OVC Breaks Ground For Innovative Pet Health Care Centre

May 15, 2009 - News Release

A new era in veterinary education is one step closer to reality as the University of Guelph's Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) officially started construction of the Hill's Pet Nutrition Primary Healthcare Centre.

The centre - part of the overall redevelopment of OVC and creation of the OVC Health Sciences Centre - is supported by a $5-million, 10-year commitment from Hill’s Pet Nutrition that was announced last spring. Ontario's Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities also invested $9.5 million in the facility and OVC redevelopment last year.

The unique educational centre ensures OVC will continue to be an international leader in learning, teaching and research in companion animal primary health care and service delivery, said OVC Dean Elizabeth Stone.

"Primary health care is fundamental in recognizing and enhancing the relationship between pets and their owners," Stone said. “The centre will give our student veterinarians unprecedented and invaluable learning and training opportunities and bring vital infrastructure improvements to the entire OVC campus."

The centre will integrate a new model of how primary health care could be delivered in Canada and be a learning hub for students and veterinarians from around the world to participate in shaping the future of veterinary medicine. Integrated programs such as nutrition, behaviour, rehabilitation, animal welfare and public health will support preventive and general medicine.

“We have listened to our graduating veterinarians and their future employers," Stone said. "We need to provide more experience in the day-to-day patient care and practice management many will see as they enter the workforce.”

Currently, the bulk of OVC students’ clinical training takes place during their fourth year in the highly specialized environment of a teaching hospital — a centre for complex referral cases. Students see the most sophisticated diagnostic and treatment procedures, but they have limited opportunities to participate in routine health care.

The Hill's Pet Nutrition Primary Healthcare Centre will provide more hands-on experience with day-to-day health-care issues throughout the four-year doctor of veterinary medicine program. Students will be able to log up to 300 hours and see about 200 patients during the four years of their DVM program.

They'll also learn about new and emerging technology and procedures that will enable them to educate owners about the health of their animals and add value to their future employers and veterinary practices, Stone said.

In addition, students will be integrally involved in the centre’s management and operation and will provide diagnosis and treatment under the supervision of a core staff of veterinarians and technicians who will serve as mentors, trainers and evaluators.

"This new centre will provide our students with an unprecedented learning experience," said Maureen Mancuso, provost and vice-president (academic). "It will enhance OVC’s already strong reputation for excellence and improve both the competence and confidence of our graduates."

Construction is expected to be completed in mid-2010.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338/lhunt@uoguelph.ca, or Barry Gunn, Ext. 56982/bagunn@uoguelph.ca.

University of Guelph
50 Stone Road East
Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1