Meet Our Veterinarians in Des Moines, IA

Since 2008, Family Pet Veterinary Center has provided veterinary services in Des Moines, IA and beyond. We are proud to be the name pet owners trust to take care of their dogs, cats, and small mammal exotic pets. With two convenient locations in the Greater Des Moines area and flexible hours, our staff and vets are proud to serve pet owners across the area, and more importantly, help their pets live long, healthy, and happy lives.

Dr. Jennifer Emerson-Mathis

Dr. Jen received her degree in Veterinary Medicine from Iowa State University; she is a third generation veterinarian, and you may see her father on occasion as he is still practicing in Iowa today. After graduation, Dr. Jen joined a multi-vet practice just outside of Chicago for many years before moving back home to Iowa where she practiced in Adel, Iowa before starting a practice of her own here in West Des Moines. She expanded the practice to include the Norwalk office to provide additional care for patients in the area. She is a certified medical acupuncturist, a certified pain practitioner, and a resident in veterinary dentistry and oral surgery. Her love of dentistry is two fold – it’s the greatest way to stop hidden pain in patients and it is the arts and crafts of veterinary medicine bridging creativity with medicine. Learn more here. Time out of the office is spent with her husband, young children, and furry kids. Should free time arise, you may find her scrapbooking, stamping, or rug hooking.

Dr. Liz Fara

Dr. Liz Fara grew up in western Iowa in the small town of Manning. Her passion for veterinary medicine and animals began at an early age when she was able to observe surgeries at the small animal satellite clinic that her grandmother managed. She received her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Iowa State University in 2007. After graduation, she tried her hand at mixed animal practice in Osceola. From there she moved to Boone where she started practicing small animal medicine. She has also worked in small animal practices in Ames and Indianola. Dr. Liz’s interests include soft tissue surgery, dermatology, pain management, laser therapy and preventative medicine. Outside of work, Dr. Liz enjoys spending time with her husband, Rick and son, Patrick. She also enjoys hiking, baking, reading and hot air balloon watching.

Dr. Ryan Southard

Dr. Ryan grew up in Arizona and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Veterinary Science for the University of Arizona. He completed his veterinary curriculum with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Colorado State University in May 2000. Dr. Ryan returned to Arizona as a Small Animal General Practitioner in Tucson and Phoenix until December 2011 at which time he and his wife moved to Iowa to be closer to family. He is Fear Free Certified which represents an utmost dedication to reduce fear, anxiety and stress for his patients and improving their overall quality of life. Dr. Ryan’s medical interests include dentistry, dermatology, pain management and preventative medicine. When
not at work, Dr. Ryan prefers spending his time with his family and enjoying as much of the outdoors as possible fishing, biking and hiking.

Fear Free Care

Less Stress for Patients and Owners

We work to make each visit fun for the pet with toys, treats, and praise. Pets are frequently calmer through pheromone usage. We love that pets want to see us although some owner’s arms may hurt from being pulled by the leashed pet through our front door.

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Three Dimensional Imaging

Faster Answers, Faster time to Treatment

Within our Norwalk office, x-rays can be taken in three dimensions. This allows us to use one test to get many answers. This is a ‘micro’ version of a CAT scan with resolution that is 1500 times that of standard CT scans using 60-90% less radiation.

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Family Pet Veterinary Center in West Des Moines and Norwalk, IA is proud to serve area pet owners with a range of vet services and treatments. We are committed to helping your pets live happy, healthy lives. With both basic and advanced treatments available, you can trust we have the service and experience to properly treat your dog, cat, or small exotic mammal.

For more information, please contact one of our offices or email us today at