Prepare for your internal medicine visit

Dog at savannah veterinary

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You have recently been referred to one of our internal medicine specialists (aka internist) by your family veterinarian, and I am sure you may be wondering what to expect. First of all, we are so sorry that you even need us, as this means that your pet must be quite ill, and you are worried and stressed. Please know that we are here for your pet, we are very experienced at what we do, and will also do the best we can to help you through the process of healing and recovery of your beloved furry family member.

We recommend bringing a few things to your appointment so we are better able to help your pet. Your family veterinarian may have already sent your pet’s medical records to our internist to review, however, we recommend bringing any medications that your pet is currently taking. This includes any over the counter medications, heartworm, and flea preventions. If your pet was on medications recently, it may be helpful to have a list of what medications have been tried, what worked well for your pet, and what may not have seemed to help at all. Also, your family veterinarian may have sent you with your pet’s X-rays and/or blood work. These can be very helpful for our specialists to review.
Once at your appointment, a veterinary technician will obtain a thorough history from you about your pet’s history of symptoms and illness. Now, this will include asking questions that are likely in your pet’s records, but this is for us to better understand from you, how you feel your pet is doing. Details are key. And yes, we see a lot of pictures of stool and vomit so don’t be embarrassed to show us those! You will be asked about appetite, attitude, stools, urination, and everything in between. Depending on your pet’s symptoms, we may ask more detailed questions about how stools appear, how frequent they are occurring, if your pet is vomiting after meals and about how long after. This is where notes or pictures may become useful. It is ok to be unsure of what you may be seeing at home, just do your best to describe, and our staff will be able to put the pieces together. If your pet has been coughing or exhibiting changes in breathing, travel history may also be important. This can include visits to dog parks, or just a different state where your pet may have gone swimming or hiking. We may also ask if your pet has been exhibiting signs of pain, which we will go into detail in another blog post.
After giving your pet’s history to our staff, testing and/or treatment recommendations will be made by our internist. Testing typically discussed includes ultrasound, X-rays, blood/urine testing. Internal medicine diseases can be very confusing, so a variety of tests may be recommended to determine what may be going wrong with your pet. Our specialists and technicians will be able to explain why recommendations are made, and the goal for performing additional tests or starting medications.
Communication is key at your appointment, so please do not hesitate to ask questions, be your pet’s advocate and request what you feel is important! We are confident that together we can return your pet’s health to even better than before you came to see us!
Jordan, RVT, VTS (SAIM)

Jordan, RVT, VTS (SAIM)

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