Fake News and Dr. Google: The Veterinarian’s Greatest Virtual Foes

Close-up Angry Red Maine Coon Cat Looks Camera, Isolated

Remember when the Internet told us that ice cubes could be fatal to our dogs? Many pet owners now play it safe and don’t give ice cubes as treats… but recent news proclaims that many dog treats contain pentobarbital, so they can be dangerous, too! So what should we believe?

Given the rapid spread of “evidence” online, which can prove just about anything, how are pet owners supposed to distinguish fact from fiction? It’s so easy to use that search feature that comes preloaded on nearly every smartphone, and in an instant they’ve fallen prey to the veterinarian’s virtual nemesis: “Dr. Google.

Your clients are getting their information from a mixture of sources, including credible news articles, Facebook friends, neighbor recommendations, Pinterest, and of course search engine results. As we’ve seen via other current events, people are likely to believe what their friends say, with or without fact-checking. Those who do fact-check will often head to Google first, and the sheer amount of material online means that their chances of finding reputable answers are just about the same as their chances of finding fake news. Continue reading