You’ve Been Misdiagnosing Your Pet The Whole Time, Vets Say

Google is good at a lot of things. Diagnosing your pet isn’t one of them.

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The dangers of misdiagnosing a sick pet

A sick pet can be a scary thing. Many times, when our beloved furbabies start acting abnormally or displaying unusual symptoms, our first instinct is to run to the internet and ask Dr. Google, which usually goes one of two ways. Commonly, the most innocuous symptoms lead to an errant diagnosis of something terrifying, like brain cancer. Or a serious problem can be misdiagnosed as something benign. Treatment then is more intense and more costly than if the owner had brought the pet to the animal hospital in the first place.

According to Heather Dean, DVM, a small-animal veterinarian practicing in Georgia, it’s not just misdiagnoses that are a problem, it’s treatments as well. “Owners will also turn to the internet for advice on treating conditions or preventing disease at home, says Dean. “For example, the dose of ivermectin in commercial heartworm preventatives has been proven safe in all breeds of dogs, but “a little bit” of ivermectin-containing horse dewormer can be life-threatening, especially in sensitive breeds.”

If your pet is showing any unusual symptoms at all, and you are concerned he may be sick, call your vet. Here are just a few of the most commonly misdiagnosed diseases.