Feline Internal Medicine

At Veterinary Specialists Scotland, we recognise that cats are a very different species from dogs, with their own unique requirements.

These special considerations have been taken into account not only throughout the design of the hospital but also when investigating and managing their illnesses.

Cats often lead a more independent lifestyle than dogs, making it more difficult for owners to know what they are up to. They are also more likely to become anxious and stressed in unfamiliar surroundings, which can limit the usefulness of the clinical examination, unless this is done in a sympathetic fashion respecting the cat’s boundaries. At Veterinary Specialist Scotland we have members of the team with advanced qualifications in Feline Medicine and extensive experience in working with cats in order that we can make your cat feel as relaxed as possible during their hospital stay.

Please see information about what it means to be a Cat Friendly Clinic.

See also their guidance for how to give medicine to your cat.

What We Offer

For some patients it may be obvious what the problem is (e.g. a broken leg or a lump that has been found). However, in many circumstances the diagnosis is not known, and your cat will be referred to the Feline Internal Medicine Service in order to identify what the cause of their clinical signs might be. We will work with you to find the diagnosis and establish the most suitable treatment regime for your pet.

The conditions we investigate include:

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Endocrine Disease

Endocrine diseases are those affecting the hormones within the body. One of the most common endocrine diseases cats suffer from is diabetes mellitus, requiring treatment with insulin. Stabilisation of diabetic patients can sometimes be challenging, and cats require a different approach from dogs. Unlike dogs, well-managed cases can sometimes go into remission, where insulin is no longer required. We have a wealth of experience in managing these cases, along with other hormonal conditions affecting the thyroid glands, adrenal glands, and parathyroid glands.

Gastrointestinal Disorders

Signs of gastrointestinal disease can include anorexia, vomiting, diarrhoea, constipation and/or weight loss. These signs will typically be investigated with a combination of blood tests, imaging (such as ultrasound or CT examination) and endoscopy, where flexible cameras are inserted into the upper gastrointestinal tract (oesophagus, stomach and duodenum) and the lower gastrointestinal tract (colon and ileum). Fluoroscopy (video form of x-rays) can be used to investigate swallowing disorders. Nutrition is very important to cats, and it is important that adequate food intake is maintained in these patients, which sometimes requires feeding tube placement.

Haematological Disorders

Cats are frequently seen for anaemia (low red blood cell numbers), but this can be due to several conditions. Many cats may need support with blood transfusions until the cause of the anaemia can be identified and more specific treatment given.

Infectious Diseases

Cats with infectious diseases often present with vague signs such as decreased appetite, weight loss, high temperatures. Several tests may be required to identify if an infection is causing these signs, and which one, as several diseases can present with these similar, vague signs. Whilst many infections can be transient and short-lived, some infections, if not diagnosed can lead to longer-term illness. Obtaining an accurate diagnosis means the most appropriate treatment can be given.

Liver and Pancreatic Disease

Cats may get liver disease if anorexia is prolonged beyond 3-5 days (hepatic lipidosis) but can also suffer from inflammatory conditions of the liver and gall bladder (cholangiohepatitis), which can present with jaundice. Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis) is also a commonly seen condition, which can require quite intensive management in acute, severe cases

Respiratory Disorders

Sneezing and coughing are common signs of respiratory illness in cats. Using a combination of CT investigation and very small endoscopic cameras, we can investigate feline nasal, airway or lung disease.

Urinary Tract Disorders

Cats may suffer from conditions affecting the upper urinary tract (e.g. acute or chronic kidney disease) or the lower urinary tract (e.g. idiopathic cystitis, bladder stones). We can investigate these conditions fully using a combination of blood tests, urine tests and imaging (ultrasound and CT) to provide the best treatment possible.

If you are a referring veterinary surgeon and would like to discuss or refer a case, please contact our team. We will aim to reply as soon as possible.

Testimonials

What our clients say:

Alastair Kerr
Alastair Kerr
26 May 2024
The best place for great care for you pet.
karen hamilton
karen hamilton
21 May 2024
Our bernese mountain dog Merlin had issues with his gait and after physio exams and xrays from our own vet we were recommended to get an MRI. We decided to take him to Livingston rather than Glasgow based on reviews and we were not disappointed! The service and professionalism shown to us by all staff and especially Alexandra was unbelievable. She explained everything in layman terms for us so that we could fully understand what was happening with our boy. We arrived so anxious and we left with a full diagnosis and we can now get on with enjoying our boy. Thankyou so much to everyone 💓
fiona mccormack
fiona mccormack
11 May 2024
My dog was referred here by my vet after all other options had been covered. They were amazing and really looked after Buster. Sadly it wasn’t the outcome we wanted but I can’t fault anything about his treatment and the way the staff dealt with us through an incredibly difficult time. We were kept fully informed at all times and everything as very sensitively handled.
Gayle Mcdowell
Gayle Mcdowell
25 April 2024
All the staff are great and take fantastic care of my dog
Wendy Busby
Wendy Busby
16 April 2024
Our beloved dog Dougal was referred to VSS recently in a very poorly state. Tobias, Joni and the wonderful nursing team admitted him for some life saving surgery and critical care. We would have lost Dougal if it had not been for the skills and care of this team. The communication was clear and warm, but also was forthright and honest about Dougals chances. After nearly a week miraculously we got him home. He still needed care in his recovery and after what he went through I cannot quite believe how well he is doing. The updates from the team were just right, his condition explained each time and progress or risks discussed. Follow up caring communication has also been second to none. I would still say the same if the outcome had not been favourable, and wholeheartedly recommend the team that work in this incredible veterinary care service.
Janka Hudak
Janka Hudak
12 April 2024
Our journey with Veterinary Specialists Scotland began when our 8-month-old Papillon, Whisky, suffered a severe fracture to her front leg. The referral to Dr. Joni Viitanen and his team was a turning point during this emergency. From the moment we arrived, the response was both professional and deeply compassionate—they admitted Whisky immediately and made sure she was as comfortable as possible. Dr. Viitanen performed surgery the very next day, and during Whisky’s three-day stay, we felt she was in the best hands. The team was not only exemplary in their medical care but also in providing emotional support, making Whisky’s first time away from home as gentle as possible. They kept us well-informed throughout her treatment, always ready to answer our questions and calm our worries. The news that Whisky had completely healed after just seven weeks was a profound relief. Every staff member we encountered was incredibly supportive, ensuring that all administrative tasks, including the insurance claim, were handled smoothly. We are truly grateful to Dr. Viitanen and the entire Orthopaedic Team for their outstanding dedication. Their blend of professional expertise and heartfelt care made all the difference. We highly recommend Veterinary Specialists Scotland to anyone seeking exceptional care for their pets. Thank you for everything you’ve done for Whisky and for us.
John McKellar
John McKellar
22 March 2024
Recently took our dog Sparky to these guys and found the experience from reception staff to veterinary professional care brilliant.
Bill ferguson
Bill ferguson
9 March 2024
Very helpful and professional care team,could not fault any of the help we were given.
Bethany Rutherford
Bethany Rutherford
5 March 2024
My young dog was recently discharged after a long year of treatment at Veterinary Specialists Scotland. After an injury she required a carpal arthrodesis surgery and through no ones fault seemed to hit every bump in the road in the months to follow. The care she received was impeccable and Joni her surgeon was fantastic. During a really stressful and upsetting period of being a dog owner Joni was super helpful and patient. He kept us informed every step of the way. We knew the risks to every surgery and were able to make fully informed decisions about her care. Joni had our full trust and kept us reassured and confident that she would come out the other side with all four legs. I felt Joni and the team here were fully invested in my dogs recovery and wellbeing. We were kept up to date during her stays and kept in contact with after her discharges post treatment. I am glad to say that we are now on the other side after such a worrying year and my wee dog is loving being on the road back to her normal life. Thank you so much to everyone at Veterinary Specialist Scotland and a special thanks to Joni I am so grateful!

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Feline Internal Medicine Facilities

Meet the Feline Internal Medicine Team

Nicki Reed

BVM&S CertVR DSAM (Feline) Dipl.ECVIM-CA FRCVS

European Veterinary Specialist in Small Animal Internal Medicine

Nick Bommer

BSc BVM&S DSAM Dipl.ECVIM-CA MRCVS

European Veterinary Specialist in Small Animal Internal Medicine

Fiona Whitworth

BVM&S Dipl.ECVIM-CA MRCVS

European Veterinary Specialist in Small Animal Internal Medicine

Debbie Morland

DipAVN(Med) A1 V1 CertVNECC AFHEA RVN

Internal Medicine Team Lead RVN