Compete or cooperate with ‘Dr. Google’? Small animal veterinarians’ attitudes towards clients’ use of internet resources: A comparative study across Austria, Denmark and the UK

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Veterinary medicine is increasingly affected by animal owners having the opportunity to become better informed on pet health issues by using various internet resources. Using an online questionnaire including a section on clients’ use of internet resources to obtain medical information, this study aimed to investigate veterinarians’ estimates of the percentage of clients using internet resources, how often clients question veterinarians’ professional medical advice based on online information, and veterinarians’ attitudes towards clients’ use of internet resources, across Austrian, Danish, and UK veterinarians (n = 641). The results show that 48.8% of respondents estimated that 40–79% of their clients use internet resources to find medical information. Further, 70–80% of respondents stated that they are occasionally challenged by clients questioning their advice based on online information. Although veterinarians recognized the potential advantages related to clients’ use of internet resources, such as an increased acceptance of advanced diagnostics and treatments, they also highlighted clients’ increased expectations or false impressions of small animal practices as potentially negative aspects in this context. As internet use increases, it seems likely that these issues will become increasingly important in the future.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2117
Issue number16
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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