Get to know the danger with getting a little help from the internet instead of your personal vet for your pets. 

By Michiko Manalang

Given that the Internet can come up with quick answers, it is always tempting to consult it instead of waiting for a vet. But the disadvantages of these are:

• You may not know how to maximize your search terms and your results may not be relevant to your pet’s ailment/s.

• Many websites are for profit and will naturally steer you towards items they sell.

• Other websites will be pushing an agenda rather than focusing on the well-being of your pet.

You may fall prey to false information or click-bait that can ultimately harm your pet.

When it comes to forums, it seems so advantageous: after all, Facebook groups, for one, are composed of people with the same passion and interest, right? But you take the bad with the good. These are the potential dangers of relying solely on forums and/or Facebook groups for advice:

• Animal Scene columnist Angel L. Ampil has observed that forums contain a mix of useful and damaging information, and that some people will argue a point just to win, even if evidence doesn’t support them.

• How can you tell who’s giving useful and who’s giving harmful information?

• People with agendas and grudges abound, as do scammers. Be particularly careful of people who want to draw you into arguments; they will pretend to give you an answer but will tag other people unnecessarily and use insults.

• Be wary of anyone trying to sell you anything as a “miracle” cure; these people know we care for our pets and will not hesitate to take advantage of those who are desperate. Someone who really wants to help will, and should, not try to make money off you.

This story appeared in Animal Scene’s August 2017 issue.