What Is A Veterinary Internal Medicine Specialist?
Like people, animals can develop a variety of illnesses requiring the skilled expertise of a knowledgeable, board-certified internal medicine specialist. At VCA Sacramento Veterinary Referral Center, our board-certified internists have extensive training, including specialized internships and residencies, and must pass rigorous examinations to achieve this certification. Internal Medicine specialists are trained to treat 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 health problems 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.
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. There are approximately 2000 board-certified veterinary internal medicine specialists in the United States, and the number is growing.
Our internal medicine specialists have advanced training in the following disciplines:
- Endocrinology (hormonal diseases)
- Gastroenterology (diseases of the stomach, intestine, liver pancreas)
- Hematology (study of the blood)
- Immunology (diseases of the immune system)
- Infectious Diseases
- Nephrology/Urology (diseases of the kidney and bladder)
- Respiratory Diseases (diseases of the lung)
What Health Problems Does A Veterinary Internal Medicine Specialist Treat?
Following are some common diseases that Veterinary Internal Medicine specialists often treat:
- Heart Disease
- Gastrointestinal Diseases
- Diabetes Mellitus
- Immune Related Disorders
- Kidney Dysfunction
At VCA Sacramento Veterinary Referral Center, our compassion, our multidisciplinary team approach and our advanced technology help to ensure the very best care for your pet.
In addition to your internal medicine specialist, our hospital has a team of specialists, including surgery, oncology, and critical care, as well as a wide range of other specialists, who can assist in the treatment and care of your pet. VCA Sacramento Veterinary Referral Center prides itself on professional leadership, thorough diagnostics, state-of-the-art equipment, exceptional patient care and client service. Our team approach is to emphasize active collaboration within the department and with other specialty services to form a comprehensive plan for diagnosis and treatment. We believe that a strong mix of compassion and competence enhances service to our clients and their pets.
When to Consult 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.
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. VCA Sacramento Veterinary Referral Center's board-certified veterinary internists utilize technologically advanced diagnostic equipment and highly specialized treatment tools that a general practitioner veterinarian may not have. Among others, our diagnostic tests and services include:
- Comprehensive physical examinations
Endoscopy with high-resolution video of the:
- Upper GI (Gastroduodenoscopy)
- Lower GI (Colonoscopy)
- Nose (Rhinoscopy)
- Lungs (Bronchoscopy)
- Bladder (Cystoscopy)
- Advanced abdominal ultrasound
- Noninvasive biopsy in aspiration
- Ultrasound-guided techniques
- Feeding tube placement
- CT scans
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.
Meet our Internal Medicine Specialists
Frequently Asked Questions
- 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.
Services Offered in Internal Medicine
- Blood chemistry analyzer
- Coagulation analyzer
- Hematology analyzer
- In-house STAT laboratory
- Abdominal ultrasonography-abdominocentesis and cystocentesis
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
- Computed Tomography (CT scanning)
- Digital radiography
- Doppler ultrasound studies
- Ultrasound-guided fine needle aspiration
- Ultrasound-guided biopsy
- Transfusion therapy
- Continuous ECG monitoring and telemetry
- Pulse oximetry and end tidal capnography
- Cardiac output monitoring
- Direct blood pressure monitoring
- Bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL)
- Diagnosis and medical management of liver shunts
- Endoscopy foreign body removal (esophageal, airway, gastric)
- Coil embolization of intra-hepatic shunts
- Radiologically inserted gastrostomy tube placement
- Drain insertions
- CT scan (brain, bullae, skull, spine)
- Bone Marrow Aspirate
- Cancer Staging
- Advanced anesthetic monitoring
- Bone Biopsy
- Tissue biopsies