The Sea of Information: Right, Wrong, and Where to Start

Posted by Melissa for PetTest on Sep 1st 2020

The Sea of Information: Right, Wrong, and Where to Start

Where is the one best place to get your information when it comes to your sugar kitty’s needs? The short answer is: There isn’t just ONE. Your starting point is more than likely the vet by default as Kitty gets diagnosed during a well visit or once symptoms are showing. Armed with your insulin, your feline diabetes brochure, a new Kitty health journal, and your first chance to check out what the community of sugar Kitty owners staff is doing. So, we head for the net and find an ocean of facts, not facts, opinions, individual experiences, and, unfortunately, quite a bit of flat out BS. Then, once your physical resources (family, friends, and neighbors) start showing up to weigh in, you have probably seen every argument for and against just about every treatment plan that comes with feline diabetes and related issues. It can be intimidating and the starting point can send you to good and well-researched information or the sea of terror and confusion. I still experience this at times when I am researching new developments in migraine treatment. Every so often, I still come across some site or post that either tells me I have an extremely rare brain tumor or drink straight lemon juice to cure that migraine instantly. (Yes, I did it. I was desperate – DON’T!).

An excellent source of information to start with is the American Animal Hospital Association’s Feline Diabetes Guidelines. This is the latest in treatment protocols for our sugar kitties. What makes this site better than “Latest Home Remedies dot com”? Aside from my super obvious example, most sites sound and even look professional no matter the content. Then again, some horribly designed websites have been a fountain of valuable information. Looks really don’t matter. A website builder makes everything look appealing. Marketing people have done all kinds of research on color, letters, placement, and all that to attract and keep visitors on their site.

Okay so what should we look for in a good informational website for serious learning and research?

  1. Articles and information with reliable sources such as peer reviewed journals and studies. Even with that, you should at least spot check a couple of sources to make sure they are valid, and being interpreted correctly. (It will only take a couple minutes and save potential grief later on.)
  2. Veterinary office websites SOMETIMES. This is a trust-but-verify situation. A vet website that uses repetitive terms, especially when it comes to brand names of medications or foods, could be looking to make a commission on the product or your clicks. A lot of websites are ad supported anyway, and it is not always easy to tell. I have seen some masterful work at hiding “click bait” ads within articles. (I don’t do this, I promise!) The same goes for product websites. If the articles are high on advertising and low on genuine content, you need to verify.
  3. The Library. No excuses. You don’t even have to GO there anymore! A lot of libraries have access to premium research content, scholarly journals, and all kinds of stuff that you can use for free! Also, if you can’t find something, librarians are the super heroes of finding anything. I think they may even have a secret club where they work on their informational divining skills as continuing education. Totally KIDDING but hey I don’t know how they do it!
  4. Support Groups. There are multiple groups including the one I am affiliated with on Facebook. There are subreddits for just about every subject one can think of. There are probably 100s I will never even see. There is A LOT hanging around in our little ocean of information. For support groups, I want to see active moderation and active posting. If no one is posting anymore, that is, after all, not too supportive. In every single support group there is that person who puffs out their chest and types: I did something for my cat and she is cured and I’m not telling anyone how I did it. This serves no purpose at all. Ignore them. Most support groups are more than willing to share experiences, good and bad, talk about different strategies for different cat personalities, help come up with ideas for foods if Kitty is not responding well to their current diet plan, and a place to panic if you need to. Groups try to keep up on the latest, but if you find something new, you can always suggest it. A good set of moderators or admins will welcome good information enthusiastically (after they verify, of course).
  5. Me! I have accumulated quite the library on the Shop Pet Test blog, and I do my research, provide links, and have never been asked by anyone to do an entire article of product plugs. New stuff is fun and cool, so I like to add those links once in a while.

Never stick to just one, even me. Read multiple websites. There is no need to obsess, but keeping up with a few that you have verified will keep you in the loop and give you at least the commonalities among different websites. Plus, if I am honest, it is really fun to go in to the vet office once in a while and get a step ahead of them! Plus, getting information for yourself is empowering. You will need help at the beginning of this journey, and as you need less help, you can pass this on to the next sugar mom or dad who shows up three months from now and has no idea what to do. If we can support each other and share information and experiences, we can make things easier even if we cannot wave a magic wand to make everything perfect. It takes a village to do a lot more than just raise a child.

Later this Week: For the Love of Food – What Is Going to Work for Your Kitty!

The Feline Diabetes Support Group on FB is always available for support for questions, venting, and all things sugar Kitty – not to mention some creative ideas for even the most finicky of your household’s ruling class.

Stay safe everyone!