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Lisa Assandri

Dr. Lisa Assandri
Veterinary Specialist
Internal Medicine
Dr. Lisa Assandri

At a Glance

Board Certified:

Internal Medicine

Born in Canada and raised in Texas, Dr. Lisa Assandri grew up to become a proud 'Aggie', receiving her DVM from Texas A & M University in 1991. Following completion in 1992 of an internship in small animal medicine and surgery at the University of Minnesota, she returned to Texas for some sunshine and one year of general small animal practice. In 1996, Dr. Assandri finished a three-year residency in internal medicine at the University of Illinois, becoming a specialist as a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine. Dr. Assandri is the author of several publications in veterinary internal medicine and has participated in research on congenital kidney disease in dogs.

Dr. Assandri's areas of special interest include diagnosis and treatment of liver, gastrointestinal, and kidney disease. She is proficient at and enjoys the use of endoscopy as a diagnostic tool in nasal, pulmonary, and gastrointestinal disease.

Following her residency, Dr. Assandri practiced for 10 years in southern California. She worked at several large specialty hospitals in the region. During the last 4 years of her time there, she established and partnered in her own specialty hospital, still functioning today as Pasadena Veterinary Specialists.

In 2006, Dr. Assandri and her family were looking for a more family friendly environment to put down roots and ended up here in Pittsburgh with VCA Northview Animal Hospital. She has grown to love the community and now considers it her home. She is married and has a son who keeps her busy with 'mom stuff'.

Dr. Assandri has a houseful of rescued pets of her own. Canine members include Joey, a lab mix from a West Virginia shelter, Molly, a sheltie adopted with a congenital heart defect (all fixed now!) and Hermione, born at the hospital to a stray dog. Henry the fat cat is the last adoptee from the streets of Los Angeles and his feline nemesis is Lucky from Pittsburgh. Just to keep things interesting, the family also includes James, a parrot, and Blaster the guinea pig. Dr. Assandri is too busy to have hobbies anymore, keeping busy with family life, but remembers enjoying skiing, traveling, swimming and motorcycling.

See our departments

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

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 Small Animal Medicine, 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 cancer. 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 a specialist:

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

Why Can't I See an Internal Medicine Specialist All the Time?

In some cases you can. In many practices, the 'general practitioner' veterinarian at a practice is also a boarded internal medicine specialist. General practice veterinarians, however, are also highly educated medical professionals who must meet ongoing continuing education requirements throughout their professional careers in order to maintain their licensure. When a specialist is needed, he or she is only a phone call or a visit away.

Will My Regular Veterinarian Still Be Involved?

In many cases, your regular 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 referral doctor will take over the majority of your pet's medical care. It depends on your pet's particular disease and health problem.

Did You Know?

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

VCA Northview Animal Hospital Specialty Referral Center

223 Siebert Road

Pittsburgh, PA 15237

Main: 412-364-5353

Fax: 412-364-5374

Hospital Hours:

    Mon-Fri: 8:00 am - 7:00 pm

    Sat: 8:00 am - 4:00 pm

    Sun: Closed

Other Hours:

Limited urgent care and emergency services available for VCA Northview clients. Please call ahead for emergency service availability.

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