Internal Medicine & Physical Exams

Quick diagnostics lead to quick treatment.

Internal medicine is the basis for all veterinary services, and it starts with your pet’s physical exams. From here, our veterinarians at The Goodland Pet Hospital determine the condition of your pet, makes any relevant diagnoses, and begins necessary treatments. Internal medicine involves cardiology and thoracic services, dermatology, gastroenterology, infectious disease, neurology, and urology. Our veterinarians in Santa Barbara provide all these services with skill and the utmost of care and compassion.

Our animal hospital is equipped with the most advanced equipment and tools available today. With these our veterinarians practice precise internal medicine to accurately diagnose problems.

  • Digital radiography: Allows us to diagnose many conditions in a non-invasive manner. Results are instant and used to examine bones, stomach, heart, and lungs.
  • Ultrasound: A non-invasive tool, this uses sound waves to create an instant image. It helps diagnose conditions of the gallbladder, spleen, adrenals, kidney, bladder and stomach.
  • Blood and urine testing: Many things can be diagnosed by examining blood work and urine. Our in-house lab expedites accurate results.
  • Other: We also have the skill and equipment to perform other tests, such as an EKG.
Cardiology and Thoracic Services

Tremendous advancements have been made in human cardiology (the diagnosis and treatment) of human heart disease. Some of these advancements are beginning to trickle down to veterinary cardiology however at a slower rate due to the costs of the equipment needed by the veterinarian, the ability of a pet owner to pay for the use of this advanced equipment and the proper education required by the veterinarian to use this equipment. Nonetheless, you should know the term “interventional cardiology” which is the use of minimally invasive surgical procedures to treat heart disease. This does exist as a veterinary treatment option, to a lesser extent than in human cardiology, for those who are prepared to go to a select number of veterinary hospitals such as University California Davis. These techniques are based on the use of real-time x-rays (i.e. Fluoroscopy) and various specialized catheters which are capable of depositing various stents and balloons in various locations within the heart.

At this hospital we employ x-rays, echocardiography with color flow and pulse wave Doppler (where blood flow velocities and pressure within the heart are used to establish a diagnosis), Doppler blood pressure monitors, electrocardiogram (EKG), multiparameter monitors, and a number of commercial blood tests to assess and diagnose your pet’s heart disease. For lung disease, these tests can be extended by the use of a bronchoscope. Only after a proper and accurate diagnosis can any definitive medication safely be used to manage your pet’s heart disease.

Congenital maldevelopment of the heart muscle, valves or large blood vessels around the heart such as PDA (Patent Ductus Arteriosis), ventricular and atrial septal defects, leaky heart valve due to malformation such as dysplasia or stenosis, acquired diseases such as Cardiomyopathy, leaky heart valve either due to aging or infection and fluid around the heart (pericardial effusion).

A large variety of lung diseases have been diagnosed and successfully treated at this hospital by either medicine or by surgery. We are very experienced with open and endoscopic-assisted chest surgeries. We have successfully performed PDA surgery as well as persistent right aortic arch surgery and a wide variety of partial or complete lung lobectomies for a variety of reasons such as trauma, chronic localized infection, and cancer. The list of related treatments is too long to list. You can always call and ask our experience level for any given procedure.


  • Bronchoscope – Endoscopy of the airways and lungs, facilitating thorough examination of the respiratory tract to identify abnormalities, collect samples, identify and remove foreign bodies and biopsy lesions or masses.
  • Echo Cardiography with Color Flow and Pulse Wave Doppler – Ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to look at organs and structures inside the body without entering the body. It allows your veterinarian to view the heart, blood vessels, kidneys, liver and other organs. Unlike x-rays, ultrasound does not involve exposure to radiation. Our state of the art Ultrasound machine allows us to see blood flowing through arteries and veins by use of color flow Doppler. Additionally, we can measure the amount of blood flow per second by use of the pulse wave Doppler. Both of these imaging capabilities allow us to accurately assess your pet’s heart and abdominal organs far better than just simple ultrasound alone. Our machine is also equipped with a 3D image mode. Additionally, If the disease site is an abdominal site we often do ultrasound-guided tissue aspirates or biopsies so we can evaluate the site microscopically to help make a definitive diagnosis. These imaging tools can also be used to help us remove fluid from around the heart, lungs and abdominal organs. Studies of this fluid help us make a diagnosis as well as often make your pet feel better.
  • Electrocardiogram – Instrument which measures the amplitude and direction of electrical current moving through the heart muscle. Used to detect arrhythmias where a specific drug may be needed to control the abnormal heart rhythm.
  • Radiology – X-rays used to determine the size of the heart and the health status of the lungs. Lung tissue often collects body fluid when a pet is in heart failure so although x-rays are nothing new we still rely upon them for this type of information.
  • Doppler Blood Pressure and Oscillometric Blood Pressure Continuous Monitors – Used to measure and monitor your pets blood pressure. We can also measure and monitor central venous blood pressure here at this hospital.
  • Blood Gas Machine – Used to measure not only the effectiveness of the heart to pump blood, the body to use oxygen but also to measure the function of the lungs.
  • Multiparameter Monitors – Used to measure sPO2 (oxygen saturation level of the blood), ETCO2 (the amount of Co2 that is coming out of the lungs) and oscillometric blood pressure on a continuous basis. This is often used in critical care.


One of our more recent interesting cardiac disease cases was in a 6-8-year-old German Shepherd that had low-grade fevers and low platelet counts on blood work. Initially, she had no heart murmur. X-rays showed a normal heart but echocardiogram showed there was an infection of her aortic heart valve. Blood cultures revealed a staphylococcus infection. This dog was successfully managed on long term antibiotics for 3 years. If open heart surgery could have been done, this could have been a curable disease. The limiting factor other than expertise in doing this is the ability to operate and own a heart and lung machine and this is rarely found even in the best university teaching hospitals.


Pet Dermatology is a branch of veterinary medicine involving the testing, diagnosis, and treatment of animal skin diseases. All pets can suffer dermatological disorders that symptoms ranging from mild itching and “hot spots” to widespread sores and extreme hair loss. In fact, skin problems affecting pets is the most common reason people take pets to their veterinarian in Santa Barbara, especially when treatment prescribed by another vet is not working and they want a second opinion.

Overview of Pet Dermatology Services in Santa Barbara

Formulating a correct diagnosis regarding dog and cat skin conditions requires detailed answers to questions about your pet’s medical history, lifestyle, dietary choices and timeline of the animal’s symptoms. After gathering this information and physically examining your pet’s skin conditions, your vet may be able to provide an immediate diagnosis or request further testing be performed.

Examining samples of fur, scabs and skin biopsies under a microscope for evidence of bacteria or fungal pathogens, performing blood tests if food allergies are suspected or employing skin patch tests are a few examples of how our pet dermatology services can have your pet feeling happy and healthy again. In addition to our onsite clinical lab, we also have access to off-site labs specializing in completing a wide variety of dermatological tests.

What to look for:

The most common reason pets scratch, chew and lick their skin non-stop is because they are allergic to something, whether it is seasonal pollen, commercial pet food, parasites (fleas, lice, mites), fungal infections (ringworm), metabolic disorders, underlying systemic infections or a combination of two or more of these reasons. Thinning hair, bald patches, flaky/scaly skin, scabs, skin discoloration and swelling of affected areas are also classic signs your pet has dermatological problems.

Sometimes, a dog or cat may be losing hair but does not scratch, chew or bite at their skin. Loss of hair, poor coat quality and/or flaky/scabby skin may be due to hypothyroidism, hyperadrenocorticism (elevated cortisol levels), hormonal disorders, staph infection or undiagnosed autoimmune disease. Additionally, certain breeds of dogs are prone to suffering hereditary or congenital skin conditions, especially standard poodles, Sharpies, American bulldogs and Dobermans.

Need a second opinion?

Most pet skin conditions are curable with the right treatment plan. Some dermatological disorders may require long-term management with prescriptions and dietary changes to suppress an overactive immune or endocrine system. If you have taken your pet to a veterinarian for help with skin issues but your pet is still scratching and losing hair, come see us!


This is the study of your pet’s digestive system. This happens to be one of the most common organ systems which we see get sick in pets. If your pet has ever had diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, bloody or black tarry stool chances are you were dealing with a disease(s) process involving your pet’s intestines, liver, pancreas, or circulation. Our goal initially may be a course of symptomatic supportive care such as changes in food, various medications and instruction not to allow your pet to eat plant material or other non-food stuff. If this does not cure the problem or if the problem continues, then you will be asked to consider allowing us to perform diagnostic tests to try to determine the cause of these symptoms. When this is required, we often rely on a variety of different blood tests, fecal tests, x-rays, ultrasound, endoscopy (looking into the esophagus, stomach and upper small intestine by use of a flexible scope) and colonoscopy (looking into the colon by use of a flexible scope). Certainly, not every chronic vomiting or diarrhea situation calls for the use of all of the listed diagnostic tools, but some do. All of the necessary tools and experience in their use are found here at GPH.

RELATED DIAGNOSES treated on a regular basis at GPH

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), food allergies and testing, intestinal foreign bodies, cancer, intussusception, polypectomy, pyloric stenosis, gastro-esophageal hernias, pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer, Liver: shunts, hepatitis, gall bladder diseases and removal, cancer and removal.


  • Endoscope – A minimally invasive instrument used to examine inside the body through natural openings or through one or more tiny holes (laparoscopy), rather than a large incision. Our endoscope consists of a flexible tube which can be directed in many directions at its end to see all areas of the lining of the esophagus, stomach and upper small intestine. This scope has a light delivery system for illumination, a lens for transmitting an image to an eyepiece and TV monitor and an additional channel to allow for insertion of medical instruments to retrieve intestinal lining tissue and in some cases perform minor surgical procedures such as polypectomies.
  • Ultrasound – Ultrasound of the entire abdomen is very commonly performed here and has been an extremely useful and non-invasive tool to help us make a diagnosis of digestive diseases. It is used more commonly than even the endoscope but both complement one another.
  • Laboratory – We use both on-site as well as commercial laboratories for blood and urine tests. We use only commercial laboratories for cultures, PCR, exotic fecal tests and biopsies. Often the diagnosis is made in a laboratory from the specimens we have taken.
  • Radiography (X-rays) – A very important diagnostic tool, often used first on a vomiting pet.


It is not unusual for us to remove small intestinal blockages, either foreign objects such as avocado seeds, balls, toys, or small intestinal tumors by using what is called a “laparoscopic-assisted procedure.” The advantages to your pet are less pain by doing the surgery through smaller incisions. This idea is widely employed in human surgery for the same reasons.

Another commonly performed procedure done here at GPH is the removal of foreign materials such as cloth, plastic, rubber, leather, metallic, wood, rock and bone from the esophagus and stomach by simply using the endoscope and special endoscopic instruments placed into your pet’s mouth, esophagus and stomach. In this instance, no incisions are needed to be provided we can safely extract the foreign material with the scope alone. Sometimes it is necessary to convert to an open procedure as not all esophageal and stomach foreign material can safely be removed this way. You should do the scoping at a facility that employs a doctor and staff that is experienced in both thoracic and abdominal open surgeries. Here at GPH, we are very experienced with all open surgeries involving the digestive system in both body cavities.

We once had a case in a Labrador Retriever where the owner came in frantic as the dog had eaten her wedding ring. X-rays showed the ring was in the dog’s stomach along with lots of other foreign material including an intact pair of women’s underwear. Both the wedding ring and underwear were easily and successfully removed from the dog’s stomach without making an incision and the dog went home that same evening with a relieved owner. If the owner would have waited any longer the underwear would have caused serious illness had it gotten stuck in the small intestine.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Canine IBS is more common than many pet owners realize, but our veterinarian in Santa Barbara offers diagnosis, treatment, and management options for dogs suffering from this condition. If your dog is showing symptoms of gastrointestinal distress or if you’re seeking a second opinion on another veterinarian’s diagnosis, our team at The Goodland Pet Hospital is here to help.

Understanding Irritable Bowel Syndrome in Dogs

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects dogs in similar ways that it affects humans. Specifically, IBS refers to a condition where the bowels become inflamed, usually as a result of food having a difficult time passing smoothly through the digestive system itself. While each dog’s symptoms can vary, some of the most common symptoms reported by pet owners include:

  • occasional or frequent diarrhea
  • abdominal bloating
  • nausea and vomiting
  • passing small amounts of feces

The specific causes of IBS in dogs can vary greatly, though dietary intolerances are often to blame. If your pet is showing any signs of IBS, we recommend that you schedule an appointment with our animal hospital at your earliest convenience.

Diagnosis and Treatment Options From Our Veterinarian

Our veterinarian offers a wide range of gastroenterology services in our office, including diagnostics and treatment for IBS in dogs. Specifically, we have a number of diagnostic tools at our disposal that we can use to evaluate your pet and determine whether or not IBS is an accurate diagnosis. One of the resources we may use as part of our diagnosis is the endoscope, which is used to examine the inside of your pet’s body, including the intestines, stomach, and esophagus. The great thing about this tool is that it can be used without the need for an incision, and it can even come in handy in certain surgical procedures, such as polypectomies.

In addition to endoscopy services, we may also recommend an ultrasound to take a non-invasive look at your pet’s digestive system. This may help us to spot inflammation of the digestive system without the need for a more invasive procedure like an endoscopy. We can also perform laboratory testing (such as blood and fecal testing) when needed, in addition to radiographs (X-rays) for pets suffering from digestive distress.

Once we have performed all the necessary diagnostics, we can make treatment recommendation if your dog has IBS. One of the treatments we often recommend (especially for dogs with dietary intolerances) is that of switching to a special diet. Taking steps to minimize stress in your dog’s life can also reduce his or her chances of flare-ups and symptoms.

Request a Consultation With Our Santa Barbara Veterinarian

If you suspect that your dog has IBS or if you’re looking for a second opinion from a Santa Barbara veterinarian you can trust, The Goodland Pet Hospital is here to help. Give us a call today at (805) 685-4513 to set up an appointment and take advantage of our new client special!

Infectious Disease

At The Goodland Pet Hospital, our experienced veterinary team diagnoses and treats conditions resulting from all types of infections. Our veterinarian in Goleta and Santa Barbara has experience with the diagnosis of many common canine and feline infections caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. When your pet is sick, we understand just how stressful this experience can be for both pets and their owners. That’s why we work closely with pet owners at each step of the diagnosis and treatment process, providing clear communication and discussion about your pet’s health condition and different treatment options. Our goal is to get your pet back to living an active life as quickly and safely as possible.

Goleta Veterinarian Diagnoses and Treats Canine & Feline Infectious Diseases

Common canine infectious diseases including heartworms, parvovirus, canine influenza, canine herpes, distemper, Ehrlichia infection, giardia, rocky mountain spotted fever, and leptospirosis can be contracted by humans as well as dogs. Our veterinarian is experienced in the treatment of fungal infections including ringworm, which is contagious to humans, as well as sarcoptic mange (scabies), whipworms, tapeworms, and roundworms. Common feline infectious diseases include feline immunodeficiency virus (FiV), feline infectious peritonitis (FIP, a disease caused by a feline coronavirus), and feline leukemia virus (FeLV), one of the most common and widespread feline infectious diseases that can be found in cat populations around the world. Cats, like dogs, are also susceptible to heartworms; wherever dogs are considered to be at risk for heartworms, cats are as well.

Pet Vaccinations Protect Against Some Infectious Diseases

Vaccinations can help prevent or significantly reduce the risk that your pets will contract a deadly infectious disease. In alignment with recommendations from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), our Goleta animal hospital recommends all dogs be vaccinated against canine parvovirus, distemper, canine adenovirus, and rabies. Depending on your dog’s lifestyle, we may also recommend additional vaccination against bordetella (“kennel cough”) and leptospirosis. The feline core vaccinations recommended by AVMA are feline herpes virus 1 (FHV1), feline calicivirus (FCV), feline panleukopenia virus (FPV) and rabies. Non-core vaccines include the vaccines for feline leukemia virus (FeLV), feline immunodeficiency virus, virulent FCV, Chlamydia felis, and Bordetella.

Talk to our veterinarian about whether your dog is a good candidate for the parainfluenza virus (CPiV) vaccination, canine influenza virus vaccination, or the combined distemper-measles vaccine. Canine influenza first emerged in greyhounds in Florida and has since spread to dog populations in Colorado, Florida, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York. Depending on your cat’s lifestyle and whether additional cats are present in the home with feline leukemia virus (FeLV) or feline immunodeficiency virus (FiV), we may also recommend these feline vaccinations. Our veterinary team continually monitors the spread of different infectious diseases through the canine and feline populations and adjusts vaccination recommendations accordingly in alignment with AVMA.

Pet Neurology

Neurology is the study of the nervous system in an attempt to diagnose and treat diseases of the nervous system. This is accomplished by a proper accurate physical examination including neurologic examination. There is a wide variety of nervous system diseases. Some are primary diseases of the nerve tissue directly while other diseases distant to nerve tissue can have adverse effects on the nervous system causing neurologic symptoms. There are also patients that have comorbidities where both are involved.

Specialized imaging techniques can make diagnosing some of these diseases easier. The example is the option to request an MRI or CT scan, the very same that is commonly used on humans to do the same thing. We have ample access to many imaging centers located from Ventura to Los Angeles when time is not critical to obtain a diagnosis and begin treatment. In some neurologic diseases, you do not have the luxury of time to make a diagnosis and begin treatment since the longer nerve tissue is diseased the more likely it will never return to normal. In these instances, an emergency myelogram  (involving a spinal tap and injection of liquid that is easily seen on an x-ray) is performed to help us make a diagnosis to establish whether or not surgical intervention is necessary to try to save nerve function. Myelograms should be performed at a veterinary hospital where the doctor and staff are capable of doing neurosurgery. We are experienced at spinal neurosurgery and have successfully performed myelograms, CSF taps as well as herniated disk surgery involving the thoracolumbar and sacral spinal vertebrae as well as repairing fractured thoracic, lumbar and sacral vertebrae.

Other diseases that affect the nervous system are autoimmune diseases, low blood sugar due to pancreatic cancer and infection, as well as parasites and much more. We do not do brain surgery, however, we can refer you to a hospital that does.

One thing to note, it is frequently a long labor intensive task not only for the doctors and staff but also on you as the pet owner to rehabilitate many animals which have nervous tissue diseases and neurosurgery.

RELATED DIAGNOSES treated on a regular basis at GPH

Herniated lumbar and lumbosacral disk disease and laminectomy, Lumbosacral instability, Myasthenia Gravis, Septicemia, diskospondylitis, Spinal vertebrae fractures


  • X-ray Machine
  • High Speed Burr Driver
  • Bone Plating Sets and Air Driven Drills
  • Clinical Laboratory including blood clotting test machine
  • Experience doing Myelography and Lumbosacral Vertebrae Surgery
Pet Urology

Many pet owners don’t realize the importance of monitoring their pets for a urological disorder. Just like humans, pets are also vulnerable to urological disorders, such as kidney/bladder stones, urinary incontinence, kidney failure (both acute and chronic), and urinary tract blockage. At The Goodland Pet Hospital, we are capable of identifying and treating urological disorders in pets.

The Symptoms of Urological Disorders

You should have your pet checked out by a veterinarian at least once every year by a veterinarian. However, a yearly check-up isn’t enough to prevent your pet from suffering from a urological disorder. You should know the symptoms of urological disorders to look out for in your pet.

  • Urinary incontinence, which refers to the leakage of urine or involuntary urination

  • Traces of blood in urine

  • Increased urinating and drinking

  • Straining or difficulty urinating

Overall, if you notice any major changes in your pet’s urinating habits, you should take your pet to see a veterinarian here at The Goodland Pet Hospital. Chances are, your pet may have a urological disorder, such as kidney stones. It is especially important to your monitor your pet for the symptoms of urological disorders after he or she has undergone surgery. A veterinarian will provide you with advice to prevent your pet from suffering from urological disorders while he or she recovers.

Preventing Urological Disorders in Goleta

Not only should you monitor your pet for urological disorders, but you should also take steps to prevent your pet from getting a urological disorder. When you visit a veterinarian in Goleta for your pet’s annual checkup, you will probably receive advice for preventing urological disorders in pets.

Poor hygiene is a major cause of urological disorders in pets. The accumulation of hair around your pet’s urethral opening, for example, can lead to urinary tract infections. Excessive licking and leaking urine can also lead to an infection. If your pet leaks urine, this may be a sign of poor sphincter function, an issue that should be resolved promptly if possible. The main cause of bladder stones in pets is an infection, as bacterial infections cause the urine to be more alkaline. Also, crystal formation may be induced by the waste products of the bacteria.

You want to keep the acidity of your pet’s urine up. The best way to do this is by feeding your pet food that is based on meat, as meat is a good source of acid. Keep your pet’s immune system up by feeding your pet a balanced diet of quality food. Finally, you want to try to keep arthritis at bay in your pet, especially if your pet happens to be older.

In conclusion, it is vital that you have your pet checked by one of our veterinarians on a regular basis. That way, any disruptions in your pet’s urology will be caught and dealt with before the issue becomes serious.

For more information about Urology or to schedule an appointment, call us today at 805-685-4513!

Welcome to The Goodland Pet Hospital!

We're open five days a week to serve the pets of Goleta, Santa Barbara, Santa Ynez, Ventura, Carpinteria, and surrounding areas.

For emergencies, please call ahead so we may be prepared for your arrival.


Mon - Thurs: 8 am – 5:30 pm
Fri: 8 am – 5 pm
Weekends: Closed

Visit Us

7126 Hollister Ave
Goleta, CA 93117
Click here for directions.

Contact Us

Have questions?

We're here to help. Please complete the form below and a member of our team will get back to you as quickly as possible. If this is an emergency situation, please call us at 805-685-4513.