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What is a Veterinary Internal Medicine Specialist and when would my pet need one?

What is a Veterinary Internal Medicine Specialist and when would my pet need one?

Many pet owners don't realize that there are specialists in veterinary medicine. Internal medicine is just one of these specialties. In this post, our Thousand Oaks vets explain the role of a board-certified specialist in veterinary internal medicine - and when your pet may require one.

How is an internist different from a primary care veterinarian?

Most primary care veterinarians complete undergraduate training and then four years of veterinary school. Board-certified internists do the same, but also go on to complete an internship, three-year internal medicine residency, and then pass rigorous board examinations in their specialized field.

That’s a minimum of four years additional training before they earn the designation of a specialist by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM), the certifying organization in the United States. Once all of the requirements for board certification are met, ACVIM awards the veterinarian with ‘Diplomate’ status. You will know someone is board certified in internal medicine if you see credentials listed after their name like this:

Lindsay Tangeman, DVM, Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (or DACVIM for short) or Kristen Kelly, DVM, DACVIM (SAIM), which stands for small animal internal medicine.

What do veterinary internists do?

Internists are highly trained to understand the complex interactions of all of your pet’s organs and bodily systems and how to treat the underlying causes of disease. They specialize in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases of cats’ and dogs’ internal systems, such as such as liver, kidney, gastrointestinal tract, and lung/airway.

To obtain an accurate diagnosis, specialized diagnostic testing is often required. Fortunately, we can perform most of these tests in-house leading to rapid answers. Ultrasound, CT scan, blood chemistries, biopsies, endoscopy, and so on, using the latest equipment, will give the clearest picture of what is happening in your pet, so that the best course of treatment can be developed.

VSEC veterinary internists are skilled at treating a wide range of diseases and conditions Common conditions that result in a referral to a board-certified internist from a pet’s primary care veterinarian include diabetes, blood disorders, infections, cancer, digestive tract issues, hormone/endocrine or immune disorders, diseases of the kidney, liver, gallbladder, lungs, and urinary or reproductive tracts.

Here at VSEC, we are lucky to have three board-certified internists—Dr. Lindsay Tangeman, Dr. Kristen Kelly, and Dr. Joanne Shinozaki—helping pets with chronic, complex, or complicated conditions and illnesses.

If you would like to learn more about VSEC's internal medicine services, contact our office in Thousand Oaks.

New Patients Welcome

VSEC Thousand Oaks is accepting new patients! Our board-certified specialists and experienced emergency veterinarians are passionate about restoring good health to animal companions.

Contact (805) 492-2436