Why Veterinary Internal Medicine is Crucial to Your Pet’s Overall Health

There is nothing more important to a pet owner than keeping their furry companion in tip-top shape. After all, our pets are like family members, and we want them to be as healthy and happy as possible. While regular veterinary checkups and health care play a significant role in maintaining their health, there are times when more specialized care is necessary to identify and treat complex medical issues. This is where veterinary internal medicine plays a critical role.

Veterinary Internists: The Experts in Managing Complex Medical Conditions

A veterinary internist is a veterinarian with additional years of specialized training to address complex medical issues related to the internal organs and bodily systems. They work closely with your pet’s primary care veterinarian to provide accurate diagnoses and treatment plans. So, why would a pet owner need to consult a veterinary internist? Your primary care veterinarian may refer your pet to a veterinary internist when they require specialized care, or when more advanced diagnostic tests are needed to zero in on a specific ailment. For instance, if your pet has a persistent cough that does not resolve with standard treatments, this may be an indication of an underlying respiratory issue that requires the expertise of a veterinary internist.

Advanced Diagnostic Testing: Essential for Accurate Diagnosis and Treatment

Many times, it’s the advanced diagnostic testing and tools offered by internal medicine specialists that help uncover the root cause of a pet’s symptoms. These tests can include:

Diagnostic Ultrasound and Echocardiogram

Diagnostic ultrasound and echocardiogram are imaging techniques that use high-frequency sound waves to generate images of internal organs. While diagnostic ultrasound is typically used to evaluate the abdomen and thorax, an echocardiogram is geared towards examining the heart.

Ultrasound-guided Fine Needle Aspiration or Biopsy

This procedure uses an ultrasound to guide a small needle into an organ or mass to collect a sample for further evaluation.

Fluid Collection from Body Cavities

An example of this technique is abdominocentesis, which involves collecting fluid samples from the abdominal cavity to identify potential problems like liver disease or cancer.

Veterinary Dental Care

Another essential aspect of maintaining our pets’ overall health is routine dental care. Neglecting your pet’s dental health can lead to gum disease, tooth loss, and even infections spreading to other organs in the body. Like in humans, annual dental checkups and cleanings can help detect and prevent dental issues before they become a significant problem.

Affordable Pet Wellness Programs

Finding affordable pet wellness programs is essential to ensure our pets receive the necessary preventative veterinary services for dogs and cats. These programs usually include vaccinations, routine checkups, dental care, and even access to specialized care, such as internal medicine consultations, at a reduced cost.

Common Conditions Treated by Veterinary Internal Medicine Specialists

Let’s explore the types of medical conditions that can benefit from the expertise of a veterinary internal medicine specialist:

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.

Gastrointestinal Conditions

Inflammatory bowel disease, pancreatitis, and liver diseases are examples of conditions that affect the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. These ailments can significantly impact your pet’s overall health and well-being and may require specialized care to manage.

Cardiovascular Diseases

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

Veterinary Internal Medicine Consultations

A veterinary internal medicine consultation is when your pet’s primary care veterinarian collaborates with an internal medicine specialist to develop the best treatment plan for your pet. Whenever you visit this page, you can find more information about MissionVet’s internal medicine services, which can significantly improve your pet’s quality of life.

Respiratory Diseases

Asthma, pneumonia, and other respiratory conditions can impact your pet’s lifespan if not carefully managed. Veterinary internal medicine specialists can provide continuous oxygen therapy or ventilator breathing control when necessary.

Kidney Disease and Urinary System Disorders

Chronic kidney failure is common in older pets. Proper management and early detection can help delay and mitigate complications. On the other hand, urinary conditions, such as bladder stones and proteinuria, can recur or cause chronic issues without proper management.

Blood and Bone Marrow-Related Diseases

These diseases involve pet’s bone marrow and blood cell production and can lead to serious conditions, such as chronic anemia or leukemia. With specialty care from a veterinary internal medicine specialist, pets can receive effective treatment and management of these ailments.

Infectious Diseases

Infectious diseases, such as parvo or canine influenza, can spread quickly and often require aggressive treatment to prevent further transmission. Veterinary internal medicine specialists work in isolation wards and with highly-trained staff to minimize the risk of disease spreading.


Ultimately, veterinary internal medicine is crucial to your pet’s overall health. The expertise and advanced diagnostic tools provided by internal medicine specialists can help detect and treat complex medical conditions that may not be addressed through routine care. By working closely with your primary care veterinarian and being proactive in seeking specialized care for your beloved pet, you can ensure they live a long, happy, and healthy life.

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