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What to Expect when Visiting the OVC Large Animal Hospital

Should you need to reschedule your appointment, please contact us 2 business days in advance of your appointment date at 519-823-8840.

Upon arrival, please come inside to Reception to register.  We will dispatch personnel to assist you in unloading your animal.

Thank you for choosing the Ontario Veterinary College Health Sciences Centre (OVC HSC).  Our team of veterinary specialists and technicians are committed to providing excellent care for your animal. We understand that you face challenging decisions when you come to our specialty hospital.  Our team will work with you on all the options for your animal’s care and are happy to answer your questions.

By this time, someone from the OVC HSC will have contacted you via your preferred contact method with your scheduled appointment.  If there are any concerns with your scheduled appointment, please call Large Animal Reception at 519-823-8840 and select option 3.  For more additional information please visit our website at

Client Conduct Expectations

The University of Guelph and the Ontario Veterinary College Health Sciences Centre are committed to the care of its patients and to providing excellent client service within an environment of mutual respect.

Abusive language and disrespectful behaviour will not be tolerated and may result in the discontinuation of services.

Before Leaving Home

We recognize that many clients travel quite a distance to get to the OVC HSC.  Therefore, it is important to ensure that you have everything that you need for your appointment before you get on the road.  The following checklist may be helpful as you prepare for your appointment:

  1. If applicable, bring all your insurance documentation so that we can ensure you have everything you need to file a claim.
  2. Any personal items can be left at home.  This includes leg bandages and blankets.  We will provide your animal with these items for the duration of their stay.
  3. Please feed and provide water to your animal per its normal schedule.  If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us directly at 519-823-8840.

University Closure

In the event of inclement weather or other untoward event, the University of Guelph may close with the OVC HSC cancelling elective appointments.  Please check your email regularly as if the University closes, we will contact you via email to cancel your appointment.  Appointments will be rescheduled as soon as possible.

During a University closure, the OVC HSC continues to care for hospitalized patients and accept emergency and/or urgent referrals.

Address and Map

The OVC HSC Large Animal Hospital is located at 45 McGilvray Street, Guelph ON, N1G 2W1.


Upon arrival, please leave your animal on the trailer and check-in with Reception.  Once checked-in, Reception will direct you to an unloading location based on your animal’s condition and species.

Please do not unhook your trailer in front of Reception as the area must be kept available for the movement of other large vehicles.  If the need arises for your trailer to be on site, our staff will direct to you to the appropriate parking area.

Parking is at University of Guelph designated visitor parking areas only with payment required during weekdays from 08:00-17:00.  Parking can be paid for on-line via the link below or via the HONK app

Please visit the following link for parking information:

University of Guelph Smoking and Tobacco and Scent-Free Policies

Please note that the University of Guelph is a smoke- and tobacco-free campus.  The policy prohibits the smoking and vaping of tobacco and cannabis and, the use of smokeless tobacco, (e.g., chewing tobacco) on campus.
The full smoke- and tobacco-free policy is available at

The University’s “Share the Air” policy encourages consideration of those with allergies or sensitivities to fragrance by using scented products sparingly or, avoid using them if possible.
The “Share the Air” policy is available at


Please make sure to give yourself a few extra minutes in advance of your appointment time to complete some necessary paperwork.  If you have insurance, please bring your documentation with you when you check in.

When you arrive, we will have you complete our Patient Registration form or, if you are not present, we will email the form to you.

Depending on your animal’s condition and species, we will ask you to unload at a specific site (e.g., Large Animal Admissions holding stall for examination, Large Animal Breezeway next to Radiology, or at our Large Animal Isolation facility).  We will provide you with directions.

We strive to see you and your animal at your scheduled appointment time but please be aware that patients requiring emergency admission may delay your appointment.  We will do our best to keep you apprised of any delays.

Your Veterinary Care Team

At the OVC HSC, your animal may interact with a veterinary care team comprised of a senior veterinary specialist (faculty/Veterinarian), veterinary specialists in training (residents and interns), final year veterinary students, veterinary technicians, agricultural assistants, and our client services team.  While a combination of these individuals may provide services for your animal, all cases are supervised either directly or indirectly by a senior veterinary specialist or senior resident (veterinarian in their last year of a specialty training program) who works closely with and as part of your veterinary care team.

As part of your animal care, your animal may undergo diagnostic and therapeutic procedures such as radiographs, ultrasound, intravenous and urinary catheter placements, for which sedative agents may be administered.  Although all reasonable precautions are taken, in some rare instances, unpredictable, adverse effects of sedation may occur.

What is the role of the veterinary student?
As the sole veterinary college for the province, OVC ensures that graduates enter the workforce with the direct experiences that they need to hit the ground running.  Through practical experience, students can use hands-on learning to become skilled in evaluating and treating the types of problems that they will encounter from the first day they enter practice.  Our final year veterinary students in training work closely with the veterinary care team to ensure that your animal receives the best care possible.

What is an intern/resident?
Like other veterinarians, interns and residents are graduates of veterinary college and are licensed veterinarians who are pursuing advanced training.  Interns are pursuing an additional year of training to apply for specialty residency positions or to advance their skills before returning to regular practice.  Residents have completed one or more internships and are pursuing specialization and board-certification in a particular specialty of interest.  For specific information on our specialists and services, please visit:

Appointment Process

At your appointment, an intern, and/or a resident (licensed veterinarians), and a final year veterinary student will call you and begin the appointment by taking a detailed history and performing a complete physical exam of your animal. Although your regular veterinarian may have provided us with your animal’s history, we want to ensure that we obtain the most up to date information.  This will typically take 1 to 3 hours, but may take longer depending on the complexity of the problems and the current health status of your animal.  Following consultation with the supervising veterinarian, a member of your veterinary care team will return to you to clarify any important history and to discuss examination findings/recommendations for further diagnostic testing and/or treatment.  Typically, these tests require that your animal be admitted into the hospital overnight or re-admitted on another day.  Wherever possible, we will try our best to complete same day testing and diagnostics, but we cannot guarantee this.

Following your Appointment  

When your animal leaves our care, we will communicate with your regular veterinarian to ensure that they have all the information that they need to continue to care for your animal.  If at any time you or your veterinarian has any questions, please feel free to contact us.  Please note, that the name display on telephone calls from us may display as “OVC HSC” or as ‘Private Caller” or “Unknown Caller”.

You will receive a client survey (via email) to tell us how we did.  We value all your feedback and use it to continually improve the experiences for all of our clients and their animal companions.

Veterinary Social Work Service

As a client of the OVC HSC, you can connect with the Veterinary Social Work (“VSW”) Service anytime during your animal’s treatment. This service is available to all Companion Animal Hospital & Large Animal Hospital clients and is free of charge. The veterinary social worker is a registered social worker who is an active member of the veterinary healthcare team and can provide the following support:

  • Providing emotional and decision-making support regarding medical treatments
  • Conversations about your animal’s quality-of-life and end-of-life planning
  • Attending care appointments and euthanasia appointments as requested
  • Short term grief counselling for companion animal loss
  • Provision of mental health and community support resources

As the OVC HSC is a teaching hospital, the VSW Service has social work interns from September to April. The interns are Master’s level social work students, supervised directly by the VSW. They may be the person clients meet with or they may shadow the veterinary social worker.

The VSW Service also offers confidential grief counseling support for those who have experienced pet loss. OVC HCS clients are allotted 2 free-of-charge counseling sessions, per person. Clients are welcome to participate in these sessions as a couple, family, or individually. Each session can last up to 60 minutes.

The VSW Service will reach out to clients who have experienced a loss to offer this service. If you prefer not to be contacted, please notify

Please note that the VSW hours are Monday through Friday, from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. Appointments are scheduled within this timeframe. If you have any questions or want to connect with the Service, please contact or 226-924-5764.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does payment work? Is a deposit required?
A member of your veterinary care team will discuss all recommended diagnostic tests and treatments with you and will provide you with an estimate for your animal’s care.  This estimate will cover a range of costs because certain elements of your animal’s stay may vary, such as the treatment and length of hospitalization.
Upon admission, you will be required to leave a deposit of 50% of the upper range of the current estimate.  The remainder of the balance will be due at the time of discharge.  We are happy to provide you with frequent financial updates throughout your animal’s stay.  Accepted payment methods are cash, debit, Visa, MasterCard, money order or certified cheque. Card payments can be made online or by calling Reception.

What happens once my animal is admitted?
Once your animal is admitted to the hospital, they will be placed in a stall and will be provided with bedding, food, water, and plenty of attention!  You will also receive daily updates from a member of your veterinary care team.  The Large Animal Hospital is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

If your animal needs to stay with us for treatment, we ask that you take home all personal items.  We do not want those valued items to be misplaced while your animal is in our care.

We can provide information on local hotels and restaurants if you need to stay in town.

If I’m bringing my animal to a teaching hospital, does this mean they will be receiving their care from students?
Students are a valued part of the veterinary care team and provide your animal with a high level of personalized attention as they monitor their progress and ensure that they receive all of their medications.  All care provided by students is supervised by licensed veterinarians.

May I visit my animal if they are hospitalized?
For safety reasons, visiting within our Isolation Facility is prohibited.  Exceptions for euthanasia may be allowed depending on the patient’s condition/status and upon approval of the attending clinician & Clinic Head.

Visiting patients hospitalized in our general wards is permitted.  Visits are limited to a maximum of 60 minutes.

Visiting Hours:
Monday to Friday 2pm to 5pm & 6pm to 8pm
Weekends/Statutory Holidays 2pm to 5pm

  • Visitors must sign in at Reception and obtain a visitor pass.  If you wish to discuss your animal with a clinician, please contact Reception in advance to make arrangements.
  • To support client and patient confidentiality, you must remain with your own animal.
  • For everyone’s safety you may be asked to exit the stall during patient care.  Clients are not allowed to participate in medical treatments.
  • The taking of photos and videos is prohibited.
  • Special feeding requests or the use of feed from outside the Hospital must be discussed with the attending clinician.
  • Children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Will my regular veterinarian be informed of the results of the tests performed?
Yes, we work closely with your regular veterinarian to ensure the best possible care for your animal. Your regular veterinarian will be updated by phone with preliminary test results and treatment plans.  They will also receive a discharge summary, which is a summary of your animal’s history, tests, diagnosis, treatments, and recommendations for further treatment.

My animal is going to require recheck appointments. What does this involve?
Depending on your animal’s condition, recheck visit(s) may be necessary and, depending on the nature of the condition, may be performed either at the OVC HSC or with your regular veterinarian.  The schedule of rechecks, as well as any cost estimates for rechecks performed at the OVC HSC, will be discussed before your animal is discharged from the hospital.  After your animal has been discharged, members of the OVC HSC will be available to discuss any test results with you and/or your regular veterinarian to ensure continuity of care.

What are the after-care options for my animal?
In the unfortunate event that your animal dies or is euthanized we will discuss the following after-care options with you.

  1. Communal aftercare arranged by OVC HSC (no charge)
  2. Private cremation via Incimal or another licensed collector
  3. Composting via Barn Angels or another licensed collector

Clients who are considering euthanasia of their animal and who would prefer a home burial should discuss with us the possibility of transporting the animal to their locale for euthanasia at home by their primary veterinarian. OVC HSC must comply with provincial government regulations that require the release of bodies to licensed collectors only. As such, the OVC Large Animal Hospital is prohibited from releasing patient bodies to clients for home burial. This applies to all animal species.

Medication Refills

OVC HSC can provide medication refills only at the time of your appointment.  Requests for refills outside of an appointment must be filled by your primary veterinarian or pharmacy of choice. 

Prescription Requests

A fee applies for prescriptions to external pharmacies requested outside of OVC HSC appointments.
To request a prescription to an external pharmacy please contact Client Services a minimum of 2 working days prior to requiring the refill: Companion Animal Hospital 519-823-8840.

Please note that we cannot provide prescriptions to be completed at a different veterinary institution.

If you require a prescription renewal outside of our regular business hours, (Monday to Friday 08:00-17:00) please contact your family veterinarian or local emergency hospital or contact us for an after-hours emergency visit.  Note that an emergency visit admission fee will apply.

Privacy Policy

Client information is collected under the authority of the Veterinarians Act and the University of Guelph Act (1964) for patient care. For further information please contact OVC HSC Administration at

Thank you for entrusting us with the care of your animal. We will do our very best to ensure that you and your animal have a positive experience at the OVC HSC.