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Ultrasound studies are most helpful to evaluate soft tissue and fluid structures. Energy in the form of sound waves is passed into the body. Reflected sound waves returning to the probe are used to create an image of the internal organs. Moving organs may be evaluated during motion, such as the beating heart, flowing blood and contracting intestines. Gastrointestinal foreign material may be identified on an ultrasound exam when it is not apparent on radiographs. While radiographs are useful to assess organ size and overall shape, an ultrasound exam allows for evaluation of the organ architecture and blood supply. Ultrasound examinations are commonly performed on the abdomen, thorax, neck, eyes and soft tissue structures of the head, trunk and legs. In addition to assessment of organ architecture, ultrasound examination is helpful to identify free fluid within a body cavity (i.e., thorax and abdomen).

Ultrasound Guided Aspirate and Core Biopsy, Including Abdominocentesis And Thoracocentesis

Following assessment of an organ and the surrounding structures, ultrasound imaging is used to guide needle placement into a selected tissue or cavity. A sample of tissue or fluid may be drawn through the needle as an aspirate to analyze the cells or other contents of the sample (cytology and microbiology). A larger needle may be used to retrieve a small piece of solid tissue for a core-biopsy to analyze the architecture of the tissue (histopathology). Ultrasound guidance is commonly used to removing fluid from the chest cavity (thoracocentesis) and abdominal cavity (abdominocentesis).
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Internal Medicine

What is a Veterinary Specialist? How are they different from my family veterinarian?

In addition to completing undergraduate training and four years of veterinary school, Board-certified Veterinary Specialists are similar to their human medical counterparts in that they have completed an internship and residency in their specialized field (an additional 3-5 years training).

In addition to this extensive training, a Board-certified Veterinary Specialist must pass rigorous examinations to achieve Board certification from the ACVIM. Specialists bring a greater understanding in the area of internal medicine, cardiology, oncology, or neurology, and have a greater knowledge of the unusual, the uncommon, or rare in small animals. In addition, a Specialist may have diagnostic equipment not generally used by your family veterinarian.

What is Internal Medicine?

The specialized area of veterinary medicine known as Internal Medicine is primarily dedicated to diseases of the internal systems of animals, but may on occasion involve the skin or eyes.

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, are coping with multiple disease states that can be very difficult to manage.

What Health Problems Does A Veterinary Internal Medicine Specialist Treat?
Why does my animal need to see a Board-certified Small Animal Internist?


Commonly called Internists, these Specialists focus on diagnosing and treating diseases of the internal systems. Where the diagnosis is known, an Internist may confirm the diagnosis and treatment, providing piece of mind. If a diagnosis is proving elusive or therapy is not proving effective, the Internist may be better able to find the diagnosis or adjust treatment plans to get your animal back to health. Examples of conditions for which your family veterinarian might refer your animal to an Internist are:

  • Anemia or other bleeding disorders
  • Chronic vomiting or diarrhea
  • Complicated pancreatic disease
  • Coughing & other breathing problems
  • Endocrine disease (adrenal tumors, complicated diabetes, thyroid disorders)
  • Infectious disease
  • Kidney or bladder disease
  • Liver inflammation
  • Unexplained weight loss


What should I expect during a visit with a Board-certified Small Animal Internist?

The Internist will perform a complete and thorough physical examination of your animal, and based on these initial findings, additional tests will be discussed. Depending on your animal's condition, diagnostic testing or treatments may include:

  • Advanced laboratory testing of various tissue and blood samples.
  • Diagnostic Imaging - ultrasound, radiography (x-rays), CT scans, MRIs
  • Biopsies of masses, internal organs, or bone marrow
  • Endoscopy - bronchoscopy (lungs), cystoscopy (bladder & urethra), colonoscopy (colon & small bowel), gastroduodenoscopy (stomach & upper intestines), rhinoscopy (nasal cavity), laparoscopy (minimally invasive surgery for biopsies of internal organs)
  • Feeding tube placement
  • Nutrition consultations

How Does a Veterinary Internist Diagnose My Pet's Problem?

A specialist in Internal Medicine has advanced training and specialized equipment to diagnose and treat complex medical problems.After careful review of your pet's medical records and discussion with your family veterinarian and you, your doctor will discuss with you the need for further diagnostic testing, if any. Our state of the art facility allows us to diagnose challenging medical problems through:

Ultrasound

  • Abdominal
  • Ultrasound guided fine needle aspirates
  • Ultrasound guided biopsies
  • Echocardiography


Endoscopy for gastrointestinal disorders and respiratory problems, including:

  • Gastroduodenoscopy
  • Colonoscopy
  • Bronchoscopy
  • Rhinoscopy
  • Cystoscopy
  • PEG tubes

Bone marrow aspirates for hematological assessment

Biopsy needles for less invasive biopsies of masses and some internal organs

Blood pressure determinations for detecting both hypertension and low pressures

CT scans of the abdomen and chest

What Happens After My Pet Has a Diagnosis?

After we have arrived at a diagnosis, we can discuss issues such as treatment, prognosis, quality of life and other issues. If your pet requires hospitalization, our 24 hour intensive care unit can provide round the clock doctor and nursing care, including:

  • Advanced life support
  • Surgical & non-surgical feeding tubes for nutritional support
  • Infusion pumps for constant infusions of vital medications,
  • Oxygen supplementation,
  • Blood gas monitoring as well as around the clock monitoring of other blood parameters and blood pressure

Our Internal Medicine Services

Abdominocentesis
Arthrocentesis
Bronchoalveolar Lavage (BAL)
Bronchoscopy

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