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Nutrition is an important part of every pet’s overall health plan. In order to meet nutrient requirements, pet owners should feed a complete and balanced diet that is appropriate for their pets’ species and life stage. In addition, pet owners can improve quality of life and prolong lifespan by maintaining an ideal weight and body condition for their pets. At each visit, veterinarians can perform nutritional assessments and make recommendations for appropriate diets to meet healthy pets’ needs.

Nutrition can also play a role in management of a number of health conditions, including chronic kidney disease, gastrointestinal problems, pancreatitis, and urinary stones. Ask your veterinarian about whether a special diet is recommended as part of your pet’s medical plan.

For more complex cases, particularly for pets with multiple medical issues or pets fed home-cooked diets, it can be helpful to consult with a veterinary nutritionist. Our hospital’s veterinary nutrition specialist offers nutrition consultations locally and for pets across the country. Nutrition services include general nutritional counseling, commercial diet recommendations, home-cooked diet recipe formulation, nutritional supplement recommendations, and more. For more information, please visit www.VCAnutrition.com.

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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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