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There are Veterinary Specialists?

February 19, 2018
by Jami Stromberg, DVM
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The Brooklyn Park Pet Hospital is proud to be your general small animal clinic. We are the primary care provider for your pet, from puppy/kittenhood until it’s time to say goodbye. As such, we have extensive knowledge of and skill in preventative medicine, behavior, dental care, soft tissue surgery including spay and neuter procedures, allergies, arthritis management, and treating your run-of-the mill sick pet.

However, in the Twin Cities we are fortunate to have many specialists available to provide care for the less common, more complex issues that require knowledge and equipment that a general clinic does not have. I am happy to refer my cases when I feel that it would be best for my patient.

Here are some examples of recent referrals that I have made:

A young dog had an uncommon congenital dental issue causing a cyst in her jaw bone. I referred her to a veterinary dentist who successfully removed 3 teeth and the cyst lining.

A three year large breed dog partially tore the ACL (cruciate ligament) in her knee. I called a veterinary surgeon into the clinic to repair the injury.

A Mastiff had several visits here for a recurring bacterial ear infection that was so bad the ear canal was starting to ulcerate. The dog was in a lot of pain and the odor could be detected across the room. I called in a dermatologist and within 2 appointments the ear looked and smelled great! And best yet, the dermatologist devised a plan to help prevent the infection from returning.

A middle age dog has chronic degenerative disc disease in her lower back. After several visits to the visiting chiropractor, her pain and mobility are much improved and she is nearly off of pain medication.

A young dog presented in respiratory distress after trying to eat a bone he found outside. The bone was lodged in his throat and esophagus. After several unsuccessful attempts to manually remove the bone, I referred the pet to the University of MN Veterinary Hospital where he underwent emergency thoracic surgery to retrieve the bone from his esophagus.

Finally, almost every radiograph (x-ray) we take gets electronically sent to be read by a radiologist. Within a few hours I can report to the owner not only what I saw in the image, but what a trained specialist sees as well. This has greatly improved my confidence in taking radiographs. Not all veterinarians do this; many read the films themselves. I know from personal experience that things are more likely to be missed or misdiagnosed when radiographs are read only by a general practitioner.

Without the specialized skills of these doctors, these patients would not have received the best care possible. There are specialists in ophthalmology (eyes), oncology (cancer care), surgery, dermatology, dentistry, internal medicine, critical care, cardiology, behavior, radiology, pathology, and neurology. I am proud to be in the front line of care for my patients, and I am very grateful that there are veterinarians nearby to provide advanced and specialized care.