What is Veterinary Internal Medicine?
Being proactive is one way for prevention of a more severe illness or to catch a severe problem before it becomes worse. Keeping your pet healthy is your responsibility from the moment you become their owner. Some diseases and conditions that can be prevented are gum disease, obesity, and heartworm disease. Some of the things you can do as preventive medicine are the following:
- An annual or bi-annual wellness exam
- Yearly or as needed vaccinations
- Parasite prevention year round
- As needed dental cleanings
- Weight management regimens
But even with preventive care, sometimes your pet can become ill and will need to see a veterinary internal medicine specialist.
What is an Internal Veterinary Specialist?
Small Animal Veterinary Internal Medicine
- Hepatology, which covers liver and pancreatic disease
- Gastroenterology, which covers esophageal, intestinal and stomach disease
- Endocrinology, which covers hormonal disorders
- Nephrology, which covers kidney disease
- Urology, which covers urinary tract disease
- Infectious diseases
- Respiratory medicine, which includes the nose, airway and lung disease
- Immunology and hematology which covers immune and blood-related disease
- diabetes, hypothyroidism, and hyperthyroidism
- tick-borne and fungal diseases which are infectious
- a hematological disease like anemia
- chronic hepatitis, and inflammatory bowel disease
- acute or chronic kidney failure
- bronchitis, asthma, and pneumonia
- fever of an unknown origin
The routine procedures that are performed by a veterinary internist include high-resolution ultrasonography of the cervical, thoracic and abdomen. Fine-needle aspiration of the upper and lower gastroenterostomy, placement of feeding tubes, rhinoscopy, and foreign body retrieval. They also perform bronchoscopy and bronchoalveolar lavage, bone marrow aspiration, core biopsy, joint taps, and laparoscopic liver biopsies.
Sometimes a health problem can include any of these procedures which can be advanced, effective and even non-invasive depending on what is wrong with your pet. These would include endoscopy which is a foreign body removal, surgery or pet laser therapy which is for pain management. Also, there are dental cleanings to avoid plaque forming and medication for the treatment of diseases.
What to Expect During a Veterinary Internal Medicine Visit
The cost of an internal veterinary specialist
Some pet owners look to health insurance to help pay the fees. With pet health insurance, you can see any vet you want. There isn’t any in network or out of network doctors. You would pay the full cost of the visit and treatment and then submit the claim to the pet insurance company to be reimbursed. There are different companies and policies which different deductibles, copays, caps, and exclusions. This can limit the number of payouts by the year, by the incident or the length of your pet’s life.
One thing to remember is that a pre-existing condition won’t be covered by a pet insurance company. For instance, if your pet had been diagnosed with cancer, they won’t be covered for treatment if the policy is bought after the diagnosis.
Many insurance policies may cover between 70% to 90% of whatever treatment your pet needs after the deductible. Each insurance company handles chronic conditions differently, and you’ll have to check to see whichever one you chose handles theirs.
Deciding to enlist a veterinary internal medicine specialist to help with your pet’s health is a personal decision. For many pet owners, it comes down to the quality of life their pet has left, along with the quality of care.