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“When I was 18, my first pet Bella was scooting and licking her butt a lot, says Hope Amidon, a Vet Tech at Firehouse Westlake. “I was concerned and Googled for answers. I was told it was anal gland/butt cancer. Google told me my pet was dying. Luckily, I called my vet and all she needed was her anal glands expressed!”
Many pet owners turn to the internet for help when it comes to their pet’s health. This is often referred to as “Dr Google.”
While helpful in some cases, Dr Google (and more recently, AI platforms like ChatGPT) should never be used as a replacement for talking to your veterinarian.
Your cat or dog is a unique individual. Your lifestyle differs from the masses. Your Firehouse vet knows you and your pet best. They can provide you with the most accurate, personalized, and updated medical recommendations.
3 dangers of relying on Dr Google or AI platforms for your pet’s care:
1. Inaccurate information: Anyone can write anything on the internet. And not all of it is true! Or it might be outdated.
You might read a magazine article claiming a treatment is effective. Yet, it doesn’t work when you try it on your pet. Or you might read a blog about a new “miracle cure” for a certain condition and it turns out to be a scam.
When you talk to your veterinarian, you can be sure you’re getting accurate information based on years of education and experience. And the most recent updates to pet care.
2. Outdated recommendations: AI platforms may not offer the latest medical advice.
Our medical teams (doctors and Vet Techs) attend continuing education conferences each year to stay updated on the latest research and recommendations. ChatGPT and other AI platforms are delayed in importing new online data.
Don’t rely on advice from 2021 in 2023.
3. A delay in care: Your pet’s condition could be getting worse while you self-diagnose.
In urgent situations, a delay in care could be life-threatening. A few examples of this include if your pet has a bloated or swollen abdomen, trouble breathing, or has eaten something toxic. If your male cat is straining to urinate. Or, if your pet has pale gums.
If you’re Googling answers to save money, consider pet insurance. In many cases, health insurance for cats and dogs removes financial hardship from treatment. Taking payment out of the equation gives us peace of mind when it comes to our own pets.
If you’re ever unsure about whether to visit the vet, err on the side of caution.
Your pet’s health deserves the real deal, not a digital gamble.
Make an appointment or call us with questions. We’re here for you 24/7.