What is an Internal Medicine Veterinary Specialist?
A specialist in veterinary internal medicine is similar to human medicine. Your primary doctor may send you to a specialist, to gain insight on special diseases or problems, this option is also available to your furry family. The specialist’s expertise in complex cases complements 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 family veterinarian does not have.
How is the Veterinary Internal Medicine Specialist different than my family Veterinarian?
A Veterinary Internal Medicine specialist has completed 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 known as 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 gather 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 can I expect during the visit?
Once you have been referred by your family veterinarian, he or she will arrange for transfer of care of your pet. Your veterinarian should provide the specialist with a thorough summary of diagnostics and care along with all pertinent results for the specialist to review prior to your appointment. We know that this can be a very stressful time for all pet parents and their furry friends. A 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 ask as many questions as needed, it is important to us that you understand your pet’s medical condition and treatment options available.
What types of procedures are routinely performed by a veterinary Internist?
Routine procedures performed by or through a veterinary Internist include ultra sound (abdominal, cervical, thoracic), fine-needle aspirations, upper and lower gastroenteroscopy, foreign body retrieval/removal, placement of feeding tubes, rhinoscopy, bronchoscopy and bronchoalveolar lavage, cystoscopy, liver biopsies, joint taps, and bone marrow aspiration and core biopsy.
What are some of the diseases a veterinary Internist can treat?
Internal medicine specialists treat a lot of diseases that affect internal organs including the kidneys, liver, gastrointestinal tract, endocrine glands, lungs and bone marrow. Common diseases affecting these systems in dogs and cats are:
- 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
- fever of unknown origin