Veterinarians help pet owners through online forum

Published on December 01, 2009
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Please note: the online version of this document contains the updated launch time frame of January 2010.

The AVMA has teamed up with online health information and medical news provider WebMD to create an interactive forum for pet owners.

The Pet Health Exchange, which is being launched in January, is an expansion of WebMD's Pet Health Community. It touches on a wide range of topics—from obesity to arthritis to hyperthyroidism.

The AVMA has identified guest experts to provide veterinary advice to pet owners. They will not give diagnoses or make treatment recommendations, but instead will provide "thought starters" to stimulate conversation and educate pet owners, said Dr. Kimberly May, assistant director of professional and public affairs in the AVMA Communications Division.

The veterinarians also will respond to questions posed on the forum. A new guest expert will appear about every week.

"The Internet is as much a source of misinformation as it is information," Dr. May said. "The experts on the Pet Health Exchange will be vetted and will provide the public with credible, accurate information. It also allows pet owners a moderated forum to interact and share experiences and information."

The Pet Health Exchange can be found at by clicking on the links "Healthy Pets" and "Pet Health Community."

Additional guest experts are still being sought. Veterinarians who are interested should contact Dr. May at kmayatavma [dot] org.

WebMD launched its Healthy Pets site Oct. 27 to expand its scope from the human health field to include animal health. The company said the site aims to give pet owners veterinarian-reviewed information on pet diet and nutrition, behavior and training, and preventive care.