If your pet needs medical assistance, you can feel confident turning to us. Our knowledgeable staff and modern facilities are equipped to handle a wide variety of medical conditions, including emergencies. Because we can perform many diagnostic procedures in-house, we can often give you immediate answers and start treating your pet faster. In some cases, your pet may require hospitalization and further diagnostic tests. Please take a look at the more detailed descriptions of medical services we offer, or call us to discuss your pet’s needs.
Medical Assessment / Physical Examination
A complete medical assessment begins with a comprehensive physical examination by a doctor.
A complete medical assessment begins with a comprehensive physical examination by a doctor. The examination includes an evaluation of your pet’s eyes, ears, gums, lymph nodes, heart, lungs, abdominal cavity, musculoskeletal system, nervous system and skin.
The doctor will then collect a complete medical history. You, as the pet owner, have a very important role in helping the doctor collect an accurate history. Based on your pet’s condition, we may recommend further diagnostic tests, such as radiography (x-rays), endoscopy (internal scoping), ultrasound, or biopsy. If any diagnostics test are recommended, a written estimate of the costs can be provided to help you make an informed decision.
When we need to figure out what’s wrong with your pet, we routinely use x-rays as a diagnostic tool.
Interpretation of radiographs (x-rays) requires great skill on the part of the veterinarian. For more complicated issues, we are able to have your pet’s radiographs reviewed by a veterinary board certified radiologist.
We are proud to offer digital radiology (x-rays that are captured digitally rather than on film). This state-of-the-art technology allows us to provide you with a quicker diagnosis for your pet. It also exposes your pet to less radiation than traditional x-rays.
Ultrasonography (also called ultrasound or sonography) is a noninvasive, pain-free procedure that uses sound waves to examine a pet’s internal organs and other structures inside the body.
It can be used to evaluate the animal’s heart, kidneys, liver, gallbladder, and bladder; to detect fluid, cysts, tumors, or abscesses; and to confirm pregnancy or monitor an ongoing pregnancy.
We may use this imaging technique in conjunction with radiography (x-rays) and other diagnostic methods to ensure a proper diagnosis. Interpretation of ultrasound images requires great skill on the part of the clinician. At Belmont Shore Veterinary Hospital we have a radiology specialist (a veterinarian who is board certified in radiology) perform and interpret our ultrasounds so that you get the most detailed information about your pet.
Skin problems are common in dogs and cats and can be caused by hormonal disorders, allergies, infections, or parasites such as fleas and mites.
These issues can be particularly difficult to treat and should be addressed promptly.
We can often diagnose a skin problem by simply examining your pet. Some dermatologic diseases or conditions do require additional diagnostic procedures to ensure a correct diagnosis.
Contact us if you notice your dog or cat scratching excessively or if he or she develops any bare patches, scabs, scaling, redness, inflammation, lumps, or bumps.
Although heart problems are found more often in older pets, these conditions can affect pets at any age.
When needed, a board certified Cardiologist can come to our hospital to perform advanced diagnostics and consult with our veterinarians about your pet. Heart disease is usually a life-threatening condition, but early diagnosis and appropriate therapy can extend your pet’s life.
Heart disease can lead to congestive heart failure (CHF), which occurs when the heart can no longer pump blood effectively. Congenital heart disease (animals born with a heart problem), valvular heart disease (abnormalities of the heart valves), arrhythmias (rhythm disturbances), and heartworm disease can all lead to CHF.
Call us if your pet starts breathing rapidly or coughing, loses his or her appetite, tires easily, seems weak, or has trouble exercising. We can discover many heart problems during a physical exam. Additional tests, such as an electrocardiogram (ECG), radiographs (x-rays), and ultrasounds, are usually needed to accurately identify the cause of the heart disease or failure.
Tonometry (Glaucoma Test)
It is crucial for your pet’s vision that we detect and treat glaucoma and other problems with intra-ocular pressure (pressure within the eye) as quickly as possible.
We can test your dog or cat’s eyes for excess pressure easily and safely. The test, performed with a device called a tonometer, is not painful and does not require sedation.
If not treated immediately (within hours to days), glaucoma can cause permanent vision loss or even blindness. Consequently, any pets that have suffered eye injuries should have this test performed. We recommend that breeds that are prone to developing glaucoma come in for regular measurements so we can monitor eye pressure and begin treatment before any problem becomes irreversible.
Call us right away if you notice any of the following problems in either or both of your pet’s eyes: dilated (enlarged) pupils, different sized pupils, clouding of the cornea (the normally clear outer layer of the eye), red or bloodshot eyes, one eye protruding or appearing larger than the other, squinting, or tearing.
Identifying endocrine problems as early as possible is important in dogs and cats. These serious, potentially life-threatening conditions are much more manageable when caught early, allowing us to begin proper treatment.
There are several common endocrine disorders found in dogs and cats:
- Diabetes mellitus is caused by a deficiency in or resistance to the hormone insulin.
- Hypothyroidism, which is often diagnosed in dogs, indicates that the animal has low levels of thyroid hormone.
- Hyperthyroidism, which frequently affects cats, indicates that the animal has high levels of thyroid hormones.
- Addison’s disease (hypoadrenocorticism) and Cushing’s disease (hyperadrenocorticism) can also affect both species, although they are rare in cats.
Contact us if your pet begins panting excessively, develops any skin issues (such as hair loss or dull coat), or shows any changes in behavior, energy levels, appetite, weight, water consumption, or urination.
Pet Health Resources
Has your pet been diagnosed with a condition that you are unfamiliar with? Are you interested in learning more about how a particular drug works?
Would you like more information or advice on behavior, nutrition, or administering medications? We are always here to discuss these topics and more, but sometimes you may want to investigate or explore on your own, which is why we provide an extensive collection of pet health information.
Considering the wide availability of information on the Internet, it can be difficult to differentiate between what’s trustworthy and what’s not. The Pet Health section of our website contains accurate, current, and reliable information on a wide variety of topics. Feel free to search through our articles, educational programs, tips, and videos, and contact us with any questions you might have.