A GUISELEY-BASED vets is urging pet owners to keep seeking expert advice - despite a surge in 'online diagnosis'.

The advice from White Cross Vets* comes in the wake of research which shows that 75 per cent of owners are using the Internet to check their pet's symptoms.

The statistics have been revealed by Asda Money and White Cross Vets, which cared for more than 70,000 cats and dogs in 2017.

The findings also showed that 51 per cent of those asked said they 'occasionally' followed the advice they found online.

And 20 per cent said they only 'sometimes' went on to seek veterinary advice after searching the Internet.

Veterinary Surgeon and the Clinic Director of White Cross Vets in Guiseley, Tom Ward, said: "Our Guiseley practice has been running for 80 years and we'd like to think we're an essential part of the community.

"It's great that pet owners are clearly taking a keen interest in the wellbeing of their pets by using the Internet to try and establish a diagnosis.

"However, it's vital to back up any online findings by seeking expert advice from your local vet too.

"Many symptoms can mask as a variety of diseases, especially in the early stages, so it's important to have the right information and diagnosis to help ensure the best possible outcome and treatment plan available."

The research also revealed that 57 per cent of pet owners did not have pet insurance to cover the costs of future treatments.

Veterinary Surgeon of White Cross Vets in Bradford, Andrew Miller, said: "Our pets share many illnesses in common with us, such as diabetes, arthritis, pancreatitis, and cancer.

"And these diseases can end up being very costly, as some are long-term conditions which require ongoing medical treatments and check-ups.

"We are significantly ahead of Europe and the USA when it comes to pet insurance, yet surprisingly 57 per cent of our current clients don’t have it.

"It’s great pet owners are using the Internet to take such a proactive role in the wellbeing of their pets, but I’d always urge anyone to back up online research with a conversation with their local vet."

More details about the research's findings can be found at https://money.asda.com/hub/family/pet-illness-symptoms/ .

*White Cross Vets is a family run group which operates 18 practices.

The research statistics were compiled from a survey of 577 cat and dog owners, plus a database of 38,164 White Cross Vets registered cats and dogs.