Internal Medicine: Helping Solve Challenging Pet Problems.
Just like humans, pets can develop illnesses requiring the specific expertise and knowledge base of an internal medicine professional. The internal medicine department at VREC is committed to providing comprehensive care for your pet. Our internal medicine doctors are qualified to diagnose and treat everything inside your pet’s body – vital organs, blood disorders, infectious diseases, metabolic diseases, endocrine diseases, gastrointestinal diseases, and more. The Internal Medicine department employs the use of minimally-invasive tools and techniques such as ultrasound and endoscopy to reduce your pet’s time in the hospital.
Some clients schedule a consultation to confirm a previous diagnosis and treatment regimen, while others want diagnostics and medical management for a complicated condition. Our Internal Medicine department frequently sees cases that include issues involving anemia or other bleeding disorders, chronic vomiting or diarrhea, coughing or breathing problems, acquired heart diseases, endocrine diseases (adrenal tumors, diabetes, thyroid disorders), infectious diseases, kidney or bladder diseases, liver diseases, and unexplained weight loss. Our internists can also diagnose and manage cancer and degenerative heart diseases.
When follow-up care is indicated, we will work closely with your primary veterinarian to continue to meet the needs of you and your pet. The goal of our dedicated staff is to provide heartfelt care and support and to enrich the bond between you and your pet.
Why would my pet need to see an internal medicine clinician?
An internist may routinely perform internal medicine procedures that are uncommon or unavailable to your primary veterinarian, such as:
- Advanced laboratory testing
- Ultrasound-guided aspirates
- Bone marrow aspiration or biopsy
- Feeding tube placement
- Tru-cut biopsies
- Digital radiography
- Tracheal wash
When Oliver began experiencing stomach issues, his owners trusted VREC to perform internal medicine tests and treatment plans to provide him the quality of life he deserves.
Endoscopy & Ultrasound
Our Internal Medicine department employs the use of endoscopy and ultrasounds. Endoscopy is a procedure that can sometimes eliminate the need for invasive surgery during gastric foreign body emergencies or for obtaining tissue samples for biopsy testing. Endoscopes are flexible or rigid tubes that contain a camera and channels that allow instruments to be passed through. Endoscopy is the use of this specialized equipment to evaluate the interior of a hollow organ or cavity in a minimally-invasive manner.
An ultrasound procedure is a non-invasive imaging technique that allows the veterinarians to see internal body structures by usage of harmless ultrasonic waves. This procedure is typically performed to evaluate liver, gall bladder, small intestine, pancreas, colon, peritoneum, spleen, prostate/uterus, kidney, adrenal gland, or lymph node concerns. Ultrasounds are painless and infrequently require us to administer sedatives or anesthesia. If necessary, we may perform an ultrasound-guided biopsy to obtain tissue for examination. Biopsy tests may require sedation or anesthesia. In many cases, ultrasounds or ultrasound guided biopsies eliminate the need for a major surgery, making your pet’s recovery time shorter.
Internal Medicine FAQ
How long do consultations take?
Most internal medicine consultations average approximately one and a half to two hours. To make the most of your consultation, please bring any records from your veterinarian which should include recent medical history, lab work, radiographs (x-rays), and a list of current medications. This information may be e-mailed or faxed to us prior to your scheduled appointment.
What is involved in an abdominal ultrasound – and will my pet need sedation?
All that is required of your pet is the ability to lie relatively still on their side with minimal restraint. Their abdomen will be shaved and ultrasound gel will be used to allow the ultrasounic waves to penetrate abdominal organs without interference. The gel is non-toxic and water-soluble so it will not stain or harm you or your pet if ingested. Most animals do not require sedation or anesthesia for an ultrasound.
It is in your pet’s best interest that you not be present during the ultrasound. Animals can pick up on their owner’s anxiety, making it difficult for them to remain still. It is also important for the internist to be able to concentrate while performing an ultrasound.
Why does my pet need an ultrasound if they have had x-rays taken?
Unlike x-rays, ultrasounds give a real-time view, enabling us to visualize the internal architecture and vessels of organs. Additional structures, such as lymph nodes, can be seen on ultrasound but not on radiographs.
My pet already had an ultrasound. Why might they need another one?
An ultrasound is a real-time capture that allows the internist to obtain various views of the abdominal organs. It captures dynamic changes that occur with blood flow and respiration, so it is extremely important that our doctors have the opportunity to perform this test because the subtlest movements of the ultrasound probe can alter an image. Our doctors have specific training and years of experience that allows them to find subtle abnormalities.
When will I receive ultrasound results?
The doctor will review the results of the ultrasound upon completion.