Our emergency and specialty hospital comprises many departments that handle different aspects of patient care. Our internal medicine department is integral to our mission, as it focuses on diagnosing, treating, and managing a variety of acute and chronic diseases that can affect a pet’s internal body systems. Our board-certified veterinary internists have experience diagnosing and treating the most complex medical conditions, including:
Immune-mediated diseases — Immune-mediated hemolytic anemia (IMHA), lupus, and pemphigus
Gastrointestinal (GI) problems — Chronic vomiting, diarrhea, or weight loss
Hepatobiliary diseases — Pancreatitis, hepatitis, and cirrhosis
Nervous system disorders — Seizures, weakness, and abnormal behaviors
Cancer types — Osteosarcoma, lymphoma, and carcinomas
Your family veterinarian can treat many medical conditions, but if your pet develops a complicated disease, she may require expertise and specialized equipment available only at a specialty hospital. We are fortunate to have advanced diagnostic equipment, including veterinary ultrasound, endoscopy, and computed axial tomography (CT), that helps us tackle the most challenging cases.
Ultrasound for Pets
As an ultrasound probe is moved over your pet’s skin, sound waves that bounce off internal structures are emitted, received, and translated into an image the operator sees on a screen. Ultrasound transmits real-time images, allowing us to observe the anatomy and function of many internal organs, such as the stomach, kidney, and uterus. We can evaluate growing puppies or kittens, assess the kidneys for normal architecture, and observe digestive function. An echocardiogram, which is a specialized ultrasound of the heart, is an invaluable diagnostic tool for animals with heart conditions. An echocardiogram allows us to watch the heart pumping blood, observe blood flow, assess heart valve function, and measure heart-chamber size and wall thickness. We perform echocardiograms on patients whom our veterinary staff evaluate, as well as patients referred to us by their family veterinarians who are managing their heart disease.
Endoscopy for Pets
During endoscopy, we introduce a tiny camera into your pet’s natural body opening, such as her mouth or nose, or through a small incision made into a body cavity, such as her thorax or abdomen. Endoscopy is a minimally invasive method of visualizing internal body structures for examination, sample collection, or surgical procedures. We can perform a number of endoscopic procedures, including:
GI endoscopy — During GI endoscopy, we introduce a camera into your pet’s mouth, through her esophagus, and into her stomach. GI endoscopy is most often used to retrieve foreign objects pets have swallowed, such as toys, fish hooks, and coins, but it is also helpful for collecting tissue samples and locating esophageal lesions.
Arthroscopy— We are able to insert an endoscopic camera into a pet’s joint to view the joint surface, lining, and ligaments, instead of making a large surgical incision. We can also perform arthroscopic surgery by making additional small incisions through which surgical instruments are inserted.
Bronchoscopy— Pets with chronic respiratory problems, such as coughing and nasal discharge, can benefit from bronchoscopy, which uses an endoscope to visualize the nasal cavities and airways. We can identify and remove abnormal structures, such as nasal polyps and foreign bodies, and perform a bronchoalveolar (BAL) lavage, which is a method used to collect cells for identification and culture.
Laparoscopic surgery — We can introduce an endoscope and instruments through several tiny incisions to perform abdominal surgery, instead of making a single, large incision. Laparoscopic surgery causes significantly less trauma and pain, and shortens your pet’s recovery time. We can use laparoscopic surgery to perform procedures such as liver biopsy, gastropexy to prevent gastric dilation volvulus, and ovariectomy, which is a minimally invasive ovariohysterectomy alternative.
CT for Pets
A CT scan takes multiple slice-like X-rays of a patient, which are assembled into three-dimensional images of the selected body area. CT is often used when more detail is needed than traditional X-rays can provide, and has a variety of uses in veterinary medicine, including:
Identifying the exact location of a tumor to plan surgical excision without disturbing important nearby structures
Checking for cancer metastasis to the lungs
Identifying the cause of chronic nasal discharge
Assessing organ damage after traumatic accidents, such as car accidents
Diagnosing orthopedic conditions, such as hip dysplasia
Your pet must remain completely still during a CT scan, so she will be heavily sedated or anesthetized. Our trained veterinary technicians will monitor her through the entire procedure, which usually takes less than an hour. We can perform CT scans of patients who present to our emergency department, or those referred by their family veterinarian.Our internal medicine department is part of a larger collaboration dedicated to providing the best medical care available for western Pennsylvania pets. Our “one hospital” model allows our various departments to work together, using cutting-edge technology to diagnose and manage the most challenging medical cases. If your family veterinarian has referred you to Avets for advanced diagnostics or treatment, contact us.