By the time you get to Sunstone Veterinary Specialists for your pets Initial Consultation, we know that you have likely already invested time, energy, money and worry into their illness. You may have been referred to us by your family veterinarian or maybe you simply decided to seek another opinion. However you found us, we want to give you the tools to help ensure a successful first visit. Read on for insider tips on what to expect at your pets Internal Medicine Consultation.
Before the Internal Medicine Consultation
Our work on your pets case starts as soon as you call to schedule with us. Our team immediately starts the process of collecting your pets records. This includes the written medical records, any labwork, xray images, ultrasound images, and even CT or MRI images. Some of our patients have only been seen at their family veterinarian, while others have seen multiple doctors, clinics or even other specialists. We do everything we can to ensure that all of the pertinent records have been received by the time of your initial consultation. You can help our team by letting us know where your pet has been seen, most importantly in the last 1-2 years. (Please note: our doctors do not review the records until the time of appointment. We cannot give medical advice until we have seen your pet and established a valid client/patient relationship.)
Shortly after you schedule, you will receive a Welcome email from us. Please read this! There is vital information in there regarding times we are available, what to do in the event of an emergency, maintaining your relationship with your primary care doctor, etc. Closer to the date of your appointment, you will receive an Appointment Reminder email. Please also read this! This email includes fasting instructions as well as our cancellation policy. Ensuring your pet is properly fasted (unless there is a medical reason not to) gives us the ability to perform the tests or diagnostics your doctor may recommend such as an abdominal ultrasound.
At the clinic
When you arrive, you will start your visit with one of our experienced Licensed Veterinary Technicians or Veterinary Assistants. They will take you and your pet into an exam room and begin the process of collecting a history for the doctor. (Behind the scenes, your doctor is reviewing all of those medical records we mentioned before!) Once the technician has completed these questions and obtained some initial vitals, they will discuss the gathered information with the doctor. Now, it is finally time for you and your pet to meet your boarded Internal Medicine Specialist! The time with the doctor will start with a thorough physical exam and then a sit-down conversation regarding your pets case.
Why see a specialist?
You may be wondering how an Internal Medicine Specialist (or Internist) differs from your primary care veterinarian. In general, a veterinary specialist (of which there are many types) has completed advanced training beyond veterinary school. This includes an internship (at least 1 year) and residency (typically 3 years of advanced training), as well as passing a rigorous board exam in their specific field of interest. Here at Sunstone Vets, we are proud to say that all three of our Internists are board certified as well as experienced and compassionate. They have been trained to think about cases a little bit differently and have experience with diagnosing and managing complex disease processes. Check out our Internal Medicine page for more information on the types of cases they see! Also check out this video for more information on what a Veterinary Specialist is.
All of our Internists are also trained in the use of specialized equipment including but not limited to endoscopy and ultrasound. We are proud of the fact that our ultrasounds are done by our Internists and always in conjunction with an exam, consultation and medical records review. This allows them to interpret the ultrasound findings in light of your pets history to make educated, complete recommendations.
What comes next?
After you have completed the sit-down discussion portion of the initial consultation, the doctor will give you a detailed, transparent cost estimate for any tests, diagnostics or treatments you have agreed upon. These may be able to be done the same day, or you may need to schedule a time to come back. Whatever the next steps for your pet are (even if you do not move beyond the initial consultation), you will get a detailed email from us summarizing the visit. This will also be sent to your other veterinarians to be sure that everyone is kept in the loop. Please be sure to read these emails after every visit (even recheck appointments) as they often contain quick answers to your questions!
In some cases, we may advise you that what we call a Second Opinion Consultation is necessary for your pet. Times we may recommend this include: if your pet has already seen another specialist; they have already had an abdominal ultrasound performed; they have already had advanced diagnostics performed, etc. In cases like these, there are often hundreds (yes hundreds!) of pages of medical records for our doctors to review and the discussion of your pets’ case can be long and involved. We highly value your time as well as our Internists advanced training and knowledge. Having this Second Opinion option ensures that we can devote the time and energy that your pet deserves.
Remember, our services are only a part of your pets complete medical team. Depending on the severity of your pets condition, it is always our goal to return the care of your pet to your primary care veterinarian.
We hope that this blog helped shed a little light on what to expect during an Internal Medicine Consultation at Sunstone Vets. Please contact us with any further questions and as always, let us know if we can help! Healthy wishes to you and your furry family members!
The team at Sunstone Veterinary Specialists