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Many pets are ailed with intestinal and metabolic disorders, cancer, and cardiac diseases that can frequently be hard to diagnose or medically manage. The dedicated and experienced team in Internal Medicine works closely with your regular veterinarian, often at their request, to diagnose and treat these ailments. Often paired with the advanced diagnostic tools such as ultrasound and endoscopy, Internal Medicine strives to obtain a complete picture of your pets health to create a unique treatment plan based on your pets individual needs. 

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:

  • Endoscopy
  • Endocrinology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Hematology (study of the blood)
  • Immune Mediated Disease
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Nephrology/Urology
  • Respiratory Diseases

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 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 veterinarian may feel your pet needs a specialist to help diagnose or treat a particularly complicated medical problem. 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 primary care 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 primary care veterinarians and concerned pet owners to seek the expertise of a specialist:

  • Infectious Disease
  • Endocrine disorders
  • 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. Primary care 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.

Our Internal Medicine Team

Veterinary Assistant Department Lead
Veterinary Specialist

Our Internal Medicine Services

Abdominocentesis
Arthrocentesis
Bronchoalveolar Lavage (BAL)
Bronchoscopy
Colonoscopy
Cystoscopy
Diagnosis and Medical Management of Liver Shunts
Endo or Trans-Tracheal Washing
Endoscopy Foreign Body Removal (esophageal, airway, gastric)
Esophageal Stricture Management, Including Ballooning
Esophagoscopy
Gastroduodenoscopy
Radioactive Iodine Therapy for Feline Hyperthyroidism
Rhinoscopy
Supplemental Feeding Tube Placement & Management
Thoracocentesis
Tracheal Stent Placement
Urethral Stent Placement

Looking for The Referral Form?

What Do I Bring to my Referral Appointment?

Be sure to bring any relevant medical records or information to your first appointment. Ask your veterinarian for copies of any relevant medical tests, imaging studies, x-rays, or laboratory panels.

Remember, you also can do your part to maximize your pet's recovery by keeping your pet's traveling medical records organized and by strictly adhering to the recommendations of your veterinary team for the scheduling of follow up appointments, etc. At every appointment, be sure to write down any important recommendations, or ask the veterinarian or a staff member to write them down for you.
 

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