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Esophageal strictures can be caused due to foreign bodies, cancer, ingestion of caustic substances as well as acid reflux from regurgitation.

Esophageal stricture can be a devastating complication of esophageal foreign bodies because the scar tissue that forms once the esophagus heals is not as elastic as normal esophageal tissue. This leads to the formation of a ring within the esophagus that prevents passage of food and occasionally water.

Recent history of general anesthesia is common in cases of esophageal stricture due to gastroesophageal reflux. The acid can cause severe damage to the esophagus leading to a stricture. Esophageal strictures are typically treated with ballooning procedures, which slowly dilate the esophageal wall. This process should be performed in several steps as overt acute dilation can lead to significant scar tissue formation and/or esophageal rupture, which can be life threatening. Procedures are typically performed every 5-7 days under general anesthesia and most patients are able to go home the same day. Dogs will typically require 3-4 ballooning procedures in order to achieve enough dilation that they can eat well. However, some dogs will require many more procedures. Unfortunately, it is impossible to predict how many procedures will be required because it depends on each dog or cat's body's ability to form scar tissue. If the stricture is severe enough, your veterinarian may also recommend feeding tube placement to make sure the patient is getting nutrients.

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Internal Medicine

What Is A Veterinary Internal Medicine Specialist? 

A board certified veterinary internal medicine specialist is a licensed veterinarian who has obtained intensive, additional training in understanding how your pet's internal body systems function and in diagnosing and treating the many serious diseases that can affect the health of those systems. An internal medicine specialist has advanced training in the following disciplines:

  • Endocrinology 
  • Gastroenterology
  • Hematology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Nephrology/Urology
  • Neurology
  • Respiratory Diseases

 

While your general practitioner veterinarian can diagnose and treat many health problems, certain diseases and conditions require the care of a doctor who has had specialized, intensive training in internal medicine in order to provide the very best outcome for your pet.

*Within the discipline of veterinary internal medicine, there are also veterinarians who specialize further in Cardiology, Neurology, and Oncology.

Why Does My Pet Need A Veterinary Internal Medicine Specialist? 

Just as your own primary care physician may feel the need to refer you to the care of a specialist from time to time, your general practitioner veterinarian may feel your pet needs a specialist to help diagnose or treat a particularly complicated medical problem. While your general practitioner veterinarian can handle many aspects of your pet's care, just as in human medicine, there is sometimes a need for the attention of a specialist. You can be assured that a veterinarian who knows when to refer you and your pet for more specialized diagnostic work or treatment is one that is caring and committed to ensuring that your pet receives the highest standard of medical care for his or her problem.

While in some cases, your veterinarian may be able to simply consult with a specialist about your pet's care, in other cases it is necessary to actually refer you and your pet to the specialist for more advanced diagnostics and treatment. Board certified veterinary internists may also have access to specialized diagnostic or treatment tools that a general practitioner veterinarian may not have.

What Health Problems Does A Veterinary Internal Medicine Specialist Treat?

Board certified internal medicine specialists are trained to treat the most serious diseases and health problems that affect pets. They are also especially prepared to care for pets that may be facing multiple health problems. Thanks to better health care, more and more pets are living longer lives. As a result, an increasing number of older pets, just like older people, are coping with multiple disease states that can be very difficult to manage. For example, a cat with diabetes may also be suffering from kidney failure, or a dog in heart failure may also be diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease. Internal medicine specialists are uniquely prepared to oversee the care of these complicated cases. In other situations, a younger animal may develop a problem that used to be considered untreatable but is now manageable and perhaps even curable.

Here are some common diseases that frequently lead general practitioner veterinarians and concerned pet owners to seek the expertise of an internal medicine specialist:

  • Gastrointestinal Diseases
  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • Immune Related Disorders
  • Kidney Dysfunction
  • Cushing's Disease
  • Respiratory Disorders
  • Liver Disorders
     

Will My Regular Veterinarian Still Be Involved? 

In many cases, your primary care veterinarian will still supervise your pet's veterinary care, especially if your pet is coping with multiple disease states or conditions. In other cases, your primary care veterinarian will take over the majority of your pet's medical care. It depends on your pet's particular disease and health problem. Your pet's primary care veterinarian is always able to communicate with our internal medicine specialists about your pet.

Did You Know? 

There are approximately 1400 board certified veterinary internal medicine specialists in the United States, and the number is growing.

Our Internal Medicine Services

Nutrition
Abdominocentesis
Arthrocentesis
Bronchoalveolar Lavage (BAL)

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