A board-certified veterinary internist is similar to the human medical counterpart where they have completed an internship and residency in their specialized field of internal medicine (an additional 3-5 years training) after they completed undergraduate training and four years of veterinary school. They also have to pass rigorous examinations to achieve board certification from the ACVIM (American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine) where they become “Diplomates” in their area of specialty.
An internist specializes in diagnosing and treating diseases of internal organs or systems of the body. A family veterinarian may refer a patient to a veterinary internist in order to help confirm a diagnosis or implement a treatment plan. Pets are also seen by veterinary internists if a diagnosis is proving to be more elusive or therapy has not been affective. Common problems seen by internists may include anemias, chronic vomiting or diarrhea, complicated pancreatic disease, respiratory problems, endocrine diseases (adrenal gland problems, complicated diabetes, thyroid disorders), infectious disease, kidney or bladder disorders, liver disease, or unexplained weight loss/lethargy/or poor appetite.