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Small Animal Services: Internal Medicine

The veterinary Internal Medicine specialists at the NC State University Veterinary Hospital specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of serious health problems of dogs and cats. Operating as a specialty referral service, all clients require a referral from their primary veterinarian. We utilize a team approach to patient care which includes a senior veterinary student, intern or resident (DVMs undergoing advanced training) and faculty member in conjunction with the primary veterinarian.

The specialists at the VH are innovators within their fields and are involved in many new techniques. If the doctor feels that a new procedure or technique will benefit the patient, the implications will be discussed with the owner in depth so that they have all the information necessary to help decide whether or not the pet will participate in any on-going study. The patient’s health and comfort is the primary factor in all decisions.

veterinarian checking white dog 

Department Specialties 

  • Metabolic diseases, such as pancreatitis
  • Infectious diseases, such as tick borne diseases
  • Endocrine disease, such as diabetes and Cushing’s disease
  • Hematological disease, such as immune mediated hemolytic anemia (IMHA)
  • Gastrointestinal disease, such as inflammatory bowel disease
  • Liver disease, such as hepatic lipidosis
  • Renal disease, such as acute or chronic renal failure
  • Lower urinary diseases, such as urinary incontinence and urinary tract infection
  • Radioactive iodine therapy
  • 24-hour Intensive Care Ward for critically ill patients.

Specialized Services 

Veterinary Surgery

24-Hour Emergency Care

When your primary veterinarian is unavailable during regular business hours, we offer a triage service. Same-day admission of emergency and critically ill patients is available, we work in collaboration with your primary veterinarian on a treatment plan.

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Veterinary Surgery

Endoscopic Procedures

Endoscopy is the use of specialized video cameras to evaluate areas within the body in a minimally invasive manner. In most instances, endoscopy is performed for diagnostic purposes allowing visualization and sampling of abnormalities.

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Vets Caring for dog

Critical Care and ICU

Our intensive care unit is fully equipped to provide state-of-the art care for critically ill patients. The unit is staffed around the clock by 12 veterinary critical care technicians and supported by an animal blood bank service. 

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close up of cat looking directly at camera

Feline Hyperthyroid Treatment

Hyperthyroidism is caused by a thyroid tumor (usually non-malignant) and is currently the most common endocrine disease in older cats. Clinical signs are progressive and can be severely debilitating and potentially fatal if the disease is left untreated. 

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Veterinary Surgery

Standard Poodles Addison’s Disease

Researchers in the College of Veterinary Medicine are working to identify the gene mutations responsible for the development of Addison’s disease in Standard Poodles.

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Panting Bull Dog

Immune-Mediated Hemolytic Anemia (IMHA)

Researchers are working to identify the gene mutations responsible for the development of IMHA. Our goal is to use this research to develop a test to help breeders decrease the frequency of the disease. 

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Appointments, Referrals and Resources

Appointment Guidelines

The Internal Medicine Service is a referral only service available Monday through Thursday. Please have your primary veterinarian contact us by phone or fax with the referral information. After the referral is made, you can call 919-513-6670 to schedule your appointment.

If you do not have a referral and you would like your pet seen by a specialist, ask your veterinarian to set up the referral. The Internal Medicine service cannot provide advice to clients over the phone for patients we have never seen. We may be able to facilitate an appointment or provide a small amount of general information. It is often difficult to judge the correct approach to a situation without the opportunity to gather a complete history and directly examine the patient. When calling, please keep in mind that due to the high volume of cases seen we may not be able to answer the phone, please leave a message and your call will be returned as soon as possible.

What will happen at an appointment?

Patients are admitted at the front desk of the Small Animal Hospital located in the Terry Center. After the patient has checked in, a Clinical Technician will take the owner(s) and patient to an exam room. A senior veterinary student, (Intern), will enter the exam room to obtain a complete medical history and perform a physical examination on the pet. Due to the fact that we are a Teaching Hospital, it is very important to provide the students with this experience so they can provide the best care possible to their future patients and, in doing so, maintain the high standards of the veterinary profession. The student will then leave the room to discuss the case with the attending veterinarian, (Resident or Faculty), which may take up to 30 minutes. The student will then return to the exam room with the doctor to discuss their recommendations for the pet. Owners should be prepared to spend 2-3 hours with us for the initial appointment.

Previous Medical Records

Please bring copies of your pet’s medical records from any veterinarian who has seen your pet for the referred problem. Also bring any diagnostic test results, including blood tests, radiographs, ultrasounds, and biopsies.

When am I going to see a doctor?

Please note that our Interns and Residents (aka House Officers), are fully licensed doctors with the same education and credentials as a general practitioner. There will ALWAYS be a doctor in charge of and supervising all aspects of patient care at the VH. In many cases multiple specialists may consult on a patient should their expertise be required. Typically, a fourth-year student will first collect a detailed history and present this information to the doctor in charge. You will then have an opportunity to discuss things in detail with the doctor and together you and he/she will formulate a diagnostic and treatment plan.

What does it mean to be a ‘teaching hospital’?
In addition to having access to cutting edge diagnostic tools and therapeutic alternatives, the most unique aspect of our facility is that every patient is a learning opportunity for our students. Much of this teaching is done ‘behind the scenes’ as we discuss your pets’ diagnostics and care. What this means to you, the client, is that the process may take somewhat longer than it would at a private veterinarian practice. However, this also means that we have the ability to consult with multiple doctors and a variety of specialists in complex cases.

My doctor introduced him/herself as an Intern or a Resident – what does that mean?
It is important to understand that every intern or resident at the VH is a fully licensed doctor with the same education and credentials as a general practitioner. Interns and residents have chosen to pursue additional, in-depth postgraduate clinical training and were selected by us in a highly competitive international application process. We think you are in great hands!

Is there food and water available for my pet while I wait?
Feel free to ask the front desk for a bowl if you would like to offer water to your pet. However, we do ask that you refrain from feeding your pet. Many procedures require sedation or medication with drugs that could upset your companion’s stomach if there is food present. If your pet must eat for medical reasons (eg. diabetes), please ask the front desk to inform the doctor in charge and make sure they are aware of this first.

I am finished with my visit, why do I have to wait?
One of our goals for our clients is that everyone leaves with detailed discharge instructions. We write our discharge instructions in as detailed manner as possible to help summarize the information covered during the visit and give you specific instructions as to medications, diet, activity restriction, and any other pertinent aspect of care. It may take us some additional time to write these for you; however, this can significantly ease the transition home and back to your regular veterinarian.

You are a State facility, so why are your fees so high?
The VH is a not for profit health care center and receives less than 2% of operating costs from the the State of North Carolina. The majority of our operating costs are paid by client fees and donations. In fact, many of the state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment options we offer are only possible because of generous gifts from our clients. Our fees are set to cover the balance of our operating costs, and we are always looking for ways to provide better service at lower cost. Total costs are comparable to those of veterinarian specialists in private practice.

If you do not have a primary veterinarian you can search for one here: North Carolina Veterinary Medical Association

Additional resources may also be found at the NC State College of Veterinary Medicine’s website.