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75% of owners diagnose pets using the internet

New research shows that 75 percent of people are using search engines to check their pet’s symptoms, with 22 percent of owners always choosing this method to identify what is making their furry friend unwell.

Asda Money has teamed up with White Cross Vets, who cared for more than 70,000 cats and dogs in 2017, to reveal the increasing number of owners searching online to identify their pets’ illnesses and the potential issues this can cause.

When asked how often they follow the advice they read online 51 percent said they did occasionally, with 36 percent feeling informed after doing so.

Rather shockingly, 20 percent only ‘sometimes’ seek veterinary advice after searching the internet.

Furthermore, a number of animal illnesses have been found to be on the rise over the last year including arthritis, pancreatitis, and obesity. However, such types of illnesses are often difficult to spot, especially in the early stages, due to many symptoms masking as a variety of diseases.

Andrew Miller, veterinary surgeon of White Cross Vets in Bradford, said: “Our pets share many illnesses in common with us, such as diabetes, arthritis, pancreatitis, and cancer. And these diseases can end up being very costly, as some are long-term conditions which require ongoing medical treatments and check-ups.

“We are significantly ahead of Europe and the USA when it comes to pet insurance, yet surprisingly 57 percent of our current clients don’t have it.  It’s great pet owners are using the internet to take such a proactive role in the wellbeing of their pets, but I’d always urge anyone to back up online research with a conversation with their local vet.”

51 percent more cats and dogs were diagnosed with arthritis in 2017 in comparison to 2016. Unsettlingly, like humans, obesity is also on the up, with a 16 percent increase in more cases being recorded in the last year.

Furthermore, there has been a 37 percent increase in pancreatitis in our canine companions over the past year too.

Alistair Ball, commercial manager of Asda Money, said: “Treating these ongoing medical issues can get pretty pricy, especially when you’re faced with crucial life changing conditions such as cancer, which can cost over £700 to treat, on average.  It’s imperative to have the correct level of insurance in place so barriers to care are eliminated and your pet receives the fastest and best diagnostic attention.”

These medical conditions have always been around but due to the improvements in veterinary medicine and the increasing pet owner involvement in the health care of their pets, it mean conditions are now identified and treated at an earlier stage.

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