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.

Veterinary Specialists of the Valley is proud to offer the highest quality of veterinary Internal Medicine. Our team of Internists is led by Debra Rackear, DVM, DACVIM, who has been practicing for over 20 years! Our Board Certified Internist associate Dr.Brian Norman, DVM, DACVIM, is highly credentialed to bring your special pet cutting edge care with compassion.

What is Internal Medicine?

The specialized area of veterinary medicine known as €œInternal 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 Team

Frequently Asked Questions

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.
 

Contact Us

818-883-8387

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