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Advanced Internal Medicine Diagnostics at The VCC

Dec 11, 2019

The Veterinary Care Center’s internal medicine department is an integral component of our hospital that allows us to diagnose and manage complex diseases, such as:

  • Gastrointestinal (GI)
  • Liver
  • Endocrine
  • Urologic
  • Respiratory
  • Blood cell
  • Immune system
  • Infectious

If your family veterinarian diagnoses or suspects a complicated disease in your pet, our internal medicine department will work with her to diagnose the condition and formulate a treatment plan. Our internal medicine team helps your pet by using a number of advanced diagnostic and monitoring tools, including:

Endoscopy 

An endoscope is composed of a flexible or rigid tube with two channels and a fiberoptic camera that can be inserted into body cavities to allow veterinarians to visualize internal body structures without invasive surgery. Various tools can be passed through one channel for collecting diagnostic samples, grasping foreign items, or suctioning fluids. The other channel allows insufflation of air or water into an area for better visualization. The camera is often paired with a monitor that shows the image.

Patients must be anesthetized for endoscopy, but the procedure offers a less invasive alternative to surgery for sample collection, biopsy, or foreign body retrieval. Flexible and rigid endoscopes allow our veterinary team to perform endoscopy of many body areas, such as:

  • GI endoscopy — An endoscope can be passed into the GI tract to visualize the esophagus and stomach. One of GI endoscopy’s most common applications is removal of foreign bodies eaten by pets that become lodged in the esophagus or stomach, or that could move into the intestines and cause an obstruction. Endoscopic tools can often grasp and remove esophageal and gastric foreign bodies, instead of surgical removal. Endoscopy also provides visualization for diagnosis of GI conditions such as esophagitis, gastritis, tumors, and ulcers.
  • Rhinoscopy — Rhinoscopy can be performed to examine the nasal passages in patients with chronic nasal discharge or a suspected foreign body. Nasal polyps and tumors that may not be visible on X-rays can often be detected, and possibly removed,  endoscopically. Rhinoscopy can also aid diagnosis of fungal respiratory disease in pets with severe rhinitis.
  • Bronchoscopy — Bronchoscopy allows veterinarians to see the internal surface of a pet’s trachea and bronchial tree, or lower airways, and can be used to evaluate obstructive diseases, such as tracheal collapse, tracheal narrowing, or a tumor, as well as inflammatory conditions and injuries. Bronchoscopy is also useful for performing bronchoalveolar lavage, which is a method of collecting samples for cytologic analysis or culture to diagnose lower airway disease.
  • Cystoscopy — Cystoscopy is the endoscopic evaluation of a pet’s urinary bladder and urethra, which can aid in the diagnosis of urinary conditions, such as urinary tract infections, bladder stones, bladder trauma, and tumors.

Ultrasound

Ultrasound uses sound waves emitted from a probe that bounce off internal structures to create a visible image on a screen. This imaging modality allows our veterinarians to evaluate whether body structures have normal or abnormal architecture. Ultrasound can also be used to identify fluid accumulation in body cavities, tumors, and other abnormal soft-tissue growths; to guide a needle to aspirate cells from organs or masses; or to collect fluid for evaluation.

  • Echocardiography —A specialized cardiac ultrasound, echocardiography allows veterinarians to observe the heart contract and relax with each heartbeat. Heart wall and chamber size, valve function, and blood flow can be evaluated to diagnose heart disease.

Contact us if you have questions about our internal medicine services, or if your family veterinarian has referred you for diagnosis or management of a difficult disease condition.