your pet; the Internet is not!
Before you completely abandon the Internet forever regarding your pet’s health, remember that in the right circumstances it can actually be useful. So what are these circumstances and how do you prevent yourself from wasting time and becoming worried by the endless list of possible problems you may convince yourself your pet has when searching the Internet? Consult your veterinarian! Remember, they were extensively trained in this field so that you wouldn’t have to be confused by this endless sea of information. They should be able to explain your pet’s problems to you in a manner that you can understand and answer questions specifically related to your pet. Additionally, they can refer you to websites that have the most recent and relevant information if you would like to become more knowledgeable on a specific subject. Every animal shows different symptoms and the complicated outcomes of combining a history, physical examination and any other facts about your pet is best left to someone who knows what they are doing. After all, you can describe how you think your pet is feeling to someone, but through the Internet you could misinterpret this or miss something crucial. To summarize, the Internet can be a useful tool to source information on what might be wrong with your pet, but to actually assess its true condition nothing can replace an expert’s hands on examination.
The Internet is a sea of information but it has no regulation. Anyone can post anything at anytime. Never underestimate how easy it is to be thrown off course by a sea of false information and improper advice. Do not let this happen to you! Become properly informed as to how to navigate the waves and you may be able to stay afloat to successfully find the useful information you have been searching for.
By Laura Platt – Pets.ca writer