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Feeding tubes are utilized to administer nutrients into the anorexic patient and combat the negative side effects of malnutrition. Feeding tubes can be placed as a temporary or long term aid in the feeding of pets that cannot or will not eat due to a variety of diseases or conditions. These tubes can be placed into either the esophagus or the stomach and can be utilized for short or long term use. Management of the tubes and a feeding plan are formulated by our veterinarians specifically for your pet.

Nasoesophageal & Nasogastric Tubes

Nasoesophageal tubes (NE Tubes) and Nasogastric tubes (NG Tubes) are placed in patients that are hospitalized and require short term nutritional supplementation. A sterile feeding tube is placed through a nostril and down into either the esophagus or stomach and is then sutured into place. These tubes are minimally expensive and require little to no sedation to place depending on the patient. Liquid diets are administered through the tube via a constant rate infusion in hospital for nutritional support. Nasogastric tubes can also be utilized in patients with motility disorders to aspirate gastric fluid accumulation as well. NE and NG tubes are not intended for long term management and patients are not able to leave the hospital with them in place. These tubes have minimal risk of complications and are easy to remove.

Esophagostomy Tubes

Esophagostomy tubes (E tubes) are utilized for long term nutritional support in the anorexic patient and allow owner's to feed their pet a blended canned diet through the tube at home. Esophagostomy tubes are placed under general anesthesia through a surgical incision in the side of the neck. The tube in placed into the esophagus and is held in place by skin sutures and a fabric collar that secures around the neck. Esophagostomy tubes are placed fairly quickly can be placed in conjunction with other surgical procedures that may be needed. It is typically recommended for a patient to stay in the hospital overnight to ensure they tolerate their first few feedings through the tube before going home. A blended canned diet is formulated for owner's to feed at home depending on the pet's medical history. Most liquid medications can also be administered easily through the tube as well. Complications include displacement due to vomiting or removal by the patient and skin infection around the incision site. Most patients can live a normal life at home and start eating on their own while the tube is in place. Daily cleaning of the incision site is recommended to avoid infection and maintain the incision site sutures. These tubes are easily removed and incision sites heal very quickly on their own.

Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy Tubes (PEG Tubes)

Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy Tubes (PEG tubes) are utilized for long term nutritional supplementation in patients with esophageal disease (megaesophagus, esophagitis, or esophageal strictures). With a PEG tube we are able to completely bypass the esophagus in patients with these diseases and provide nutritional support directly to the stomach. PEG tubes are typically made of silicone and are placed while under general anesthesia with endoscopic guidance (larger breed dogs do require surgical placement). It is recommended that patients stay hospitalized overnight to ensure that a stoma forms and they tolerate their first few tube feedings. These tubes can be utilized for the rest of a patient's life if needed unlike other feeding tubes. Placement and management of these feeding tubes can have more risks associated with them. A blended canned diet can be fed at home via the PEG tube which will be formulated by a veterinary to meet your pet's caloric needs. Patients can begin eating on their own while the tube is in place as well. Depending on the time length the tube is in place for they sometimes require general anesthesia and endoscopic guidance for removal.
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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

Bronchoalveolar Lavage (BAL)

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