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Why Would My Pet Need to See a Veterinary Internal Medicine Specialist?

Veterinarians with a Golden Retriever

Your pet’s body is composed of a complex network of systems that work together to keep it functioning properly. Often, a problem develops in one area, and affects other body functions, and the ensuing complex signs can be challenging to interpret. And, while some conditions can be cured, chronic diseases often require life-long management to maintain a good quality of life for pets. For these reasons, internal medicine is one of the broadest, most comprehensive veterinary medicine specialties. When baseline diagnostic testing fails to diagnose a sick pet, traditional treatments fail to adequately manage disease, or a condition simply does not respond to therapy, a veterinary internist can help get to the root of the problem.

Veterinary internists are trained to evaluate every aspect of a pet’s history and clinical findings to determine the most appropriate diagnostics and therapy, based on the entire clinical picture. If your pet has a complex medical condition, MissionVet’s internal medicine team will partner with your primary care veterinarian to accurately diagnose and treat the problem, so your pet can continue living their best life.

Advanced diagnostic testing for pets

Pets develop many of the same complex medical problems as people, and diagnosing these conditions requires the same advanced tools and equipment used at large human hospitals. Although your pet’s primary care veterinarian can perform many diagnostics, challenging cases often require more advanced equipment and tests, or a specialist’s expertise. At MissionVet, we can collaborate with your primary care veterinarian to provide a variety of specialized diagnostics, including:

  • Diagnostic ultrasound of the abdomen and thorax

  • Echocardiogram ultrasound examination of the heart

  • Ultrasound-guided fine needle aspiration or biopsy

  • Fluid collection from body cavities, such as abdominocentesis, thoracocentesis, and pericardiocentesis

  • Endoscopic evaluation of the gastrointestinal (GI), urinary, and respiratory tracts

  • Bone marrow sampling

  • Advanced imaging, including digital X-ray, computed tomography (CT), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

  • Radiographic contrast studies

  • Fluoroscopy

Complex disease management for pets

Some pets develop diseases that are unusual or difficult to manage, or complications that require more advanced therapy and monitoring. In addition to their skill and expertise, our internal medicine specialists are able to collaborate with other specialists, such as veterinary neurologists or oncologists, at MissionVet or other hospitals, to develop the best treatment plan for your pet. 

Common conditions that our internal medicine department can treat include:

  • Endocrine diseases— Diseases involving hormone production and control, such as diabetes, Cushing’s disease, Addison’s disease, and thyroid conditions, can be challenging to manage, as many external factors influence hormone levels.

  • GI conditions— Conditions of the GI tract, such as pancreatitis, inflammatory bowel disease, and liver disease, can cause a multitude of problems throughout the body that require careful management.

  • Cardiovascular diseases— Cardiovascular diseases, such as heart failure and hypertension, often require intensive monitoring and frequent evaluation with advanced tools, such as cardiac ultrasound, to maintain proper function and prevent complications. 

  • Respiratory diseases—Asthma, pneumonia, and other respiratory conditions can interfere with a pet’s vital oxygen levels if not carefully managed. We can provide continuous oxygen therapy, or ventilator breathing control, if necessary.

  • Kidney disease— Kidney failure is a common disease that typically affects older pets, and proper management can afford them months, or years, they would not otherwise have.

  • Urinary system disorders— Some urinary conditions, such as bladder stones and proteinuria, can recur or cause chronic issues without proper management. 

  • Blood and bone marrow-related diseases— Your pet’s bone marrow produces their various blood cell types, and a marrow-related problem can cause serious conditions, such as chronic anemia or leukemia, that require specialty care.

  • Infectious diseases— Because of their contagious nature and often devastating effects, aggressive therapies are frequently warranted to treat infectious diseases, such as parvo or canine influenza. In addition, our specialty hospital has an isolation ward with designated staff who have been trained to prevent disease spread.

We believe that advanced medicine should be available to help every pet overcome disease, no matter how complex or challenging, and live a full life, and our internal medicine department plays a vital role in that mission. Contact us to discuss whether our internal medicine specialists can help diagnose or manage your pet’s challenging condition.