Our internists, Board Certified by the American College of Veterinary of Internal Medicine (ACVIM), offer first rate diagnosis and treatment of your pets medical condition.
There is a wide range of medical conditions that affect your pet’s health. Our internal medicine specialists possess advanced training that enables them to diagnose and treat many diseases. Our internists deal with gastroenterology, nephrology, urology, hepatology, endocrinology, immunology, hematology, respiratory medicine, and oncology.
To arrive at an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, our internists closely analyze the patient’s medical history, conduct a thorough physical examination, and conduct specific diagnostic tests. Applying information from the physical examination, your pet's medical history, previous diagnostic work, and past treatment and medications, we provide your pet the best possible care.
Cancer treatment at Veterinary Specialty Care involves not only expertise, but also a sense of caring, to ensure that your pet will have the very best medical treatment to address his or her cancer. If your pet has cancer, we can recommend the treatment that will provide optimal results based on his or hers medical history and help you make a decision that is best for your family. There are 2 equally important goals to keep in mind when treating cancer in our pets:
1. We want to control the tumor for as long as possible, ideally we want to cure the patient.
2. We want to maintain a good to excellent quality of life for the patient throughout the duration of treatment. This is our most important goal of therapy at all times.
There are 3 basic treatment options for pets with cancer. These treatments may be used alone, or in combination, depending on the type of cancer diagnosed.
Surgery is used as the single method of treatment if the tumor is benign, or if the tumor is known to be very slow to metastasize. Surgery is combined with chemotherapy when the tumor is known to metastasize very quickly. Surgery is combined with radiation therapy if complete removal of the tumor is not possible with surgery alone.
Chemotherapy is very commonly used in dogs and cats with cancer. Chemotherapy drugs are used when the tumor has spread beyond the original site of growth, or when the tumor affects more than one area of the body. It may also be used for a tumor that we know historically has a very high chance of metastasizing. The chemotherapy drugs that are used for dogs and cats are the same chemotherapy drugs used for people. Because maintaining a normal quality of life is one of our main goals, we use chemotherapy somewhat less aggressively than in human medicine. Also, dogs and cats seem to be more tolerant of chemotherapy than people, and they do not suffer from as severe side effects. Significant nausea, diarrhea, depression and lethargy are unacceptable side effects when treating our pets and generally occur in less than 10% of patients. Pets do not commonly lose their hair like people do that are receiving chemotherapy. Severe hair loss is not common, but may occur in breeds such as poodles and terriers (usually dogs that require regular grooming).
3. Radiation therapy:
Radiation therapy is most often used to treat tumors that cannot be completely removed with surgery. During therapy, radiation patients must lie perfectly still. In veterinary patients, this means that they must be anesthetized. The radiation treatments are not painful. Typically, it involves multiple treatments over a course of 3 to 5 weeks. Dogs and cats do not experience the fatigue experienced by human radiation patients. Side effects generally start during the second half of therapy and can get worse for 1 or 2 weeks after therapy is completed. These side effects only occur in the part of the body receiving therapy. Cats generally experience mild acute side effects compared to dogs. Side effects will heal by about 1 month after finishing radiation therapy and depend on the area being treated.
Veterinary cardiology encompasses diseases in dogs and cats such as:
-Degenerative valve disease (endocardiosis)
-Cardiomyopathy (dilated, hypertrophic, restrictive, and unclassified)
-Congenital heart disease including:
Patent ductus arteriosis (PDA), Ventricular septal defects (VSD), Subaortic stensois (SAS), Pulmonic stensois, Mitral and Tricuspid valve malformation, and Atrial septal defects (ASD).
-Arrhythmias or electrical disturbances of the heart
-Congestive heart failure
-Hypertension (systemic and pulmonary)
Veterinary cardiologists are able to provide both a diagnosis and therapeutic options.
Therapeutic recommendations may involve medical and/or surgical options.
Echocardiography using state of the art GE Vivid I squared ultrasound machine. The Vivid I squared is equipped with M-mode, B-mode, color Doppler, tissue Doppler, and tissue tracking capabilities.
Blood pressure monitoring can be performed non-invasively.
In Hospital Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) gathers multiple leads (up to 12 leads) at the same time. This is typically a brief recording (2-5 minutes) and allows for the diagnosis of an arrhythmia (electrical disturbance). This monitoring devise is very helpful if an arrhythmia is occurring all the time or very frequently. More long term monitoring such as Telemetery, Holter monitoring, or Event monitoring may be needed to detect intermittent arrhythmias.
Ambulatory 24 hour digital Holter monitoring is available. There is in house analysis performed by the cardiologist. Holter monitors record for 24 hours and all 24 hours is then analyzed for arrhythmias. Below is an example of the monitor, a summary results of the Holter analysis, and a dog wearing a Holter monitor.
Telemetery ECG monitoring is used on our hospitalized patients that need continuous ECG monitoring. A small monitor is placed on the patient and the monitor sends a signal to a central computer that is able to monitor up to 8 patients at once.
Veterinary Medical Care is equipped with high definition digital radiography. Digital radiograph enables our hospital to see very good detail of the heart and lungs. Digital radiographs also allow easy transfer of the images to the clients and referring veterinarians.
Veterinary Medical Care is equipped with a GE 9600 fluoroscopy unit that allow non-invasive surgical procedures to be performed.
Balloon valvuloplasty is used to dilate narrow heart valves. Below is a picture of a pulmonic stenosis that has a balloon catheter placed and is being inflated to dilate the pulmonic valve.
Patent Ductus Arteriousus is an abnormal communication that is present between the aorta and pulmonary artery. The vessel is can be occluded with an intravascular device.
(This device is seen below.)
Pacemakers are implanted into dogs and cats because of bradyarrhythmias (slow heart
rates). The most common types of arrhythmias are atrioventricular (AV) block, sick
sinus syndrome (SSS), and atrial standstill or atrial muscle disease. The pacemakers can
be adjusted using computer systems that program the pacemaker by placing the computer
transmitter on top of the skin just above the pacemaker.
• Below is an example of the computer system:
Supplemental Oxygen Therapy can be administered to our critical patients that have respiratory difficulty. Several routes are available including flow by, intranasal, and the oxygen cage.
Flow By Oxygen
Our Oxygen Cage allow precise measures of supplemental oxygen to be mixed with room air. The cage is also temperature controlled.
Electrical Cardioversion is when the heart is shocked at a timed interval to reorganize the electrical activity in the heart. Specialized equipment is needed for this procedure. The picture below is of a defibrillator/cardioversion unit.
Pulse Oximetery is a non-invasive means of measuring the blood oxygenation levels. A clip is placed on the tongue, ear, and sometimes a toe nail to acquire a reading.
Blood Gas Analysis is used to look at the different concentrations of Carbon Dioxide and oxygen in the blood. This allows us to better determine the severity and sometime the source of an animal’s respiratory problem.
OFA and ARCH certifications
There is multiple genetic testing available for both dogs and cats. Please see the attached website for the most recent cardiac testing.
Although it is difficult to estimate the cost before examining your pet, here are some useful guidelines. The fee for an examination is approximately $110 for your pet's first visit. The basic cardiology work-up of an echocardiogram (heart ultrasound) and examination starts at $400. Depending on other tests performed such as blood work, chest X-rays, blood pressure, electrocardiogram (ECG), and Holter monitor. A typical cardiology work-up and visit will vary between about $400 and $900, with an average of about $600.
An estimate of your cost will be provided to you before any diagnostic testing. Previous tests are helpful for comparison, so please bring any previous radiographs or blood work that has been performed.
Veterinary Specialty Care offers services in the full range of neurologic disease. We have the advanced training and technology to assess and treat any problem of the brain, nerves, or spinal cord.
Our team is experienced in diagnosing and treating such problems as epilepsy and other seizure disorders, head and spinal cord trauma, back (disk) problems, brain tumors, neuromuscular disease treatment, and the treatment of encephalitis, and meningitis, among others. Through our medical expertise and the advanced imaging capabilities in our facility, our specialists can determine the source of your pet’s problem and the most effective way to treat it.
At Veterinary Specialty Care, we offer advanced imaging such as digital radiography and CT Scanning and in conjunction with the radiology Department at North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine, offer Board Certified radiologists’ interpretation of images and MRI imaging when required.
We offer services in the full spectrum of neurologic disease. Our advanced imaging capabilities available at the Veterinary Specialty Care facility, in combination with other tests, make it possible for us to closely examine the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves.