Internal Medicine

Physical exams are used in conjunction with diagnostic testingInternal medicine is the branch of medicine that deals with the diagnosis and nonsurgical treatment of diseases of the internal organs. This covers a wide range of diseases and therefore requires a variety of diagnostic procedures to best evaluate and treat our patients. At Veterinary Associates of Cape Cod, our mission is to provide the highest quality medical and surgical care for our patients with the most compassionate approach. Therefore, we have made it a priority to ensure we have the proper equipment and knowledge to be able to provide our patients with noninvasive and minimally invasive diagnostic procedures allowing us to accurately diagnose and effectively treat your pets.

In-House Laboratory

LaboratoryBecause an animal that is not feeling right cannot tell us what is wrong, veterinarians must sometimes supplement physical exams with sophisticated diagnostic testing. Veterinary Associates is equipped with a complete in-house laboratory that allows us to measure more than 120 lab values, with results often available in a few hours. In addition, we work with several referral labs for specialized testing, and we download the results directly into each patient's computerized medical record, which enables fast and accurate reporting.

Our laboratory capability also includes cytology, which is the examination of individual cells under a high-powered microscope. Samples are collected by fine needle aspiration, ultrasound-guided biopsy, endoscopy, or surgery. After special staining, these samples are examined by our experienced cytology technician and doctor before being sent for analysis. This enables us to attain preliminary results very quickly, allowing us to treat our patients as soon possible—often while they are still in surgery or in treatment.

Oncology

Veterinary oncology is the treatment of cancer in our animals. With new advances in veterinary medicine, many pets with cancer are living longer and with a greatly improved quality of life. Veterinary Associates offers many tools to diagnose, stage, and treat a variety of cancers in dogs and cats.

Early detection is the key to successful treatment. Yet detection can be difficult, as cancer can occur internally and therefore may not be detected until clinical signs develop. Annual physical exams are the best way to monitor changes in body weight and physical condition. If a growth is found by the owner or veterinarian, a fine needle aspirate is performed and cells are then examined under a high powered microscope for evidence of malignancy. Detecting tumors within the body may be more difficult depending on the location. State of the art digital radiographs and ultrasound are other important diagnostic tools that we at Veterinary Associates use to screen for cancers in our pets.

Treatment depends on the type and location of the cancer. If possible, surgical removal of the tumor and/or involved organ is recommended. The tumor is then biopsied to determine the type of cancer and potential follow-up treatment. Some types of cancer are responsive to chemotherapy, which includes a variety of oral or injectable drug combinations. Dogs and cats tend to tolerate chemotherapy well, and we usually do not see the side effects that are associated with chemotherapy in people.

The purpose of our oncology detection and treatment services is to provide a good quality of life for your pet. The knowledgeable and compassionate staff at Veterinary Associates is able to assist you and your pet from diagnosis through treatment. We are here to answer questions, offer support and guidance, and provide the best care available.

Ultrasound

UltrasoundUltrasound is a noninvasive way to take a detailed look at internal organ structures. It can usually be done while our patients are fully awake as there is rarely a need for sedation. We can use the ultrasound for guided biopsies or aspirates of very specific areas of several organ structures. The procedure takes about 20 minutes to complete and can be used to diagnose problems such as heart failure, pericardial effusion (fluid buildup around the heart), pleural effusion (fluid buildpup around the lungs), liver disease, kidney disease, splenic tumors, ascites (fluid buildup within the abdomen), pancreatitis, intestinal inflammation, intestinal tumors, urinary bladder disease, gallbladder disease, and lymph node enlargement.

Endoscopy

EndoscopyEndoscopy is another noninvasive procedure used to take a detailed look at the upper gastrointestinal tract (stomach and small intestine) and lower intestinal tract (colon). This procedure does require anesthesia but since no incisions are made, animals can often go home the same day. With endoscopy we can get biopsies of the intestinal tract for diagnosis in our patients with chronic vomiting or diarrhea. Endoscopy also allows for removal of foreign bodies, like rocks or toys, from the stomach without the need to surgically open up the abdomen. Again, since this is a noninvasive procedure, so your pet can often go home to you the same day.

Laparoscopy

Laparoscopy is a minimally invasive procedure that allows for direct visualization of the internal organs using a small, detailed camera. Instead of making a large incision, 2-3 small (<1inch) incisions can be used to allow entry into the abdomen for the camera and surgical tools. Laparoscopy allows for biopsing internal organs as well as removing retained testicles and removing ovaries for a spay procedure with minimal trauma. For our large breed, deep chested dogs we often have to worry about stomach torsion in which the stomach twists on itself leading to a medical emergency. Laparoscopy allows us to preemptively tack the stomach down to the body wall to prevent this from happening in our at-risk patients.

Bone Marrow Aspirates

This is a minimally invasive procedure that allows us to retrieve bone marrow samples from our patients showing abnormalities with their red or white blood cells. We can quickly get preliminary results from this test within hours from our in-house lab.

Digital Radiography

Digital RadiologyDigital radiography allows for quick production of radiographs (x-rays). The quality of the radiograph has superior detail allowing for more accurate analysis. For our challenging radiology cases we have the ability to immediately send out radiographs for analysis by a board certified radiologist. The results are returned to us within 1-2 hours.

Digital Dental Radiology

Digital DentalIn addition to general digital radiology, we also have dental digital radiology. This allows us to take detailed views of tooth structures to determine if any disease is present. The high quality of the radiographs allows us to determine whether a tooth needs to be extracted or whether it can be saved. The efficiency of the dental digital radiograph also minimizes the time our patients need to be under anesthesia.

ECG (Electrocardiogram)

Electrocardiography is a quick, noninvasive test that we can run on our patients having underlying heart disease and arrhythmias. This test allows us to determine the nature of the heart disease thereby enabling us to pick the best medications to treat our patients' heart problems.

Blood Pressure

High and low blood pressure can be a serious problem for our patients requiring immediate attention. Our blood pressure monitors allow for accurate pressure readings with no discomfort to our patients.

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