Internal Medicine (Large Animal)

Services

The Large Animal Internal Medicine Service at the University of Minnesota diagnoses and provides specialist treatment for horses and other large animal species with a wide variety of medical conditions.

Our team includes board-certified veterinarians, veterinarians undergoing specialist training (residents and interns) and certified veterinary technicians.

We offer advanced diagnostic techniques including ultrasound, endoscopy, and gastroscopy and provide specialist care for a wide range of health conditions including metabolic, infectious, endocrine, hematologic, gastrointestinal, liver, renal, cardiac and respiratory disorders.

We also work closely with other specialty services at the Veterinary Medical Center including Anesthesiology, Cardiology, Clinical Pathology and Diagnostic Laboratory, Dentistry, Dermatology, Medical Imaging, Integrative Medicine, Neurology, Nutrition, Oncology, Surgery and Theriogenology to provide comprehensive veterinary care for your animal.

Critical care

Critical care

We offer 24-hour/365 day specialist care for all large animal species, including horses, camelids, cattle, pot-bellied pigs and small ruminants. Certified veterinary technicians are present 24 hrs a day, supervised by our veterinarians to provide the very best in care. Support includes oxygen therapy, mechanical ventilation, Anderson and camelid slings for animals that need help to stand, plasma and whole blood transfusions, IV fluid therapy, IV nutrition and a full range of monitoring equipment and diagnostics, including a 24 hour clinical laboratory.

Neonatal Intensive Care

Neonatal Intensive Care

Our faculty and staff are highly experienced in managing the variety of disorders that may affect the neonatal foal or other large animal. Our specially designed Neonatal Intensive Care Unit is designed to accommodate the special needs of the critically ill neonate as well as pregnant animals at increased risk for complications around birth.

Contagious Diseases

Contagious Diseases

Our isolation facilities and procedures allow for the separation of horses and other large animals that have a contagious disease such as salmonellosis or equine influenza. These separate facilities protect other patients in the hospital and also allow for intensive care of the patient to continue unhindered. Our faculty and staff are very experienced in diagnosing and managing a wide variety of contagious diseases.

Gastrointestinal Disorders

Gastrointestinal Disorders

We offer the latest in diagnostic and treatment options for problems such as colic, colitis (diarrhea), gastric ulcers, chronic inflammatory bowel disease, weight loss, or poor appetite. Capabilities include a 3 ½ meter gastroscope, ultrasound examination performed by experienced clinicians and intestinal absorption studies.

Respiratory Diseases

Respiratory Diseases

Our specialists diagnose and treat infectious and allergic diseases using advanced equipment and diagnostic procedures such as endoscopy, tracheal or bronchoalveolar lavage, bacterial culture, virus isolation, and/or skin testing. We can evaluate horses for laryngeal dysfunction (“roarers”) while being ridden in the area or on a high speed treadmill using our dynamic (overground) endoscope. Oxygen, nebulization and aeromask therapies are available.

Cardiac Diseases

Cardiac Diseases

We collaborate with board certified cardiologists to provide state of the heart assessments and therapy for heart murmurs, exercise intolerance and arrhythmias. Diagnostic capabilities include state of the art echocardiographic assessment, ECG monitoring under exercise, 24 hour Holter monitoring and treadmill stress testing.

Neurologic Diseases

Neurologic Diseases

We evaluate, diagnose and treat large animal patients with a wide variety of neurologic conditions such as wobblers syndrome, headshaking and seizures. Signs of a neurological problem include neck or back pain, issues with balance, muscle atrophy, weakness, tremors, difficulty swallowing, deafness or blindness. We offer a broad range of diagnostic capabilities include spinal taps, EPM testing, radiography, myelograms, CT, MRI and muscle biopsy.

Tying-up and other muscle diseases

Tying-up and other muscle diseases

Our faculty have experience diagnosing a wide variety of muscle disorders. A full examination may include exercise testing, muscle biopsy evaluation and genetic testing.

Wellness examinations for older horses

Wellness examinations for older horses

We can provide routine, in-depth health evaluations for problems seen in older horses such as dental abnormalities, pars pituitary intermedia dysfunction (PPID or equine Cushing’s disease) and, and weight loss.

Other medical conditions

Other medical conditions

In addition to the conditions mentioned above, we also provide evaluations for endocrinopathies, such as equine metabolic syndrome (EMS), skin disorders, laminitis and nutrition concerns. We are uniquely qualified to examine, diagnose, and treat a wide variety of complex conditions that may involve more than one organ system or require a multifaceted approach.

Useful information

Appointments are longer than are typical in private practice since a complete workup can usually be performed in one day. Animals can be dropped off the night before and trailer parking is available.

Feel free to call ahead to ask about estimates or specific procedures.

Contact Information

612-625-6700

Our Team

Faculty:
Emily Barrell, DVM, MSc, DACVIM
Alex Bianco, DVM, MS, DACVIM 
Anna Firshman, BVSc, PhD, Diplomate ACVIM, Diplomate ACVSMR
Christie Ward, DVM, PhD, MVSc, Diplomate ACVIM 

House Officers:
Erin Elder, DVM
Lauren Hughes, DVM
Leah Toombs-Ruanne, DVM

Technicians:
Paul Weinand, CVT

Information for Prospective House Officers

The Piper Equine Hospital and Large Animal Hospital offers an exciting learning environment and facility for veterinarians interested in pursuing a career in large animal medicine. Our board certified internists are experienced in wide ranging areas and we are well-supported by ancillary services. Veterinary residents and interns enrolled in our specialty training programs will experience the challenges and rewards of practicing large animal internal medicine in a practical setting with full support of an experienced faculty and technical staff. Our program follows the guidelines of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine. 

“My experience at the University of Minnesota, as a large animal intern, was one of the best times in my life. It was a great atmosphere to learn, be trained by some of the best experts in the veterinary field, and make lifelong friendships. I would recommend this internship to anyone looking to enhance their skills and knowledge in large animal medicine.
- Katheryn Johnson DVM”

If you are interested in learning more about our program please contact lah@umn.edu