What is a veterinary specialist?

Similar to human medicine where your own primary doctor may send you to a specialist, this option is also available to your furry friends. The specialist’s expertise complements that of your primary veterinarian. You may be referred to a veterinary specialist if diagnosing or treating your pet’s health problem requires specialized equipment and/or expertise that your veterinarian does not have. Currently, there are 22 AVMA recognized veterinary specialty organizations representing the highest level of specialization in veterinary medicine that is possible.

What is a Veterinary Internal Medicine specialist?

A Veterinary Internal Medicine specialist has completed an advanced training in Internal Medicine beyond veterinary college. This training includes an internship, a 3-year residency program, and many times includes master studies, publishing scientific articles and passing rigorous examinations to meet all the criteria established by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM).

Internists are sometimes called “the puzzle solvers of veterinary medicine.” In order to create a complete picture of a pet’s health issues, internists collect and match the many pieces of information they can glean from the patient’s history, clinical signs, lab results and imaging studies, and special testing. Specialists work closely with your family veterinarian to help provide complete veterinary care for your pet by giving second opinions on difficult cases, providing specialized hospitalization and therapies if required and performing complex diagnostic procedures.

What are some of the diseases treated by a veterinary Internist?

Internal medicine specialists treat a wide array of diseases affecting internal organs including the kidneys, liver, gastrointestinal tract, endocrine glands, lungs and bone marrow. Common diseases affecting these systems in dogs and cats are:

  • diabetes
  • hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism
  • infectious diseases including tick borne and fungal diseases
  • hematological disease, such as anemia
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • chronic hepatitis
  • acute or chronic kidney failure
  • pneumonia
  • bronchitis
  • asthma
  • fever of unknown origin

Internal Medicine

What procedures are routinely performed by a veterinary Internist?

Routine procedures performed by a veterinary Internist include high resolution ultrasonography (abdominal, cervical, thoracic), fine-needle aspiration, upper and lower gastroenteroscopy, foreign body retrieval, placement of feeding tubes, rhinoscopy, bronchoscopy and bronchoalveolar lavage, cystoscopy, laparoscopic liver biopsies, joint taps, and bone marrow aspiration and core biopsy.

What can a client expect during the visit?

We know that this is a stressful time for all pet parents and their furry companions. One on one consultation allows our specialist to get a complete medical history, examine your pet, and discuss treatment options available. Our goal is to provide you with the information you need to help you through this difficult time and make the best decisions possible for your pet. Please do not be concerned about asking too many questions. It is important to us that you understand your pet’s medical condition and treatment options.