What is a Veterinary Internist?
How are they different from my family veterinarian? In addition to completing undergraduate training and four years of veterinary school, Board-certified Veterinary Internists are similar to their human medical counterparts in that they have completed an internship and residency in their specialized field (an additional 3-5 years training). In addition to this extensive training, a Board-certified Veterinary Internist must pass rigorous examinations to achieve Board certification from the ACVIM. Internists bring a greater understanding in the area of internal medicine, cardiology, oncology, or neurology, and have a greater knowledge of the unusual, the uncommon, or rare in both large and small animals. In addition, an Internist may have diagnostic equipment not generally used by your family veterinarian.
When should you request a referral to an ACVIM Board-certified Veterinary Internist?
- Your animal's disease is uncommon, complicated, or undiagnosed after standard testing.
- You would like an informed, neutral second opinion of your animal's condition.
- The outcomes of the current treatments are not going well or as expected.
- Your animal requires a sophisticated procedure that is offered by a specialty hospital.
- Your animal can benefit from 24-hour monitoring provided by a referral hospital.
If you believe your animal would benefit from a visit to a Board-certified Veterinary Internist, you are encouraged to work with your family veterinarian to complete a referral. With more than 1,800 members, the ACVIM has Board-certified experts to consult on your animal's health in the following areas:
Small Animal Internal Medicine: Specialists who have knowledge of internal diseases including those involving stomach and intestine, kidneys, bladder, endocrine (thyroid and diabetes), liver, and respiratory conditions in dogs and cats.
Large Animal Internal Medicine: Specialists who have knowledge of internal diseases including those involving stomach and intestine, kidneys, bladder, endocrine (thyroid and diabetes), liver and respiratory conditions in horses, cattle, sheep, goats and pigs.
Neurology: Specialists in diseases of the nervous systems including the brain, spinal cord and muscle disorders for small and large animals.
Oncology: Specialists in cancer treatment for small and large animals.
Cardiology: Specialists in diseases of the heart and lungs for small and large animals.