Three quarters of people immediately turn to the internet for answers when their pet is unwell according to new research from Asda Money and White Cross Vets, which has practices in Roundhay, Guiseley and Eccleshill.
More than 650 cat and dog owners participated in the survey, which revealed that a staggering 75% of people use search engines to check their pet’s symptoms, with 22% of owners always choosing this method to identify what might be making their furry friend unwell. More than half of people surveyed admitted to following the advice they read online and 36% said they felt more informed having researched symptoms.
White Cross Vets’ own data also shows that several common health issues are on the rise, with 51% more cats and dogs diagnosed with arthritis in 2017 than in 2016. Obesity cases are also increasing, with 16% more cases recorded in the last 12 months alone.
James Wood, clinic director at White Cross Vets in Roundhay, says: “It’s no secret that lots of people try to self-diagnose their own illnesses on the internet but now it seems that this phenomenon has spread to our pets’ health as well. Whilst it’s great that pet owners are taking such a proactive role in the wellbeing of their pets, I’d always urge people to back up their online research with a conversation with their local vet.”
“Pets share many illnesses with humans, such as diabetes, arthritis, pancreatitis, and cancer. These can be impossible to identify via the internet and advances in technology and medicine mean that we can diagnose and treat many of these earlier and more successfully than ever before.
“Some of these are also long-term conditions, requiring ongoing treatment and check-ups, which can become costly. We are significantly ahead of Europe and the USA when it comes to pet insurance, yet 57% of our clients still don’t have it.”
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.”