Internal Medicine
The Veterinary Teaching Hospital treats a range of diseases requiring expertise in internal medicine.

Pet owners can book an appointment at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital’s general outpatient department regardless of where they live in Finland. If a pet needs extensive further investigations or surgical treatment, the necessary appointments can be made on referral from a veterinarian or following a visit to the general outpatient department.

Common symptoms include:

  •  Cough
  •  Increased drinking and urination
  •  Lack of appetite
  •  Vomiting and diarrhoea
  •  Weight gain or loss
  •  Anaemia

Heart and lung diseases often cause coughing and shortness of breath in dogs and cats. To ensure appropriate treatment and a reliable diagnosis, a veterinarian with expertise in heart diseases performs examinations, including radiography, ultrasound imaging and electrocardiogram (ECG) tracing. Our experts in heart diseases are Docent Maria Wiberg, DVM, and Docent Minna Rajamäki, DVM.

The most common heart diseases developing in dogs and cats as they age include defects in the atrioventricular valves as well as cardiomyopathy. In young animals, puppies and kittens, a cardiac murmur can be caused by congenital heart disease. Occasionally, no structural changes are associated with a heart defect, but the symptoms include cardiac arrhythmia. If occasional arrhythmia is suspected, patients can also undergo Holter heart beat monitoring over a period of 24 hours.

In some dog breeds, the breeding programme includes resistance to typical heart diseases, and when selecting dogs for breeding, the heart disease clinic conducts official breeding inspections approved by the Finnish Kennel Club.

The Veterinary Teaching Hospital can also offer surgical treatment for congenital heart defects, such as correcting the fetal blood vessel linking the aorta and the pulmonary artery or performing a balloon dilatation procedure to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. 

 

Small animals can have many skin diseases, some of which are lifelong and require long-term treatment. Such conditions include allergic skin diseases. 

A treatment plan drawn up by a veterinarian specialised in skin diseases and the owner's commitment to the treatment are the best guarantees of successfully treating a disease. To support the examination, comprehensive background information is collected on the animal, general and cutaneous examinations are carried out, and skin samples are collected for testing. Several blood samples are collected to determine the health status of the animal. Allergy tests can be carried out either as skin tests or by measuring allergy antibodies in the blood.

In the case of ear diseases, a video otoscope is used to project images of the ear canal on a screen, so that the owner can also see its condition. Another technique increasingly used in the examination of ear diseases is computed tomography. 

 

 

A persistent cough may be symptomatic of a chronic lung disease.  In the case of pulmonary diseases, first a thorough general physical examination is performed on the animal. The need for further examinations and tests can then be assessed. Differential leucocyte count and radiography of the chest are common subsequent examinations to a general one. 

Special examinations include arterial blood gas analysis, tracheobronchoscopy and the collection of lavage samples, as well as computed tomography (CT).

As lung biopsies usually require surgery, tracheobronchoscopy makes it possible to examine and collect samples from the bronchi.

Most pulmonary diseases are treated with drugs.

Without endoscopy, determining the cause of chronic nasal discharge and sneezing is difficult. Endoscopy makes it possible to collect biopsies from inflammatory and tumour lesions as well as remove foreign objects from the nasal cavity. Endoscopal equipment can be used to carry out rhinoscopies on patients of all sizes.

At the hospital ward, computed tomography is also used for examining patients with chronic nasal discharge, describing specifically the extent and severity of any related changes. The CT equipment also makes it easier to carry out endoscopies. Computed tomography is also a necessary imaging technique for certain patients with pulmonary diseases.

 

Vomiting, diarrhoea and other symptoms associated with the digestive tract are common. Most of them are short term in nature and even resolve spontaneously. However, sometimes symptoms are prolonged and conventional therapies ineffective. Such symptoms may also be caused by, for example, diseases of the liver and pancreas as well as hormonal diseases.

The examination of both acute and chronic diseases of the digestive tract begins with a thorough general physical examination. To reach a diagnosis, we will if necessary carry out special examinations, including ultrasonography, endoscopy of the digestive and respiratory tract, and laparoscopy. During laparoscopy, biopsies can be collected from the liver and pancreas without surgery. 

Our examination techniques also include radiography and, if necessary, computed tomography. As the only animal hospital in Finland, we also have at our disposal the fluoroscopy imaging technique, which can be used to assess reliably, for example, diseases of the pharynx and oesophagus.

At the hospital ward, a large number of gastrointestinal endoscopies are carried out on dogs and cats. Endoscopy makes it possible to examine the oesophagus, the stomach and the duodenum as well as the large intestine. Small biopsies can also be taken from the surface of the gut to determine the cause of symptoms. Endoscopy also makes it possible to remove foreign objects from the oesophagus and stomach without surgical procedures. Through endoscopy, balloon dilation can be used to fix oesophageal stenoses.

The Veterinary Teaching Hospital is the only institution in Europe that also conducts endoscopic contrast studies of biliary tracts and pancreas in canines and felines. The procedure can be used to diagnose and treat, for example, biliary obstruction, without surgery.

Endoscopy can be used to study the urinary as well as the gastrointestinal tract. Through urethroscopy and cystoscopy, it is possible to identify, for example, changes in the mucous membranes of the urinary tract. Urethroscopy and cystoscopy can be used to collect biopsies from the bladder wall, for example, to detect tumour lesions.

Diseases of the internal organs, such as the liver, pancreas and kidneys, require the collection of blood and urine samples as well as a number of further examinations. Nearly all internal medicine patients undergo an abdominal ultrasound. Based on examinations and tests, it is sometimes necessary to collect a biopsy of an abnormal organ.

Laparoscopy offers a modern alternative to examining the abdominal cavity and collecting biopsies from internal organs instead of the traditional laparotomy, a surgical incision into the abdominal cavity. Laparoscopy is often used, for example, to collect biopsies from the liver, pancreas and kidneys so as to diagnose and treat the disease as accurately as possible.

Internal diseases in small animals can include urinary tract diseases, hormonal diseases and various infections.

 

Our experts

As the examination and treatment of patients requires diverse specialist expertise, our experienced veterinarians cooperate extensively to identify and treat symptoms.

The Veterinary Teaching Hospital’s veterinarians have broad familiarity with the field of internal medicine, and each also has a separate specialist area. Patients are referred to the top expert in the field. Our experts in medical disorders and diseases of the digestive tract are Professor Thomas Spillmann (DiplECVIM-CA) and Susanne Kilpinen, DVM, veterinary specialist in small animal diseases. Other experts with extensive knowledge of medical disorders include veterinary specialist in small animal diseases Sanna Viitanen, DVM, (DiplECVIM-CA), Emilia Gordin, Saila Holopainen, Jenni Sukura and Juulia Virtanen. Sanna Viitanen also treats patient suffering from pulmonary diseases together with Docent Minna Rajamäki, DVM, veterinary specialist in small animal diseases. 

More about internal medicine examinations

In addition to laboratory diagnostics, internal medicine examinations and therapies utilise radiography and ultrasonography as well as a range of endoscopies. The hospital is equipped with endoscopes suited to endoscopies of the stomach and sections of the respiratory tract.

The central laboratory of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital is able to analyse a wide variety of samples, and most results are available on the same day. During on-call hours, a dedicated laboratory is operational for rapidly determining the most important laboratory values affecting acute treatment.