Objective—To evaluate the quality of information
regarding osteoarthritis (OA) in dogs currently available
on the World Wide Web.
Procedure—5 search engines were searched with
the keywords "dog," "degenerative joint disease,"
"canine," and "osteoarthritis," and the first 50 sites
listed by each search engine were analyzed. Unique
Web site addresses were distributed to 3 diplomates
of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons, who
provided a standardized evaluation of each site.
Results—30 unique Web sites were evaluated.
Twenty (66%) provided information consistent with
conventional knowledge as outlined in textbooks and
peer-reviewed literature, 8 (27%) provided experimental
or anecdotal information in addition to conventional
knowledge, and 2 (7%) provided misleading information.
Mean scores for overall usefulness of the information
provided in regard to clinical features of and
treatment for OA were 1.3 and 1.5, respectively (1 =
information of minimal use; 5 = very useful information).
Twenty-three (77%) sites encouraged pet owners
to seek the advice of a veterinarian. Twenty-three
(77%) sites were given overall quality scores < 2, and
7 (23%) were given scores between 2 and 3 (1 = site
was counterproductive; 5 = site was very valuable).
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest
that the quality of information currently available
on the Web that addresses OA in dogs is questionable.
Although most of the sites conveyed some conventional
information with reasonable accuracy, the
information was incomplete, of minimal use, and
often considered counterproductive. (J Am Vet Med