Because our pets are not always able to communicate sources of pain and discomfort, the intervention of a specialist in internal medicine is vital to diagnose many complex illnesses affecting small animals.
- Evaluation and treatment of gastrointestinal, renal, hormonal, infectious, hematologic, inflammatory, metabolic and neoplastic diseases
- Evaluation and treatment for allergic, hormonal, infectious, immune-mediated and inflammatory diseases of the skin and ears.
- Abdominal ultrasounds
- Endoscopy, including foreign body retrieval
- Selected chemotherapy protocols
- Lymph node biopsy
- Bone marrow aspirates
- Aspiration or biopsy of select lesions and tumors
- Transtracheal washes
- Specialized laboratory testing for Endocrine disorders, GI, Renal, and Infectious diseases
The internal medicine specialty encompasses a wide range of diseases including those affecting the gastrointestinal, hepatic (liver), renal (kidneys), endocrine, neurologic, hematologic and the immune system as well as many infectious diseases.
Internists evaluate patients for a variety of clinical signs including decreased appetite, weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, sneezing, increased thirst, urinary abnormalities, anemia and seizures. An advanced endoscopy unit allows the internist to perform endoscopic procedures and biopsies for the diagnosis of gastrointestinal diseases.
Endoscopy is the use of fiber optic instruments to examine and often biopsy certain areas of the body. We most often use our endoscopy equipment to examine the upper portion of the digestive tract (gastroduodenoscopy) and/or the large intestine (colonoscopy).
Such patients may be evaluated because of a history of vomiting, diarrhea, blood in stool, poor appetite and weight loss. Occasionally other areas may require evaluation including the ear canals (otoscopy) or nasal cavity (rhinoscopy). Anesthesia is needed for endoscopic procedures in dogs and cats. Therefore preanesthetic studies including blood-work, x-rays and ultrasound may be necessary.
Pets will need to be hospitalized for a day and possibly overnight. A consultation will be scheduled with the internist to discuss the procedure prior to endoscopy being performed.
Ultrasound is a safe imaging modality that uses sound waves to see, measure and assess the internal organs. Ultrasounds are typically scheduled as appointments, but leaving the patient for the day can sometimes be arranged. An ultrasound examination is very useful for evaluating the abdominal organs including the bladder, kidneys, liver, spleen and GI tract in more detail than an x-ray.
The skilled ultrasonographer can evaluate the patient for the presence of an abdominal mass, enlarged lymph nodes or free fluid. The examination itself is essentially without risk and can be accomplished in most cases without sedation or anesthesia, taking about 20-40 minutes.
Patients should be fasted for the procedure if possible and not allowed to urinate just before the study. In select cases an aspirate or biopsy of an abnormal finding may be indicated.
Fluoroscopy is essentially an x-ray movie which allows the specialist to visualize certain internal structures as they move and function, not just as static images.
The Animal Medical Center of New England has a high-tech C-arm fluoroscopy unit that allows us to perform these specialized high detail radiographic studies. Swallowing disorders and tracheal problems are just two examples of when this modality can be very useful in evaluating the patient.
Finding out that your pet has cancer can be devastating. It is important to know that many types of cancer CAN now be cured or put into remission for longer periods of time then ever before.
Cancer treatment for animals should always focus on providing the animal with the highest possible quality of life for the longest amount of time possible.
There are many forms of chemotherapy agents that we use. It is important that the type of cancer and stage it is in be determined before treatment can begin. Once we have a diagnosis, our internal medicine specialist may then discuss a chemotherapy protocol for your pet.