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The worrying rise of the ‘DIY vet’

Rachel Mulheron, Director, helpucover

A recent survey revealed that in today’s age of ‘Doctor Google’, it is estimated  40 percent of pet owners search the internet for advice before taking their pet to the vet.  This might seem to eliminate the need for ‘inconvenient’ journeys to the vet for minor ailments, and allow pet owners to make short-term, financial savings, but there can be real dangers to trying to diagnose your pet’s illness or injury over the Internet.

Prolonging emergency care

Illnesses that start with simple symptoms can quickly develop into something more serious. What begins as something seemingly minor, such as mild nausea and vomiting could be because your pet has eaten something disagreeable or too much food, too fast. However, these symptoms can also indicate something more serious. Your pet may have swallowed a toxic substance, or be suffering from a condition that requires immediate medical attention such as a gastrointestinal disorder.

The time spent diagnosing these symptoms on the Internet could be completely redundant if from an unreliable source and if it does turn out to be an emergency situation, you could have wasted valuable time, which would have been put to better use at the vet’s.

Would you really want to be held responsible for minimising your pet’s chances of survival, because you’d taken a chance and chosen to follow unreliable online advice instead?

Finding the correct cause

A range of abnormal behaviours, often have multiple, possible diagnoses, unless you’re a trained vet, you’ll soon find yourself lost in all the possibilities of your pet’s condition.

For example, a cat drinking too much water could be put down to:

Chronic kidney disease Diabetes mellitus Hyperthyroidism Urinary tract disease

These are all serious conditions, but in reality, increased water consumption may be down to crunchier than normal food, or even wanting

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