Trusting any person to take care of your pet is difficult, because of the strong bond you form with your pet. Trusting a vet to keep your pet healthy will usually require that you have enough information about the vet to trust them.
Finding accurate information on the internet is a difficult task unless you know where to look and what information to seek.
This article is an attempt to give you tips on how to find accurate information about veterinary practices online.
Keep an eye out for a secure website.
In the internet age, data breaches have become a growing threat. If the vet you are considering has a website (and, in this age, that’s far more likely than not), keep an eye out for the URL; if the URL begins “https,” that indicates that the website is secure and that the website is protected against outside attack.
Most medical facilities use some form of encryption to ensure that their data does not leak. While this may seem like common sense, some websites will not use HTTPS for ease of access to those who cannot visit secure websites (being on a public Wi-Fi network may prevent this, for example). If a vet’s website does not use some form of encryption that can be seen in the URL, be wary.
When it comes to ratings, trust the middle.
While the natural inclination is to always gravitate towards something that has the highest star rating available, that isn’t always a sign of quality. Vote brigading, which is the act of artificially increasing a service or product’s online rating, can be employed by unscrupulous bad-faith actors to make a product look better than it is.
Instead of looking at five-star or one-star ratings for a vet, look at ratings that fall in the middle. These ratings will best indicate how real customers feel about a vet, as vote brigadiers are less likely to use any rating other than the highest or lowest ratings available.
Also, don’t be scared off by a low rating; vote brigading can also reduce a good product’s score due to bad-faith actors giving poor scores. Keeping an eye out for the medium scores will still give you a better idea of what to expect.
If you’re skeptical, you can look it up
While this is not always a concern, you have the ability to look up if a vet is truly certified if you see any flags raise. The American Association of Veterinary State Boards has look-up services for individual vets, which you can use if you sincerely believe a vet may not be legitimate.
Hopefully, this is not a situation that you encounter, but don’t forget that this is an option.
Concerning online vets
While the prospect of having any sort of medical appointment online is still new, seeing an online vet is a safe, convenient, inexpensive way to get your pets checked out. While online vets do not have as many options for emergency care as an in-person vet will, they can still provide essential services, helping with behavioral issues among other things.
The same rules apply; keep an eye out for security on the website (especially important if you’re seeing an online vet), check the ratings in the middle to make sure you aren’t being fooled into trying a service that may not be as good as you think, and, if you don’t trust the vet you’re given, check with the AAVSA; while online vets have a process they use to determine the validity of their vets, contacting the AAVSA is always an option.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
If you have any questions about a veterinary practice, don’t be afraid to call and ask. While this article is related mostly to looking online, calling is always a good option to consider, if you have any questions about the practice that are not addressed online.
If a vet’s website has an e-mail option, don’t be afraid to use that to ask questions. This article has said “don’t be afraid to ask questions” in some form several times, but remember that, in regards to your pet’s health, you are their most important (and sometimes only) advocate, and you shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions to make sure your pet gets the best treatment available.
Umar Nisar was born and raised in the busy city of Abbottabad. As a journalist, Umar Nisar has contributed to many online publications including PAK Today and the Huffing Post. In regards to academics, Umar Nisar earned a degree in business from the Abbottabad UST, Havelian. Umar Nisar follows the money and covers all aspects of emerging tech here at The Hear Up.