One of the best things you can do for your pet is to keep them healthy.  And one of the easiest and least expensive ways to do that is by bringing your pet in for regular exams.  We recommend that your pet be seen at least once a year for a general wellness check.



Iowa law requires that an initial rabies vaccine be administered by the time a pet is 16 weeks old.  Puppies and kittens receive a 1-year vaccine for their first rabies shot. The following year, they are eligible to receive their 3-year rabies vaccine.*  There is no cure for rabies!  If your pet is exposed to the rabies virus, having a current vaccination could save its life.

*The state of Iowa’s rabies vaccine requirements stipulate that if you allow a pet’s rabies shot to expire, your vet is required to give your dog a 1-year vaccine.  If your rabies vaccine is updated on or before the expiration date, your pet will be able to receive a 3-year rabies vaccine.







DAPP (Distemper, Adenovirus, Parainfluenza, Parvovirus)

DAPP is first given in an initial puppy vaccination series (sometimes called "puppy shots") starting at 8 weeks of age and usually includes 3 shots administered 3 weeks apart.  After the initial puppy series, adults may receive a 1, 2, or 3-year vaccine, to be determined by your veterinarian.  Many dogs are exposed to these potentially deadly diseases during their lifetimes.  Keeping your dog up-to-date on its DHPP vaccine is a simple way to prevent several illnesses at once.


This annual vaccination prevents tracheobronchitis (commonly called "canine cough" or "kennel cough"), a highly contagious air-borne bacterium that causes a dry hacking cough, lethargy, and lack of appetite that can persist for several weeks.  Puppies and older dogs are especially susceptible to canine cough.


This bacterial disease is transmitted by ticks and affects both people and animals.  It is an incurable but controllable debilitating disease.  If your dog is exposed to tall grass or wooded areas, if you camp or hunt, or if you vacation in the state of Wisconsin, your dog should receive this vaccine.  Adult dogs need yearly Lyme boosters.


This disease is caused by a bacteria that is found in contaminated water sources.  It is spread through the urine of  infected wildlife, especially mice, raccoons, and deer.  Vaccination for "lepto" is elective based on risk.  You can decide with your veterinarian whether or not you should vaccinate your dog.  If contracted, leptospirosis is life-threatening for dogs and can be spread to people.  Adult dogs require yearly lepto boosters.







FVRCP (Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, and Panleukopenia)

FVRCP is first given in an initial kitten vaccination series (sometimes called "kitten shots") starting at 8 weeks of age and usually includes 3 shots administered 3 weeks apart.  After the initial kitten series, adults may receive a 1, 2, or 3-year vaccine, to be determined by your veterinarian.  Most of these viruses attack your kitten’s gastrointestinal or respiratory systems and can be fatal.  Keeping your cat up-to-date on its FVRCP vaccine is a simple way to prevent several illnesses at once.


Feline leukemia is the leading cause of cancer in cats.  It can also cause blood disorders and drastically weaken the feline immune system.  Feline leukemia is transmitted through body fluids like saliva and urine.  Cats that like to share their water dishes, food bowls, or litter boxes are especially prone.  It can also be transmitted from mother to kitten during pregnancy or through nursing.  There is a vaccine available for feline leukemia.  Once your kitten has tested negative for the feline leukemia virus, we recommend that you have your kitten vaccinated.  This vaccine is given in a series of two shots, two weeks apart.  Following the initial two shots, the vaccine can be renewed annually with a single booster.



This blood test checks for heartworm disease as well as 3 tick-borne diseases (Lyme disease, ehrlichia, and anaplasmosis) simultaneously.  We recommend that all dogs (even those on year-round heartworm preventative) receive an annual heartworm test to eliminate the possibility of tick-borne illness.  Additionally, if detected early, each of these diseases is treatable.  A yearly 4DX test helps to ensure that an infected animal receives the necessary treatment as soon as possible.


Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) belongs to the same family of viruses as feline leukemia.  It is the feline counterpart of human HIV.  Like HIV, FIV causes immunosuppression (weakening of the immune system).  Because there are many different strains of FIV, there is currently no effective vaccine available.  However, there is a blood test which can determine if a cat is positive for FIV or feline leukemia.  This test can be administered to any cat that is at least 3 months old.  We recommend having your kitten tested since early detection can help maintain the cat’s health and prevent the virus from spreading to other cats.


During your pet’s visit, we will perform a complete and thorough physical examination to try to identify any physical abnormalities.  However, there are many disease symptoms that can only be identified through other means, such as blood tests.  Dogs and cats age much faster than humans, and their organs systems can deteriorate at a much faster rate.  Therefore, we will recommend appropriate testing for your pet at certain ages.

Senior bloodwork can help to . . .

  • Establish healthy baseline values.  Many patients show subtle changes in their blood values over time.  The changes cannot be identified without knowing the normal level for that individual patient.

  • Identify unseen disease processes at an early stage.

  • Identify an ongoing disease process before symptoms are evident, increasing the likelihood of a successful outcome.

  • Eliminate the need to wait for obvious signs of tragic illness.

  • Serve as a pre-anesthetic health screen for any surgical or dental procedure.

  • Prevent the use of medications that may be unsafe for a pet’s medical condition or health status.



An intestinal parasite examination is important to help maintain the health of both dogs and cats.  The intestinal parasite exam is a simple laboratory procedure in which your pet's feces are examined under a microscope for the presence of parasite eggs.  All that is necessary for this test is a recent fecal sample.  We recommend this test be performed on an annual basis.


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