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My neighbor mentioned that she had taken her dog to a veterinary ophthalmologist for blindness.  She had cataracts diagnosed, surgery was done and now her dog can see.  My dog Rudy, a 10 year old West Highland White Terrier, is anemic and has a chronic cough.   Is there a specialist I could see for that kind of problem?  What kind of special training would that person have that could help my dog? 

Just as in human medicine, veterinary medicine includes many different types of specialties.  To see a complete list of recognized veterinary specialist organizations, go to the web page www.avma.org/education/abvs/specialties.  For Rudy’s problems of anemia and cough, the specialist you would wish to consult would be a board certified veterinary specialist in internal medicine known as a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM).  These specialists have completed undergraduate training and four years of veterinary school, followed by 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 to achieve board certification from the ACVIM.  Specialists bring a greater understanding in the area of internal medicine, cardiology, oncology or neurology, and have a greater knowledge of the unusual, the uncommon, and the rare maladies in both large and small animals.

Rudy’s anemia might be investigated by such tests as bone marrow biopsy or specialized laboratory testing for infectious or immune diseases.  Investigating causes for a chronic cough could include xrays, bronchoscopy, fluoroscopy, tracheal wash or bronchoalveolar lavage.  These decisions would be made at the time of your appointment with the specialists who would be in consultation with your family veterinarian.  To locate an internal medicine specialist near you, go to the web page www.acim.org.  Best of luck to you in the quest to help Rudy!

Mary Ann Crawford, DVM, Diplomate, ACVIM (Internal Medicine)

Dr. Crawford received her DVM degree from The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1978. After additional training at The Animal Medical Center and Michigan State University, she achieved board certification in the specialty of Internal Medicine. She was Professor and Head of the Medicine Department at Louisiana State University College of Veterinary Medicine before coming to Oradell Animal Hospital in 1986. Dr. Crawford is a past president of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine and a past president of the Northern New Jersey Veterinary Medical Association. She was awarded "Distinguished Alumnus" from The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1995 and in 2004 "Outstanding Alumnus" from the Animal Medical Center in New York City. She is also the recipient of the 1997 Friskies Pet Care Award for Feline Medicine and Nutrition given for outstanding clinical research in the area of feline hepatic lipidosis. Dr. Crawford has been involved in a number of clinical research projects and continues to volunteer for the state, currently acting as chair of the Education Committee of the New Jersey Veterinary Foundation. In her free time she spends time with her family and enjoys swimming and participating in community activities.
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