Wellness and Vaccination Programs

Wellness Exams

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



Iowa law requires that the initial rabies vaccine be administered by the time the pet is 16 weeks old. Puppies receive a 1-year vaccine as 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 his life.

*The state of Iowa’s rabies vaccine requirements state 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 dog will be able to receive a 3-year rabies vaccine.

DHPP (Distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, & parvovirus)

DHPP is first given in a Puppy Series (sometimes called “Puppy Shots”) between 6 – 8 weeks of age, and includes a total of up to 3 shots spaced 3 to 4 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 pet up-to-date on his DHPP vaccine is a simple way to prevent several illnesses at once.


This annual vaccination prevents tracheobronchitis (commonly called “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 kennel 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, 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 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.

Heartworm 4DX test

This blood test checks for heartworm disease as well as 3 tick-borne diseases (lyme disease, ehrlichia, & 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.

Senior Bloodwork

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 the normal level for that individual patient.
  • Identify unseen disease processes at an early stage.
  • If we are able to identify an ongoing disease process before symptoms are evident, the likelihood of a successful outcome is greater.
  • Identifying diseases early often decreases the cost of treatment.
  • Early identification of a problem eliminates 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.