Our Services

The Iowa Veterinary Referral Center is pleased to offer the following services:


We offer surgical services for many conditions including neurologic, orthopedic, soft tissue including thoracic (chest) and abdominal procedures, and surgical oncology. With some surgical conditions, your family veterinarian may refer you to our surgical specialists. We work in close communication with you and your family veterinarian from the initial consultation, through your pet's surgical procedure, and the aftercare.

Your visit will begin with a consultation where we will first ask you questions about your pet's history. Our surgeon will then examine your pet. He will then have an in depth discussion about your pet's condition with you. He may recommend additional testing such as radiographs or biopsy. He will then discuss treatment options with you.

Our surgeon has completed a rigorous 3 year residency training program in veterinary surgery. In addition to seeing appointments and doing surgical procedures weekdays, our surgeons are on call after hours should emergency surgery be necessary. We also offer surgical consultations on Saturday mornings.

Here are some examples of the services we offer:


  • Myelogram
  • Intervertebral disk rupture
  • Spinal fracture


  • Stabilization of cranial cruciate tear via tibial plateau leveling ostectomy or lateral fabellar suture technique
  • Achilles tendon rupture repair
  • Simple and complex fracture repair
  • Correction of patella luxation
  • Arthrodesis
  • Athroscopy

Soft tissue:

  • Thoracic
    • Thorascopy
    • Lung lobe torsion
    • Pericardectomy
    • Tumor resection

  • Abdominal
    • Laparoscopy
    • Gastrointestinal
    • Urogenital
    • Hepatobiliary
    • Hernia repairs
    • Tumor resection

  • Upper airway
    • Correction of brachycephalic abnormalities
    • Stabilization of laryngeal paralysis

***This list is by no means comprehensive

Internal medicine

Our staff criticalist diagnoses and treats a wide variety of serious medical conditions such as endocrine disorders like diabetes mellitus or Cushing's disease, heart disease, gastrointestinal disease, cancer and many more. When your pet needs specialized diagnostics, procedures, or treatments, your family veterinarian may recommend that your pet be referred to our Internal Medicine Department. Our staff criticalist works in close communication with you and your family veterinarian to design individualized long term treatment plans and follow up care for your pet. Depending on the nature of your pet's condition, your pet may visit us on an outpatient basis or we may recommend hospitalization for more intensive care.

Your visit will begin with an initial consultation. First our veterinary technician will take an extensive history of your pet. Our criticalist will then examine your pet and discuss his or her history more with you. We will then go over recommendations for further diagnostics with you. We only recommend testing that is relevant to diagnosing your pet. Based on the results of those tests, we will then discuss treatment options with you.

Our staff criticalist has completed a rigorous 3 year residency training program. Our staff criticalist sees appointments weekdays and is available after hours on a case-by-case basis.

Below are some examples of some common problems for which your pet might be referred to our internal medicine service:

  • Endocrine
  • Gastrointestinal
  • Cancer
  • Respiratory
  • Cardiac
  • Urogenital
  • Autoimmune disease

Below are some examples of diagnostic tests and therapies commonly done by our staff criticalist:

  • Ultrasound imaging of the abdomen, heart, or chest
  • Endoscopic imaging and biopsy of the gastrointestinal system specifically the esophagus, stomach, duodenum, and colon
  • Endoscopic evaluation and sampling of the respiratory tract
  • Chemotherapy

***This list is by no means comprehensive

Emergency medicine and Critical care

The Iowa Veterinary Referral Center is proud to offer emergency services to you and your pet 24 hours, 7 days a week. Our highly trained veterinarians are experienced in emergency medicine and work quickly to address your pet's condition. Below are examples of situations that require immediate care:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Bloat or GDV (twisted stomach)
  • Toxin ingestion, such as antifreeze or rodenticide
  • Straining to urinate
  • Vehicular trauma
  • Wounds
  • Vomiting
  • Not eating

If you are unsure whether your pets condition requires urgent care, please call us or your family veterinarian and we can help you determine whether or not your pet should be seen right away.

In the event of an emergency visit, our veterinary technicians will take a brief history and assessment of your pet. If there is any concern that your pet may be unstable, he or she will be taken to our treatment area. An emergency doctor will examine him or her and provide immediate medical intervention, if necessary. If your pet is stable, the emergency doctor will do an examination of your pet in the room with you, discuss your pet's condition, and make recommendations for further testing and therapy. We recommend the tests that we feel are relevant to assessing your pet's health and arriving at a diagnosis. We then discuss treatment options with you. We work in close communication with you and your family veterinarian to keep you both informed of your pet's progress during his or her stay with us. Depending on your pet's condition, we may treat on an outpatient basis or recommendation hospitalization for further care.

Unfortunately, sometimes our pets can become very ill and require intensive care and monitoring. Our critical care veterinarian is here to provide care for your pet during these times. She completed a rigorous 3 year residency in small animal emergency and critical care medicine. We understand how stressful and upsetting serious illness is and we strive to ease that burden by explaining your pet's condition and keeping you informed of changes in your pets condition.

Below are some examples of conditions that require intensive care:

  • Severe, congestive heart failure
  • Diabetic ketoacidosis
  • Severe kidney failure
  • Thoracic (chest) injury
  • Sepsis
  • Parvoviral enteritis
  • Severe anemia

We can closely monitor parameters such as your pets heart rate, breathing rate and effort, oxygenation, urine output, and blood pressure. We use equipment such as critical care monitors, central venous catheters and urinary catheters to monitor your pet. We provide supportive care such as oxygen therapy, assisted ventilation, fluid therapy, transfusion medicine, and peritoneal dialysis. If you are ever concerned about your pet's health, you can call us, 24 hours, 7 days a week, at 515-727-4872.


We offer a wide variety of dermatology services including:

  • Skin biopsy
  • Diagnosis and management of all autoimmune and infectious dermatopathies
  • Allergy testing and management
  • Diagnosis of otitis (including video otoscopy)

Dr. Holm will begin seeing appointments on August 30th. Call today for an appointment.


We offer a wide variety of cardiology services including:

  • Cardiac consultations
  • Advanced diagnostic testing
  • Therapeutic recommendations
  • Progress evaluations
  • OFA Heart Certification for auscultation
  • Echocardiography

Dr. Olson is the only board certified veterinary cardiology specialist in private practice in Iowa and is thrilled to be able to serve you and your pets.


Cancer is the leading cause of death in older dogs, accounting for around 50% of deaths each year. However, if diagnosed early it can be treated sucessfully. IVRC offers several treatment options including:

  • Chemotherapy - Many chemotherapy drugs are available and can be used alone or in combination to treat a wide variety of cancers.
  • The melanoma vaccine
  • Surgical oncology

Phone: (515) 727-4872 (IVRC)        Email: contact@iowavrc.com        Copyright 2013 Iowa Veterinary Referral Center. All Rights Reserved.