Because of the shorter lifespan of our pets, we stress the importance of an annual physical examination. Thorough check-ups and preventive care can help alleviate serious health problems. We offer a wide range of veterinary services to keep your companions feeling their best.

Preventative Wellness Care

Preventative medicine is part of helping your pet maintain long term health. At Decorah Animal Hospital, we believe that a complete "nose to tail " yearly examination is an integral part of maintaining proper care of your pet. Our doctors strongly recommend and provide annual physical examinations to help assess your pet's overall health, and make suggestions to stop problems before they start. Your pet's health changes as they age, and seeing the vet on a yearly basis can help us catch developing conditions before they compromise your pet's health.

Senior Care

Senior (or “geriatric”) pets experience many of the same changes that senior people do. We generally define senior dogs as over 7 years of age and senior cats as over 10 years of age. Large-breed dogs have a shorter lifespan than small dogs and their senior years can begin as early as 5 years of age. Due to the aging process, many organs lose their ability to function as well as they once did and arthritis and degenerative diseases can contribute to significant pain and behavioral changes. Any changes in your pet’s habits may be an indication that its body is declining. This may be as subtle as a decrease in activity level, to more obvious signs such as vomiting, diarrhea, drinking excessive amounts of water, and urinating more often. By performing a complete physical examination and running certain tests, we will be able to advise you on the optimal care for your pet in its golden years. Ideally, senior pets should be examined by a veterinarian at least every six months.


Due to the many recent discoveries and innovations in veterinary medicine, your pet can be protected from most major diseases. Today, many immunizations and preventive treatments are available that did not exist just a few years ago. The staff at Decorah Animal Hospital can help you decide what preventive measures are necessary for your pet.

Heartworm and Lyme Disease Testing and Prevention

Heartworm disease, which is transmitted by mosquitos, is prevalent in this area of the country. At Decorah, we recommend all your pets receive annual heartworm testing and year-round preventative medication for our patients.
Lyme disease and Anaplasmosis are two regional tick-borne diseases that have had a serious impact on dog health. In addition to preventing tick exposure, annual testing can result in early treatment.


A vast majority of prescription and over-the-counter products that your pet may need are stocked in our in-hospital veterinary pharmacy. This creates tremendous convenience for you, as these medications can be dispensed at the end of the office visit and are ready in a matter of minutes.
A common misconception that exists is that prescriptions filled at a veterinary office are always more expensive than those bought online through internet pharmacies. Many of our common products may be less expensive than those advertised on television, where this false assumption is created. In addition, we are able to offer many product rebates “in hospital” that are not available through the internet pharmacies,further lowering the cost to you. Be sure to compare “apples to apples” for accurate pricing. We would be happy to answer any questions that you may have.

Microchipping - Permanent Identification

A permanent type of identification for your pet that involves inserting a small chip (the size of grain of rice) under their skin between the shoulders. Collars and tags may be lost but micro-chipping is permanent. Countless numbers of pets have been reunited with their owners by this method.
Each microchip has a unique number. This number, along with information about the owner and pet, are added to a national pet registry. Most veterinarians and animal shelters have electronic scanners for detecting and reading these implanted microchips. If a lost pet is found, and the microchip is scanned, the registry is called and the owner is contacted.

Labwork & Diagnostic Testing

Laboratory testing is an important component to help assess your pet's overall health. Decorah Animal Hospital is equipped with state-of-the art in-house testing equipment for routine blood screenings, pre-anesthetic evaluations, tick borne diseases, feline leukemia and immunodeficiency viruses, urinalysis and fecal examinations. Our laboratory can provide accurate and immediate information to help diagnose and treat your pet's conditions. Although most tests can be processed on-site, we also utilize local clinical pathology labs to process more specialized tests.


Radiographs (x-rays) are an important aid in helping us diagnose many conditions and diseases. They give us the ability to look inside the body and evaluate areas that we cannot fully see with a physical examination. In addition to our main x-ray machine, we have a state-of-the-art digital dental x-ray unit that allows us to take full-mouth radiographs and detect dental disease that occurs below the gum-line.
Xrays are used at Decorah Animal Hospital and are essential to help diagnose certain medical and surgical conditions.

Spaying & Neutering

Thousands of unwanted dogs and cats are put to death in our nation’s shelters each year for lack of homes. Truly responsible pet owners make sure that their pets are not contributing to this serious over-population problem. If you keep your pet confined, neutering may seem unnecessary, but there are many other health benefits that make this procedure so important. It is our recommendation that all dogs and cats not intended for breeding programs be spayed or neutered. The spaying procedure in female dogs and cats involves the removal of both ovaries and the uterus. Since the ovaries have been removed, your pet will no longer “come into heat".
The neutering procedure in male dogs and cats involves the removal of the testicles. If the surgery is done before the pet reaches sexual maturity, certain undesirable sexual behavior traits may be avoided (humping, marking, spraying, fighting, etc.). In general, the animal becomes a much better pet.
Most pets undergoing these procedures go home to their families the very next day. Activity will need to be decreased for the following two weeks, including keeping the pet as quiet as possible. Complications after a spay or neuter are extremely rare. Our trained staff will take time to review all post-operative care with you when your pet is released to go home.
Please contact our staff to answer your questions about what the optimum age is for having your pet spayed or neutered and any other questions you may have regarding this procedure.

Health Certificates

Animals traveling domestically or internationally are required to have a health certificate showing that they have been examined by a USDA- accredited veterinarian and are both free of contagious disease and fit for travel. If your pet is over three months of age, rabies vaccinations are almost always a requirement. Many foreign countries require that this process starts four to six months prior to the travel date. Our doctors are all USDA-accredited and have had several years of experience in guiding owners through this process. If you are considering traveling with your pet in the near future, call us. We would be happy to advise you on the specific requirements for your destination.

Nutritional Assessment

We stock a wide assortment of prescription and specialty diets. These diets are only available through a veterinarian, and are often a necessary component of treating your pet's conditions. The doctors and staff are educated to help guide you to choosing an appropriate foods and supplements for your pet's nutritional needs.


When you pick up that new kitten or puppy for the very first time, involuntarily and with no conscious effort, the bond takes root. That bond grows over the years until the day your pet passes over the Rainbow Bridge, hopefully after many years in your loving, home environment.
Sometimes responsible pet owners are called upon to make the decision to assist their pets passing through euthanasia. This can be for a variety of reasons, mostly because their pet would not enjoy a good quality of life in their current state.
If that time comes, the staff at Decorah Animal Hospital will be there to provide assistance and guidance to you and your family as your pet is humanely euthanized. Just as your beloved pet looks to you for strength and kindness during a difficult time, you can look to us to ensure your pet is treated with compassion and kindness.
When you call our office, we will schedule the appointment at a time convenient for you. Often, that might be one the last appointment of the morning or afternoon. If you have never had to go through this experience before, our staff will take the time to discuss the procedure and answer your questions.
Making the decision to assist a beloved pet over the Rainbow Bridge is never easy. It takes love and compassion by the owner to be there for their pet when the time has come. Just as you are there for your pet, we will be there for you to assist you through this difficult time.