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Published: Apr 25, 2011

A recent article in USA Today analyzes a rather disturbing trend. It seems that many pet parents are consulting the internet to diagnose their pets' ailments, rather than taking their dogs or cats to a certified veterinarian.

There are online forums about essentially any imaginable ailment, from dog cancer to pet emergencies and injuries. However, these forums are usually comprised of non-experts, and are not an adequate way to assess pet health.

The internet may allow pet parents to become more educated on specific subjects, but this information does not compare to the opinion and care of a VCA veterinarian.

"Responsible surfing is fabulous, [but it] does not take the place of a call or visit to your veterinarian," vet Nancy Kay told the news source. Often, minutes can mean life or death for an animal in need.

If an animal suffers an injury, even if it seems minor, it's always best to take them to an animal hospital as soon as possible. Keep in mind that pets cannot voice their symptoms, so they may be experiencing pain that is not immediately obvious.