We are committed to caring for your pet – while maintaining the highest level of safety for our Associates and pet owners. We thank you for your continued patience and support. 
Read More

Unfortunately, dogs will commonly ingest foreign bodies which can become lodged in the airway, esophagus, or stomach. Some of these foreign bodies may pass and become stuck in the small intestines as well. This can be life-threatening.

Airway foreign bodies:

Uncommonly, dogs can inhale foreign bodies that may become stuck in their nose or lungs. Nasal foreign bodies can be difficult to diagnose. Rhinoscopy (evaluation of the nasal cavity with a camera) can be used. It is especially important to look at the back of the nasal cavity (called nasopharyngeal area). Cats can also vomit hairballs or other objects that may become lodged in this area. Additionally, foreign bodies can be inhaled and go directly to the lungs. The most common culprit is grass awns. These foreign bodies are most likely successfully removed when diagnosed early on. Over time, excessive mucus secretion will "hide" foreign objects in the airways. At this point, these foreign objects are only able to be removed via thoracic surgery after being identified via CT scan. Occasionally, dogs and cats can inhale foreign objects into their lungs and develop significant respiratory distress. These cases are considered emergencies and should be addressed as soon as possible.

Esophageal foreign bodies:

Esophageal foreign bodies are considered an emergency because the foreign body will cause significant damage to the esophagus over time. Very serious damage can occur within hours depending on the foreign body composition, its size, size of patient, and location lodged.
Side-effects of esophageal foreign bodies include severe esophagitis, perforation of the esophagus and development of esophageal strictures in the future.
Esophageal strictures lead to the inability to eat because food often times does not pass through the stricture site. Decreased appetite and regurgitation as well as retching and excessive salivation are common clinical signs. Treatment of this complication is esophageal stricture ballooning, which is laborious and often times unsuccessful. Surgery is recommended in cases where the foreign body is not able to be removed endoscopically. This is considered the last resort because thoracic surgery is necessary and subsequent esophageal stricture is common.

Gastric foreign bodies:

Removal of gastric foreign bodies is not as urgent as esophageal foreign bodies. However, gastric foreign bodies can cause significant damage to the stomach lining, systemic illness such as breakdown of red blood cells (penny ingestion) or toxin absorption, as well as obstruction of the gastrointestinal tract. Abdominal surgery is required once the intestines become obstructed.

See our departments

Internal Medicine

Welcome to VCA Aurora's Internal Medicine Service

Internal medicine specialists are often considered the puzzle solvers of veterinary medicine. Internal medicine specialists have 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 those systems' health. 

An internal medicine specialist has advanced training in the following disciplines:

  • Endocrinology 
  • Cardiology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Hematology (study of the blood)
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Nephrology/Urology
  • Neurology
  • Respiratory Diseases
  • Oncology

Here are some common diseases that frequently lead primary care veterinarians and concerned pet owners to seek the expertise of a specialist:

  • Cancer
  • Hepatic 
  • Heart Disease
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases
  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • Immune-Related Disorders
  • Kidney Dysfunction

While your primary care 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 veterinary internal medicine, there are also veterinarians who specialize further in Small Animal Medicine, Cardiology, Neurology, and Oncology.

Why Does My Pet Need A Veterinary Internal Medicine Specialist? 

While your primary care 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 Do I Bring To My Appointment:

Please complete this form prior to your appointment with Internal Medicine, and bring it with you to your appointment. Be sure to bring any medications that your pet is currently receiving. 

Download Internal Medicine Intake Form

No need to bring your pets medical records. We will contact your primary care veterinarian to obtain all medical records and any medical tests, imaging studies, x-rays, or laboratory tests. 

We look forward to seeing you soon!

How Long Is My First Initial Consultation:

Initial consults are 45-60 minutes in length. If additional diagnostic or therapeutic treatment is required, your pet may require hospitalization or additional appointments. 

Your Pet's First Internal Medicine Consultation: 

All new patients are expected to arrive 10-15 minutes prior to their appointment start time to allow sufficient time to complete the check-in process.

After completing the check-in paperwork, a specialized trained internal medicine technician will meet with you and your pet in an examination room. During this time, the internal medicine technician will perform a full physical examination and ask questions about your pet's current symptoms, health, and medications. 

Shortly after discussing your pet's health with an internal medicine technician, you will meet with your pet's Internist, Dr. Curran, Dr. Medinger, or Dr. Middleton. While discussing your pet's symptoms, the Internist will perform a full physical examination. It may seem like you are answering several questions, but this information helps the Internist develop a unique treatment plan for your pet. 

Your Internist will discuss the treatment recommendations and answer any of your questions. If your Internist recommends diagnostic testing, an internal medicine technician will go over a detailed treatment plan and let you know if the tests could be done that same day. 

At the visit's conclusion, an internal medicine technician will discuss discharge instructions and walk you upfront to the checkout desk. The Internal Medicine department does recommend scheduling your follow-up appointment at this time. If you have any questions regarding your pet's recovery, never hesitate to call and ask to speak to the Internal Medicine service.

Our Internal Medicine Services

Internal Medicine Overview
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

Looking for The Referral Form?

Loading... Please wait