Because your pet can't tell us where it hurts, the doctor will conduct a thorough physical examination to arrive at a diagnosis of your pet's condition. This might involve various diagnostic tests including x-rays, blood chemistry, urine analysis, and microscopic study of tissue samples. We perform both soft tissue and orthopedic surgery in our hospital, and should your pet need a specialist the doctor will refer you to the Iowa State College of Veterinary Medicine or another veterinary teaching hospital of your choice. Sometimes this can be done by simply sending x-rays or tissue samples.
The hospital has an in-house laboratory for diagnostic blood chemistry, hematology and basic pathology while biopsies and other more specialized tests are sent to various outside reference laboratories around the country.
We have invested in ultrasound equipment that enables the doctors to diagnose conditions that aren't readily observable using radiographs (x-rays) or for situations when radiographs are not effective such as early pregnancy detection. Ultrasound is also helpful in diagnosing cardiac problems.
Surgeries (Soft Tissue and Orthopedic) Services
Medical and surgical procedures, along with any anesthesia used, carry varying degrees of risk. We minimize that risk by using modern anesthetics and continually monitoring your pet's vital signs. If your pet is having surgery we will talk with you about for pre-surgical blood testing of your pet to test for infection and problems with liver or kidneys that could be a concern during surgery. For younger pets (under the age of 3) this establishes a baseline that can be helpful if your pet becomes ill at a later time and is something we strongly recommend. For pets over the age of 3, we require it in order to provide the best medical care for your pet. It is an important part of detecting conditions that develop as a pet ages, but are not apparent by doing a basic physical examination.
Our doctors perform a wide variety of surgeries from the routine spay or neuter to the more complex orthopedic surgeries such as knee ligament repair, internal and external fracture reduction using bone plates, pins and external fixators. Surgical procedures are performed using safe inhalation anesthetics, monitored electronically and by surgical assistants, in a modern surgical suite.
Should your pet be hospitalized for either illness or surgery you will be asked to sign a consent form. This form gives the doctor permission to proceed and states that you agree to pay for services rendered. Your pet must be current on vaccinations and be free of fleas and intestinal worms. Vaccinations can be done the day your pet is admitted to the hospital, though they should be done well in advance of the hospitalization to give your pet the best protection. For this reason we start all new puppies and kittens on a series of vaccinations that will protect them from diseases they can be exposed to at home as well in a hospital or boarding environment. Pets found to have fleas will be treated at the owner's expense to safeguard hospitalized pets.
Emergency After-Hours Call
If your pet becomes critically ill or is seriously injured during office hours, when possible, please call ahead so the doctors can prepare for your pet's arrival. Should your pet need medical attention after office hours, dial (319)277-1883 and a professional answering service will page the doctor on call, who will address your concerns and meet you and your pet if necessary.