Your Visit

Dr. Palerme examining canine patient.

Preparing for Your Visit

We ask that you follow the guidelines listed below when preparing to bring your pet to the Veterinary Medical Center.

  • Please fast your pet for 12 hours prior to the appointment. Usually withholding food the morning of the appointment is sufficient for this purpose. If your pet is diabetic, consult with your doctor or with the specialists at Iowa State before coming to the VMC. Water should always be provided as we do not want your pet to become dehydrated. Feeding your pet the morning of the exam can affect labwork and imaging results, as well as prevent us from performing any sedated or anesthetized procedures. 
  • On the morning of the exam, be sure to give your pet its medication as usual. Also, please bring any medications your pet is currently taking. Since visits to the internal medicine service can last several days, it is imperative that we have the medications to give to your pet while they are inpatients at the VMC.
  • Please bring any special food that your pet may be eating. Just as with medications, the proper diet and food should also be given while they are at the VMC.
  • If your referring veterinarian has given you any radiographic images, lab test results, or other information about your pet's condition, please bring that with you as it can give our clinicians and specialists information that could help in the diagnosis and treatment of your pet's condition.
  • Certain diagnostic procedures may require portions of your pet’s hair coat to be shaved. Please indicate ahead of time if this is problematic.

Arrival Procedures

Upon your arrival at the VMC, check in with the small animal receptionists. Please let them know if you require assistance with your pet. Once your check-in is complete, you will be directed to the waiting area. A senior veterinary student will meet you in the waiting room and take you to one of the available examination rooms. The student will obtain a complete history of your pet and perform a thorough physical examination.

After our initial physical exam and consultation, we will provide you with a written estimate of the costs associated with the diagnostic testing and treatment of your animal. This estimate is not a quote and may be changed as the result of diagnostic testing changes the plan for treatment. Any changes in your initial estimate will be discussed with you prior to performing any additional procedures, unless an emergency situation arises.
A deposit of 50 percent of the upper estimate is required at the time your pet is admitted to the VMC. The balance of the charges is required at the time of your pet's discharge from the medical center.


Your pet may be hospitalized in order to complete initial diagnostic testing, for additional procedures and/or supportive treatment. In these cases, a permission form for the hospitalization will be provided, along with an estimate form. Both forms will be taken by the small animal receptionists and copies will be provided to you. The receptionists will also collect the required deposit.

During its stay with us, your pet will be cared for by a veterinary student under the supervision of one of our clinicians. This student will likely be the same student who performed the initial exam. However, depending on the length of hospitalization, the student may change due to their clinical rotations.


While your pet is in hospital, the student or attending clinician will contact you daily unless you discuss other arrangements. Please provide all pertinent phone numbers so that we will be successful in reaching you. Please feel free to call the reception desk at (515) 294-4900 if you need to reach the clinician or student. Due to their busy schedule, our clinician may not be available to speak to you immediately but will return your call within 24 hours. If you are calling concerning an urgent matter, please let our receptionist know. 

Your referring veterinarian will also be contacted regularly with updates on your pet’s condition and results of diagnostic testing. Please ensure that the correct referring veterinarian is listed on your paperwork. We will not provide information to others concerning the status of your pet unless we have prior permission to do so.