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internet diagnosis

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
hi everyone..do you think that with the current internet resources, the ease of access to computers etc, that anyone can make a diagnosis for his pet (or himself for that matter)without consulting a trained professional. i mean, take this forum for example, i'm not sure how many people are vets but i think many others would be experienced cat owners- so if i ask a question can i be sure that it's the right answer? even if it's only general advice, whose fault is it if a wrong diagnosis is made?
am trying to write a report on the subject so..
post #2 of 6
I would say, you can pretty much go with the advice given by general members on this site BUT, if it is something which could be serious (ie health probs etc) it is always best to check the advice with a vet BEFORE you go ahead and do anything, if you take someones advice and its wrong, it is STILL your own fault if you knew the person wasn't a professional.... thats how I look at it anyway

(Of course, if you go to the vet and they give you wrong advice.. thats a different matter!)
post #3 of 6
I don't think that the internet can diagnose anything. It can give clues and help you discuss the problem with a vet/doctor. Of course, I'm talking about physical ailments here. I think a person would be a fool if they thought that they could accurately diagnose themselves or their pet based on internet research/advice. There's a reason doctors and vets go to school for as long as they do, and a reason that they run tests and want to see their patients personally.

The other thing is that honestly you just don't really know who you are talking to when you take advice given on the internet. Here, I feel confident that everyone is trying to give the best advice based on their experience. There are other sites I have heard about that I would feel much less confident. Quite frankly, even if someone says they are a vet, how do you know? There are many people who "assume" identities on the net to get them respect, cyber-dates, a (sick in some cases) thrill, whatever.

There are some things that can be helped on the internet, but I think mainly of support-type groups, and behavioural issues. I also think that discussing physical ailments is good in that it helps educate others, and sharing other possibilities for diagnosis and treatment that one doctor/vet may not have thought of or had experience with. Ultimately, though, the diagnosis has to come from the trained professional.

Also, as far as whose fault it is if someone relies on the internet? Their own, period. I hope there never is a lawsuit against someone trying to give helpful advice on the internet, but I would imagine there will be at some point. Just curious, but is there any kind of disclaimers on internet sites, like this one, saying that the owners of the site are not responsible for bad advice given on the board?
post #4 of 6
No, I don't think people should try to diagnose either themselves or their pets based only on information they get from the internet. You can never be sure of where the advice is really coming from. I have heard that some of the human medical sites are run by teenagers and are not reliable. Also, Anne never intended TCS to be a replacement for necessary veterinary treatment, and the members don't pretend to diagnosis things when they can't. I have always seen members here recommend that people take their cats to a qualified vet for diagnosis and treatment when it was needed. There are other times when only advice is needed here at TCS to solve non-medical problems. I think that people should use basic common sense when they are seeking advice from the internet. If they follow advice that isn't accurate it is their own fault.
post #5 of 6
Heidi, since you asked about disclaimers, here is Anne's disclaimer for this site:


The information, services, products, and materials contained in this web site are provided on an "as is" and "as available" basis with no warranty. Any information in TheCatsite.com is for educational and entertainment purposes only. In addition, TheCatsite.com does not warrant that the information accessible via this web site is current, complete, or error-free nor that it will provide specific results from use of the site or any content, search or link on it.

Always consult your own veterinarian for advice concerning your cat. In no way is TheCatSite.com engaged in providing veterinary medical services via this site.

TheCatSite.com will not be liable for any damages of any kind arising from the use of this site, including without limitation, direct, indirect, incidental, special, punitive and consequential damages however caused and under any theory of liability (including negligence).

If you have any questions about this disclaimer, the practices of this site, or your dealings with this Web site, please contact
post #6 of 6
I believe the internet is a great source of information and support AFTER a diagnosis has been made. the best option is always to speak to the professionals
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