Pet vet on the 'net yet?
October 30, 2008 11:17 AM   Subscribe

For minor pet health questions: suggest websites that are comprehensive & user-friendly? I'd like to avoid unnecessary vet visits.

Last week my cat had runny eyes for no apparent reason, and googling common search terms (cat+eye+discharge, etc) led me to a lot of annoying sites jam-packed with ads, poor user design, and sketchy-sounding information. (He's fine, now, by the way. I imagine his cat allergies were acting up or something.)

I'd like a pet health website with comprehensive, searchable entries offering detailed and specific information about animal health issues. Everything should be explained in terms geared to the literate layman- in other words, use of Latin terminology is fine if it's explained plainly and intelligently, rather than cut & pasted from a vet textbook in indigestible hunks, or dumbed down into single syllable hyperbole in the vein of POOR KITTEH OH NOES! VET TIME HURRY! Levelheadedness would be a plus, as not every sneeze needs a visit to a vet. I'd love to see stuff like "If your cat is breathing fine, it's ok to wait out the sneezes or a week or so. After 10 days, if it's not better- or if the cat is gasping- it could be problem X or Y, so take him to the vet."

Can anyone recommend such a site?
Thanks in advance!

PS, Personally, I'm most interested in cats, but I'm sure other users would appreciate sites relevant to their pets too. So if you know the #1 health resource for the spiny echidna or whatever, well, shoot!
posted by pseudostrabismus to Pets & Animals (10 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Pawprints & Purrs is a pretty good resource and also has a message board with helpful people (or at least I found it that way a few years ago when my cat had some serious problems, maybe the community has changed).

However, did you try calling your vet to see what they thought? My vet's office (which is cats only) has answered simple questions over the phone before, and has helped me gauge whether a symptom required a trip to a vet or just needed to be monitored.

For the most part, I think it's better to be safe than sorry. Cats especially tend to hide their symptoms, so when they exhibit signs that they're not feeling well and there have been no stressful changes to their environment to trigger it, it means that something is WRONG.

Certain symptoms, especially not eating, not drinking, and highly abnormal bathroom habits (especially not going at all, or straining to go), require immediate veterinary attention.
posted by tastybrains at 11:45 AM on October 30, 2008

If the websites don't pan out for you, I found Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook helpful on many occasions. Lots of example photos and clearly written text for the layperson organized in a way that makes looking up topics easy.

It shouldn't be considered a replacement for a live vet's advice, of course.

There's a dog edition, too.
posted by jamaro at 12:35 PM on October 30, 2008

Seconding tastybrains on the vet thing--you need to find a vet like mine who is willing to spend time with you on the phone. I call up with a question and he's all "Look at her gums. Are they pink? Okay, press them with your thumb. Did the pink come right back? Now go take her temperature. I'll wait." Etc. Then he tells me whether to bring her in or not. Waaay better than relying on internet advice.
posted by HotToddy at 12:52 PM on October 30, 2008

I always search the archives of Dolittler, a blog by a Florida vet. She's prolific but no-nonsense and sketch-free. I frequently consult her top OTC remedies for dogs and cats (and also top home remedies that kill).
posted by nev at 4:35 PM on October 30, 2008 [3 favorites]

Wow, Dolittler is a great site!

And even better yet, she links frequently to a site called PetPlace, which seems to exactly match what OP is looking for. Under "dogs" and "cats" they have an entire symptoms section.
posted by tastybrains at 9:04 PM on October 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

I was just looking for some information on this bump on my dog's leg and found this site . it had a really nice chart with all the bumps on dogs with some information that was very helpful. It seems very well organized compared to some other sites.
posted by alkupe at 9:08 PM on October 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Those links are all great- thanks, hive!
posted by pseudostrabismus at 12:02 AM on November 3, 2008

Many of the vets at our hospital recommend
posted by Rock Steady at 6:44 AM on December 15, 2008

I understand that WebMD is coming out with a site for pet health.
posted by SallyHitMeOntheHead at 6:30 PM on October 7, 2009

Here it is
Don't know anything about it but I like WebMD
posted by SallyHitMeOntheHead at 6:33 PM on October 7, 2009

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