Internal Medicine

What is an internal medicine specialist?

Commonly called Internists, these specialists focus on diagnosing and treating diseases of the internal systems. In addition to completing undergraduate training and four years of veterinary school, Board-Certified Veterinary Specialists are similar to their human medical counterparts in that they have completed an internship and residency in their specialized field (an additional 3-5 years training). In addition to this extensive training, a Board-Certified Veterinary Specialist must pass rigorous examinations and research publication requirements to achieve board certification from the ACVIM. Specialists bring a greater understanding in the area of internal medicine and have a greater knowledge of the unusual, the uncommon, or rare in both large and small animals. In addition, a specialist may have expertise using diagnostic equipment that is not commonly available for on-the-farm use.


Examples of conditions for which your large animal veterinarian might refer your horse/ruminant to an Internist include:

  • Acute or chronic diarrhea
  • Acute or chronic colic
  • Anemia or bleeding disorders
  • Coughing and other breathing/lung problems
  • Diseases of the nervous system
  • Heart or circulatory disease
  • Kidney or bladder disease
  • Liver disease (Hepatitis)
  • Poor performance, loss of speed or stamina
  • Serious infectious disease
  • Endocrine disorders and diseases of the older horse

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