February 6, 2020
East End Veterinary Center’s internal medicine department focuses on the evaluation, management, and treatment of acute and chronic diseases that can affect your pet’s major body systems. We partner with your family veterinarian to provide the best veterinary care available for complicated conditions, and our board-certified veterinary internists use cutting-edge diagnostic procedures to diagnose the most challenging medical cases. Here is a glimpse into our internal medicine department, and some of the tools we use to help diagnose and treat veterinary patients.
Ultrasound for Pets
An ultrasound produces sound waves that bounce off internal structures, are received by the unit, and translated into an image on a screen. It is noninvasive and painless for the patient. Many times, ultrasound can detect disease in pets that are sick but have normal blood tests, and even in pets that are not showing any signs of illness yet. The operator can see your pet’s internal organs such as the liver, kidneys, and spleen. We can evaluate the structure and look for abnormalities such as masses. In many cases, samples of cells, fluid, or tissue can be collected non-invasively to obtain a diagnosis. Ultrasound also allows us to diagnose and monitor many complicated diseases, without making surgical incisions to directly view internal structures.
Endoscopy for Pets
An endoscope contains a high-density camera mounted on the end of a flexible or rigid tube that can be inserted into your pet’s normal body openings, such as her mouth or nose, or through an incision into a body cavity, such as the abdomen or thorax. The camera transmits to a digital screen real-time images that help us diagnose disease or perform minimally invasive surgery. If your pet needs an endoscopic procedure, she will be anesthetized; however, each procedure is short, and she will be awake and on her feet again quickly. Our internal medicine department can perform several different endoscopic procedures, including:
- Upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy — During an upper GI study, an endoscope is introduced through your pet’s mouth, advanced down her esophagus, and possibly into her stomach, allowing us to examine the upper GI tract. Upper GI endoscopy can be used to diagnose esophageal and stomach conditions, grasp and remove ingested foreign bodies, and collect diagnostic tissue samples.
- Lower GI endoscopy — We can also visualize your pet’s lower intestines to examine abnormal growths and collect tissue samples.
- Cystoscopy — A small endoscope can be inserted into your pet’s bladder through her urethra to examine her bladder surface, identify abnormally located ureters, and biopsy bladder masses.
- Rhinoscopy — Pets with chronic nasal discharge may benefit from rhinoscopy, or endoscopic nasal cavity examination. Abnormalities such as nasal polyps and foreign bodies can be identified.
- Bronchoscopy — An endoscope can be passed through your pet’s airways to examine her trachea, bronchi, and lower airways, and is commonly used to perform a bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) on pets who experience chronic coughing or difficulty breathing. During a BAL, a small amount of sterile saline is injected through the endoscope into the airway, suctioned back up, and microscopically examined and cultured to identify the cause of your pet’s airway disease.
Advanced Diagnostic Imaging for Pets
One advantage of a large specialty hospital is the collaboration between our many departments and board-certified veterinary specialists. For example, our internal medicine department often works with the diagnostic imaging department to diagnose a variety of health conditions using state-of-the-art equipment, such as:
- Digital radiography — A digital radiography unit takes X-rays that are instantaneously transmitted as a digital image to a computer screen instead of printing a film. Digital X-rays can easily be sent to other veterinarians to collaborate on a case, and to your family veterinarian to keep her up-to-date on your pet’s progress.
- Computed tomography (CT) — X-rays provide good bony detail, but often do not provide adequate soft-tissue detail to help us reach a diagnosis. A CT scan takes images of a body area in slices that are reconstructed to a three-dimensional image that provides superior detail of both soft-tissue and bony structures. CT scans have a variety of uses, such as pinpointing a mass or lesion’s exact location, examining the lungs for cancer metastasis, or identifying the cause of chronic nasal discharge.
Contact us if your family veterinarian has referred your pet to our internal medicine department for advanced diagnostics, management, or treatment of a complex medical condition.