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Veterinary Specialists of Birmingham

A Q&A with Doctor Bercovitch

Doctor dressed in blue with big tan fluffy dog

What is your background experience?

Veterinary medicine is my second profession. My first profession was as a marine biologist/ecologist and scientific collector. As an ecologist, my curiosity pushed me to seek answers for the unknown and let me hone my skills of observation and critical thinking which are all essential to the practice of veterinary medicine.

What should I know prior to referring a patient to a specialty referral?

Providing good patient care is a team effort and I firmly believe in the triad of care (primary care veterinarian- client- specialist). My skills are meant to complement your skills/care not to replace them. Additionally, I do not expect you to have all the answers, nor all the tests done prior to referral. I do not needlessly repeat tests or procedures and I always ask myself the following questions:

1. How invasive is the test?

2. How costly is the test?

3. How risky is the test?

4. Most importantly, I ask myself AND the owner how is the test result going to change the plan?

What should I include with my referral?

Please include the entire medical record/radiographs/and unedited labs to review. I am very visual and looking at the information helps me assess patterns and aids in a direction for diagnosis.

What are your clinical interests?

I am interested in nephrology and actually opened and ran the first hemodialysis unit for dogs and cats in private practice in the USA in the early 1990s. I have lectured on and also have a special interest in endocrinology, transfusion medicine, immune-mediated diseases, respiratory/nasal disease, hepatobiliary disease, and intestinal disease. However, I really am interested in all aspects of medicine.

What are your unique abilities or passions?

My passion is to provide the best quality of care and maintain the best quality of life for as long as possible for the patient. I always strive to make what is most often a stressful situation a good experience not only for the pet owner but for the patient as well. I feel with my experience I can help guide the owner to make the best and most informed decisions for them and their “child” regarding diagnostic tests, care, and end-of-life decisions.

How can Internal Medicine help my clients and patients?

The biggest impact I can have is to elevate the standard and quality of care patients receive in the region. This can be accomplished by providing local lectures or by support via directly managing the care of referred cases, by consulting with you as the primary care veterinarian, regarding cases under your care and not referred, or by consulting with you regarding ongoing follow-up care on cases for which you have resumed primary care. I strive to be of service to you and the local pet community and to that end always ask myself and inquire about what I can do for you.

Fun Facts:

I have always been very interested in science and have always had a desire to seek answers. I started out as a marine ecologist and scientific collector. The skill set I learned as a scientist easily crossed fields and has helped me as a veterinarian. I never underestimate the power of observation; I am relentless in the pursuit of answers, and I am ever-evolving in the way I practice. My favorite expression is “Medicine has no box”.