VCA Veterinary Specialty Center of Seattle

Internal Medicine

VCA Veterinary Specialty Center's Internal Medicine department offers many different services and procedures, including:

  • Consultation on multiple internal medicine conditions, including:
  • Endocrine disease (Cushing's disease, diabetes, parathyroid disease, Addison's)
  • Gastrointestinal disease (chronic vomiting/diarrhea/weight loss, liver disease, pancreatic disorders)
  • Urinary tract disease (renal disease, bladder disease, recurrent urolithiasis)
  • Respiratory disease (chronic nasal disease, upper airway disease, pulmonary disease)
  • Hematology/immunology (immune mediated diseases, blood dyscrasias)
  • Infectious disease (bacterial, fungal, parasitic, or other systemic infections, Heartworm treatment)
  • Facilitation of multiple discipline or ultrasound referrals

Procedures offered:

  • Facilitation of Cushing's testing, ultrasound, blood pressure evaluation, glucose curves, parathyroid ultrasounds, and pituitary MRI
  • Full service gastrointestinal endoscopy (foreign body retrieval, upper and lower gastrointestinal endoscopy, colorectal polyp removal, esophageal ballooning, esophagostomy and PEG tube placement)
  • Vaginoscopy, cystoscopy, basket assisted retrieval of small bladder stones or biopsy of urinary neoplasia (in male and female dogs, female cats), collagen implantation for urinary incontinence, voiding urohydropropulsion, and intravenous urogram/evaluation of incontinent young dogs.
  • Rhinoscopy, nasal MRI, bronchoscopy, bronchoalveolar lavage
  • Bone marrow aspiration
  • Laparoscopic liver biopsy
  • Tracheal Stent Placement
  • Dynamic Swallow Studies

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.

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.

Can I make payments instead of having to pay at once?

Unfortunately, we do not offer payment plans. Payment is due at the time of service. We do offer Care Credit, a medical credit card, that offers a number of interest free and extended payment options.

You may apply at or in person at our hospital.

We also encourage you to explore the option of pet insurance or a medical savings account for your pet. Pet insurance plans still require you to pay the hospital up front and wait for reimbursement, so being prepared is key.

Do I need a referral from my regular veterinarian do see a specialists?

While we encourage you to always involve your regular veterinarian in the decision to seek specialty care, you are not required to have a referral in order to make an appointment. We will contact your veterinarian to obtain your pets recent medical records.

Whether you have been referred, are seeking a second opinion or are needing services your regular veterinarian doesn't provide, we would be happy to help.

Services Offered in Internal Medicine

Veterinarians in Internal Medicine


General Practice

We have over 600 animal hospitals in 41 states and 4 Canadian provinces that are staffed by more than 3,000 fully-qualified, dedicated and compassionate veterinarians, with more than 400 being board-certified specialists.

The nationwide VCA family of general practice hospitals give your pet the very best in medical care, providing a full range of general medical and surgical services as well as specialized treatments such as wellness, spay/neuter, advanced diagnostic services (MRI/CT Scan), internal medicine, oncology, ophthalmology, dermatology, cardiology, neurology, boarding, and grooming. Services may vary by location.

Our family of pet hospitals stands out by delivering the greatest resources in order provide the highest quality care available for your pets. By maintaining the highest standards of pet health care available anywhere, we emphasize prevention as well as healing. We provide continuing education programs to our doctors and staff and promote the open exchange of professional knowledge and expertise. And finally, we have established a consistent program of procedures and techniques, proven to be the most effective in keeping pets healthy.

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Emergency Care

In case of emergency, please call us immediately 425-697-6106

VCA Veterinary Specialty Center of Seattle is here for you and your pet 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. No matter what the time of day or night we have a veterinarian and vet techs here to answer your questions and provide you and your pet with care in an emergency situation. 

Our emergency service is designed to be an extension of the services provided by your primary care veterinarian. When your vet is not available, our doctors and nursing staff are here to provide the emergency care your pet needs. In addition to emergency services, we are able to provide intensive care for critically ill pets that have been referred by primary care veterinarians.

Many patients are treated as outpatients. Should your pet require ongoing care, we may recommend that you return to your primary care veterinarian when the day practice opens. For unstable patients in need of further evaluation, arrangements can be made for continued hospitalization and when needed, evaluation by one of our specialists.

Please click here to download a copy of our Pet Emergency Handbook