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.

  • Tell the receptionist about any medications your pet may currently be taking. They may need to be discontinued for a time before your appointment.
  • 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.
  • Do not provide food for 12 hours before the appointment if your pet is not diabetic. 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. Food in your pet's stomach can limit the diagnostic procedures as well as our ability to place your pet under anesthesia.
  • 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 cost 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.

The internal medicine group works in a team atmosphere. There are two teams usually composed of an internal medicine resident, a small animal rotating intern, a faculty member, and veterinary students.


Your pet may be hospitalized in order to complete initial diagnostic testing, for additional procedures and/or supportive treatment if necessary.

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.

The veterinary student who performed the physical exam will most likely be assigned to your pet throughout its medical center stay. (If the hospitalization is lengthy, the student may change due to their clinical rotation throughout the 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.
  • We will not provide information to others concerning the status of your companion animal unless we have prior permission to do so.
  • Please feel free to call the reception desk at (515) 294-4900 if you need to reach the clinician or student. Our clinicians and students make every effort to take your call. If they are busy with procedures or patient care, they will return your call as soon as possible.

Companion animals of stable condition and receiving treatments or waiting diagnostic procedures are admitted to the medicine wards. There are separate wards for dogs and cats.

  • The ward housing consists of medium to large cages and runs. The runs are reserved for large and giant breed dogs.
  • The veterinary student assigned to your pet is responsible for daily supportive care, including walks three or more times daily as needed.
  • Blankets and towels are provided. We prefer that treasured toys and blankets not be placed in the wards, as we may lose them in the laundry. Please inform the clinician and student of any special dietary needs.

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.