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Dr. Google: The Risks of Using the Internet to Diagnose and Treat Your Cat

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Google it! In our digital age, turning to the internet for information and advice is pretty standard. After all, Google knows everything or, at the very least, has some information about anything. Even when faced with vague illness symptoms, our first instinct is to type the signs in our keyboards and look for answers online. Interestingly, we're now using Google to diagnose and treat our cats.

While seeking health advice for your cat isn't a bad thing, entirely relying on the internet for medical information can be dangerous for your cat's health. Why? Read on to find out the dangers consulting Dr. Google when it comes to your kitty's health.

What Are the Dangers of Consulting Dr. Google?

As noted above, looking for online health advice isn't always a concern, but keep these essential points to mind when consulting Dr. Google:

1. Inaccurate and Unreliable Information

Online sources vary widely in accuracy and credibility. There's no assurance that the information you find is from a reliable source. With one typical search generating millions of results, the information varies from scientific research and personal experiences to myths and misconceptions. Therefore, it can be overwhelming trying to determine who and what to trust when your cat's health is on the line.

Besides, some information on the internet is misleading and dangerous for your cat. For instance, medicine such as Aspirin or Tylenol, some human food, and plants are toxic for your cat. However, you'll still find them labeled 'safe' and recommended in some sites and articles. Some medicine might also be safe for some cats but unsafe for others depending on individual disease conditions. The amount of dosage can also vary from cat to cat.

2. Quality of Information

There's a significant difference between the health information accessible to vets and the health information available on the internet. You can misidentify and miss the signs of illness your cat is displaying while searching for answers online. Vets use their experience, educational knowledge, and examination procedures to make a diagnosis. They can then quickly discover and reveal new health information to correctly diagnose and treat your feline. Contrarily, internet searches cannot achieve such efficiency.

3. It Can be Costly with Devastating Consequences

Online diagnosis can be an expensive undertaking, mainly when you blindly act on the recommendations. When such inaccurate information is used to treat an illness, it may cause more harm or death to your cat.

When Can Dr. Google Be Helpful?

Online information can prove helpful to your cat's health in the following instances:

  • Cat owners trying to be partners in their cat's health. With reliable and accurate information about the various feline conditions and their signs, you'll quickly detect emergencies and know when to visit your vet. Moreover, knowing what substances, foods, and plants are toxic to cats will help keep your cat safe.
  • When your vet makes a diagnosis, researching and reading about that condition from reputable sources can help you ask questions to understand the disease. You'll also be better prepared should the issue arise in the future.
  • Informed knowledge can help you express what you are seeing in your cat’s health/behavior, so your vet provide quick and better treatment to your cat.

Ultimately, we don't discourage cat parents from seeking health advice on the internet, but we emphasize caution and discernment. Who knows, the internet can be a good starting point to helping you identify a symptom of a problem. Nevertheless, ensure you make an effort to call or visit your vet before acting on any information sourced over the internet!

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