For Families

Preparing For Your Visit

We will ask your family veterinarian to FAX us copies of your pet’s medical records before your appointment. Please obtain copies of X-rays and results of other tests that cannot be FAXed.

On the day of your appointment, please do not feed your pet for 12 hours before your appointment. Your pet should always have access to water. Some patients, such as diabetics, toy breeds and young patients, should not have food withheld, therefore please call us to discuss this if this applies to your pet or if you have questions. Medications should be given (with a very small treat/food) on time as previously prescribed by your family veterinarian.

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Please bring the bottles of all medications that your pet is currently receiving, or has recently finished. If you cannot bring the actual bottles, please write down or take pictures of the names of the medications, the strength, concentration, and the frequency that the medications are being given.

If your pet has been referred to us for a kidney or bladder problem, please do not allow your pet to urinate for two hours before your appointment. It is important to not let your dog urinate once they arrive at our hospital if they have been referred for a urinary condition. For most urinary conditions, it is important that your pet be examined with a full bladder.

Please arrive at your appointment 15 minutes early so that patient registration and permission forms may be completed. Alternatively, you may download the form HERE, complete it at home and bring it to your appointment.

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FAQ's

A veterinary internist specializes in diagnosing and treating serious or complex diseases that often affect multiple organs. These diseases can be either chronic, having been present for many months or years, or could be imminently life-threatening having been only present for hours. Veterinary internists treat patients medically and do not perform surgery.

Veterinary internists have completed additional training after receiving a four-year Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree. This training includes a one-year internship, followed by a three-year residency in internal medicine. Completion of the residency requires clinical training and teaching at a veterinary school or similar veterinary specialty hospital. Also required is the writing and publication of veterinary-related research, and finally the passing of a two separate written exams administered by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM). Upon successful completion of the internship and residency requirements, and successfully passing the required examinations, a veterinarian becomes recognized and awarded Diplomate status by the ACVIM.

As specialists in veterinary internal medicine, our focus is treating complex, multiorgan, chronic and debilitating, or acute and imminently life-threatening diseases in dogs and cats. Veterinary internists do not perform surgery.
Organ systems and diseases that we specialize in include:

Blood Dyscrasia
Disorders resulting in too few, too many, or atypical blood cells including immune-mediated hemolytic anemia, thrombocytopenia and neutropenia, iron deficiency anemia, blood loss anemia, bone marrow dysfunction from toxicities, premalignancies and infectious diseases and polycythemia.

Digestive
they have multiple complex diseases present. Your pet may also benefit from seeing us if they have not been responding as expected to treatments already prescribed by your family veterinarian.

Endocrine
Hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, diabetes mellitus, hypoparathyroidism, hyperparathyroidism, other disorders of calcium homeostasis, hypoadrenocorticism and hyperadrenocorticism.

Infectious Diseases
FeLV, FIV, FIP, insect transmitted infectious diseases, bacterial, viral and fungal infections and parasitic, viral diarrheal diseases.

Liver & Gallbladder
Acute & chronic hepatitis, liver and gallbladder infection, gallstones, biliary mucocele and liver shunt diagnosis.

Respiratory
Nasal discharge and sneezing from nasal foreign objects, fungal infection, allergies and inflammatory polyps; lower respiratory disorders including chronic bronchitis, collapsing airways, feline asthma, pneumonia, pulmonary edema, pleural effusion, allergic airway disease and pulmonary fibrosis.

Urogenital
Acute kidney failure, chronic kidney disease, pyelonephritis, sterile and bacterial cystitis, kidney and bladder stones, renal-associated systemic hypertension, prostatitis, vaginitis, pyometra diagnosis and congenital urogenital problems such as ectopic ureters and congenital renal dysplasia.

Your pet may benefit from a consultation and treatment by one of our internists if a disease or symptom remains undiagnosed, the condition requires advanced imaging, endoscopy or specialized [TREATMENTS] or they have multiple complex diseases present. Your pet may also benefit from seeing us if they have not been responding as expected to treatments already prescribed by your family veterinarian.

We are a referral-only practice and only see pets that are referred to us by a family veterinarian. You must be established with a family veterinarian who provides your pet with routine healthcare.

We certainly hope that you never need us, but if you feel that your pet may benefit from an evaluation by one of our internists, we are here for you. You may call your family veterinarian and request a referral, or, using this link, you may [START THE REFERRAL PROCESS] and we will initiate the referral process with your family veterinarian on your behalf.

Our veterinarians are an extension of your family veterinarian. We work together with, and are not a replacement for, the veterinarian who sees your pet on a regular basis.

We do not provide vaccinations or routine health care. We do not sell heartworm medications, flea and tick prevention, or pet food. We provide specialized diagnostics and treatments, and have access to specialized equipment not routinely available at your family veterinarian. For hospitalized patients, a veterinarian is in our hospital 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year to monitor and care for your pet.

Future rechecks and follow-up care is typically performed by your family veterinarian. On occasion, complex diseases may require several rechecks with our specialists before follow-up with your family veterinarian resumes. If any rechecks are performed by our internists, your family veterinarian is kept updated as to your pet’s progress, so that as a healthcare team, your pet receives the benefits of both veterinarian’s insight and knowledge.

If your pet is scheduled for an ultrasound [LINK TO ULTRASOUND FAQ?], this will be performed at that time, and then the internist will discuss the results with you. Further testing and treatments will not be performed without your consent.

Some diagnostic tests require several hours to perform, and in that case, we may ask you to leave your pet with us for the day while those tests are being performed. If your pet stays with us for the day, we ask that you come back by 6:00 pm to discuss the day’s results with us and to pick up your pet.

After initial testing is complete, if it is determined that your pet needs an anesthetic procedure (e.g. endoscopy, CT scan), these tests may be scheduled for a different day.  On that day you will drop your pet off at the hospital in the morning, the procedures will be performed during the day, and then you will pick your pet up by 6:00 pm.

Yes! In most situations, we encourage close, ongoing follow up with your pet’s regular veterinarian after initial consultation and treatment by our internists. It may be advantageous for pets with certain diseases or conditions to continue to follow-up with one of our internists, but most pets eventually can resume testing and treatment closer to home, with their family veterinarian. 

Our internists are available to speak with your veterinarian about your pets’ rechecks and testing performed by them. Because we cannot examine your pet at those visits, we will rely on a telephone conversation with your veterinarian to be sure that we are giving the correct advice. 

For the safety of your pet, we simply cannot comment on lab tests that are sent to us without a discussion with your family veterinarian about your pet’s progress. 

When you arrive at our hospital, you will be asked to fill out a patient registration form. You and your pet will then be brought into an examination room where a nurse will ask questions about your pet’s medical problems and your concerns. With your permission, your pet will then be brought to our treatment area where their vital signs and body weight will be obtained and your pet will be examined by the internist. If your pet is scheduled for an ultrasound [LINK TO ULTRASOUND FAQ?], this will be performed at that time, and then the internist will discuss the results with you. Further testing and treatments will not be performed without your consent. Some diagnostic tests require several hours to perform, and in that case, we may ask you to leave your pet with us for the day while those tests are being performed. If your pet stays with us for the day, we ask that you come back by 6:00 pm to discuss the day’s results with us and to pick up your pet. After initial testing is complete, if it is determined that your pet needs an anesthetic procedure (e.g. endoscopy, CT scan), these tests may be scheduled for a different day.  On that day you will drop your pet off at the hospital in the morning, the procedures will be performed during the day, and then you will pick your pet up by 6:00 pm.

Many of our patients benefit from an ultrasound view of their internal organs. We are experts at ultrasound imaging and this test is a valuable part of our internal medicine evaluations for many patients. Often, family veterinarians refer patients to us primarily for us to get a glimpse of what’s happening on the inside.

If ultrasound is performed, the body area to be examined (abdomen or side of chest) will be shaved so that the ultrasound probe can make contact with the skin. This procedure is typically performed while you wait. Ultrasound is in no way painful or uncomfortable to patients — sedation or anesthesia are not typically needed. However, if for some reason your pet needs to be sedated, this will not be performed without your permission.

If your pet’s medical condition is serious enough that it warrants admission to the hospital, they will be cared for in our 24-hour intensive care unit.

While your pet is in the hospital, they will be cared for 24/7 by an on duty veterinarian and nurses. Each morning, one of our internists or staff members will call you to provide a medical update, and to discuss your pet’s plan for the day. At other times of the day until 5:00 pm, you may call and receive updates on your pet’s progress.

Please remember that between the hours of 8:00 and 9:00 am, then again between 5:00 and 6:00 pm, our phones automatically send calls to voicemail while we are getting patients ready for their daytime treatments and testing, or coordinating their overnight care. Our staff leaves the facility at 6:00 pm when the overnight staff begins their shift.

While admitted to the ICU, visiting hours are 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. We do not have overnight visitation hours, and overnight updates are not provided routinely (unless there is a change in your pet’s medical status). Visiting times over the weekend can be arranged on an individual basis. Some pets become very anxious during and especially after a family visit; in these situations, visiting may not be in the best interest for your pet’s recovery. If you have concerns about any anxiety tendencies your pet may have, please discuss this with one of our staff.

We have a variety of foods to feed your pet while they are in the hospital. Although you are not required to provide your pet’s food while they are in the hospital, you may do so. We may also ask you to bring something special (e.g. a favorite food, treat or even deli turkey/chicken) for your pet that may tempt them to eat if they are refusing to do so.

We are frequently asked if dogs admitted to the hospital are taken for walks. All of our canine patients are walked outside every 4-6 hours, depending on their needs and their ability to do so. Cats are always provided a litter box and we strive to give them privacy within their cage.

Although we love animals and wish we could help every furry creature at no cost, we would not be in business very long and not be able to help very many animals. Therefore, payment is expected when services are provided.

For patients that are admitted to the hospital, an estimate of anticipated fees will be provided and a deposit required. For patients hospitalized for extended periods, additional deposits will be requested during the course of their stay.

Accepted payment methods include cash, credit cards, and CareCredit. Unfortunately, we do not offer a payment plan or senior citizen or military discounts at this time.

If you have pet insurance, we will be more than happy to provide you with the necessary supporting documentation and medical records, and assist you with the submission of the claim.

A technician is recognized as and awarded registered veterinary technician (RVT) status by the state of Georgia only after having completed an associate degree in applied science (veterinary technology), followed by the successful passing of a national and local board examination.
The state of Georgia recognizes RVTs’ accomplishments and expertise in veterinary medicine. Certain tasks within a veterinary hospital are only allowed to be performed by registered veterinary technicians and not veterinary assistants, emphasizing the importance of training and experience that these tasks demand. For more information about RVTs, please see (link) National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA.NET).

Veterinary technicians can earn a specialty certification called a VTS (Veterinary Technician Specialty). We are proud of our staff members who have, and who are currently pursuing, this certification. As of October 2019, there were only three veterinary hospitals in the state of Georgia with a VTS-certified RVT, and Savannah Veterinary Internal Medicine is one of them! This additional technician training helps all of our patients which means your pets! For more information about internal medicine certification for veterinary technicians, see The Academy of Internal Medicine Veterinary Technicians (www.aimvt.com.)

If your pet has been admitted to the Savannah Veterinary Emergency Clinic (SVEC) and you would like a consultation with one of our internists, simply inform the attending emergency veterinarian or staff.

Each morning we accept patient transfers from the SVEC that have internal medicine related conditions. The morning of transfer, we will contact your family veterinarian to discuss your pet’s current medical condition, obtain your pet’s medical records as well as to coordinate and facilitate your pet’s ongoing care.

The SVEC shares a building with us, so if your pet’s care transfers to us, your pet remains in the same building as they have been in. You will not need to be present in the morning for this transfer of care to take place.

Start The Referral Form