Why should my pet see a Board-Certified Small Animal Internal Medicine Specialist?
Commonly called “Internists”, Internal Medicine Specialists focus on diagnosing and treating diseases of the body’s systems. Veterinary Internal Medicine encompasses the disciplines of endocrinology, gastroenterology, hematology, immunology, infectious disease, immune disease, nephrology/urology and respiratory disease. Veterinary internists are trained to handle a multitude of medical problems whether rare or complex. It is not unusual for our small animal veterinary patients to have several concurrent diseases, and treatment for one disease often affects the treatment for another disease. Where the diagnosis is already known, Internists provide extensive experience in treatment options, providing peace of mind and the highest quality of life for your pet. If a diagnosis is elusive or therapy is not proving effective, the Internist may be better able to establish a diagnosis or adjust treatment plans to get your pet back to health.
Examples of conditions for which your family veterinarian might refer to an internist include:
- Anemia or bleeding disorders
- Chronic vomiting and/or diarrhea
- Pancreatic disorder
- Coughing or breathing problems
- Endocrine disease such a diabetes mellitus or hyperadrenocorticism
- Infectious disease
- Kidney or bladder disease
- Liver or gall bladder disease
- Unexplained weight loss
- Heart disease
What should I expect during a visit with a Board-certified Small Animal Internist?
The internist will review the information from your Family Veterinarian, and perform a complete and thorough physical examination of your animal. Based on these initial findings, additional tests will be discussed. Depending on your animal’s condition, diagnostic testing or treatments may include:
- Advanced laboratory testing of various tissue and blood samples.
- Diagnostic Imaging – ultrasound, radiography (x-rays), CT scans, MRIs
- Biopsies of masses, internal organs, or bone marrow
- Joint aspiration
- Echocardiography/Ultrasound of the heart
- Electrocardiography (ECG) – electrical reading of the heart’s rhythm
- Endoscopy – bronchoscopy (lungs), cystoscopy (bladder & urethra), gastroduodenoscopy (stomach & upper intestines), colonoscopy, rhinoscopy (nasal cavity), laparoscopy (minimally invasive surgery for biopsies of internal organs)
- Feeding tube placement
- Nutrition consultations
- Hospitalization and intensive care
- Blood pressure and continuous rate infusions
When should you request a referral to a Board-Certified Internal Medicine Specialist?
- Your animal’s condition is uncommon, complicated, or undiagnosed after standard testing. You would like a thorough second opinion of your pet’s condition.
- The progress of the current treatments are not as good as expected/ hoped.
- Your animal requires a sophisticated procedure that is only available at a specialty hospital.
- Your animal can benefit from the 24-hour care provided by a referral hospital.