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A pilot study of Australian pet owners who engage in social media and their use, experience and views of online pet health information.

Authors
  • Kogan, L R1
  • Hazel, S J2
  • Oxley, J A3
  • 1 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado.
  • 2 School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia, 5005, Australia. , (Australia)
  • 3 Independent Researcher, Measham, Swadlincote DE12 7LQ, Leicestershire, UK.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Australian veterinary journal
Publication Date
Nov 01, 2019
Volume
97
Issue
11
Pages
433–439
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1111/avj.12870
PMID: 31418853
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

The aim of this study was to gain a better understanding of Australian pet owners' use of the internet for pet health; how trustworthy they rate various pet health information sources and the use of online information in subsequent veterinary consultations. An anonymous questionnaire was developed, consisting of 30 questions, and distributed between March 2018 and May 2018 using convenience sampling through social media venues including Facebook and Twitter. All respondents were over the age of 18, lived in Australia and owned a pet animal. A total of 228 responses were received. The most common sources of pet health information were veterinarians (88.2%) and internet websites (81.1%). Most respondents reported using the internet 'many times per day' at either home or work. The majority of respondents used the internet to seek pet health information either 'not weekly but at least once a month' or 'less than once a month'. Nearly half of the respondents stated that they only 'sometimes' discuss their online findings with their veterinarian. Approximately one half of respondents agreed with the statement that online pet health information had affected their decision about whether to take their pet to the veterinarian. This study assesses how pet owners use the internet for pet health information and the role veterinarians can play in helping to facilitate these searches with tools such as information prescriptions. Further large-scale research is needed to help further understand this increasingly important aspect of pet health. © 2019 Australian Veterinary Association.

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