BUILDING A BRIGHTER FUTURE FOR PETS: Advancing critical care and specialty services at the Ontario Veterinary College | Alumni | University of Guelph


BUILDING A BRIGHTER FUTURE FOR PETS: Advancing critical care and specialty services at the Ontario Veterinary College




OVC created the very first veterinary emergency and critical care unit in Canada. At the time it was one of only a few operating in North America. Over the past year, our team of veterinary specialists and trainees managed more than 21,000 companion animal patient visits, like Daisy, many arriving in critical condition. Sixty percent of pets referred to OVC are in need of the complex, critical or specialty veterinary care OVC provides. We have seen a sharp increase in cases and the rising count has resulted in OVC’s ICU teetering on the edge of its capacity. Consequently, there have been some instances when we have had to close our doors to less critical patients that can be managed elsewhere. 



The expansion and creation of new spaces for critical care and specialty services at OVC is urgent and essential to continue to help the sickest of the sick, bring the medicine of tomorrow to our patient’s bedside and allow OVC to keep pace with the modernization of health care. “The new facilities will contribute to outcomes for our students and our trainees while ensuring our companion animals can access the very best medical care available – across Canada and around the world,” says OVC Dean Dr. Jeff Wichtel.



  • Dedicated space (1857 sqft) for veterinary emergency services, which previously existed within the ICU itself.
  • Expand the ICU to a larger, newly renovated space (2231 sqft), increasing capacity by 50 percent.
  • Create a flexible space to adapt to patient care needs, accommodating various configurations of dog and cat kennels to minimize stress.
  • Provide a dedicated workspace for the medical team with clear sightlines to patients. Offer two separate bays for the most critical patients, each with monitoring capabilities.
  • Improve design, by including zoned lighting for a more restful patient experience that is less disruptive to animals’ circadian rhythms.
  • Provide increased privacy within the ICU to allow pet owners the opportunity to visit companions that cannot be moved for end-of-life care.


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