When a family pet suffers an injury or comes down with an unexpected illness, most are taken to the local veterinarian’s office. However, there are some cases in which it might be advisable to take a dog or cat to a veterinary internist because, having undergone at least four years of additional training compared to the average veterinarian, internists have an even greater, in-depth knowledge of animals’ lungs, pituitary gland, and other important organs and systems.
Lucky families and healthy animals may not ever visit their veterinarian outside of annual checkups and shots. When a dog or cat does come down with diarrhea or vomiting, the diagnosis can usually be made after the doctor has run one or more tests. However, when traditional diagnostics fail to identify the issue and the animal’s condition does not improve, owners must consider contacting an internist. In other cases, a family vet might be able to diagnose the problem but may feel that the disease or injury is too exotic or advanced for his or her skill set. This is again an instance when an internist’s advanced experience or insight might be valuable.
Finally, a visit to the internist does not need to be made under such duress. Certain breeds of dog, for example, are susceptible to specific diseases, such as the soft-coated Wheaten terrier’s predisposition to kidney disease. A family with a new terrier puppy can visit an internist to get a full-body evaluation of the dog to make sure he or she is in tip-top condition heading into adulthood.