Innovative Pet Health Care Centre Opens at U of G

June 08, 2010 - News Release

A new teaching and learning centre that will set an international standard for companion animal education and care opened today at the University of Guelph's Ontario Veterinary College (OVC).

The Hill's Pet Nutrition Primary Healthcare Centre — as part of the OVC Health Sciences Centre — will be a full-service veterinary hospital to integrate preventive and general medicine with nutrition, behaviour, public health, good citizenship, rehabilitation, communication and animal welfare. The Primary Healthcare Centre will be managed and operated by veterinary students under the supervision of OVC veterinarians and technicians, who will serve as mentors, trainers and evaluators.

“This is truly a groundbreaking centre — there is nothing like it in Canada,” said University of Guelph president Alastair Summerlee, a biomedical scientist and veterinarian. “Students will learn about emerging technology and procedures and how to better understand and relate to pet owners. It will stand as a model for how animal health care should be delivered.”

OVC students will also educate pet owners about the health, nutrition and well-being of their animal companions. Clients will benefit from increased individual attention and access to the latest information and practices.

The Hill's Pet Nutrition Primary Healthcare Centre is located in a new facility on the west side of OVC’s small-animal clinic.

“We are proud to help foster this innovative teaching facility, which is at the forefront of veterinary medicine,” said Suzan Harrison, president of Hill's Pet Nutrition, North America. “Working at the Primary Healthcare Centre will give students a tremendous opportunity to hone their veterinary skills and develop the necessary confidence to be strong advocates for their clients’ care.”

The Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities also invested $9.5 million in the facility and the overall redevelopment of OVC and the OVC Health Sciences Centre.

The first group of veterinary students to use the centre will begin their primary health-care rotations July 26. They will receive hands-on experience in all the day-to-day aspects of running a successful primary health-care practice, from treating routine cases to improving communication skills.

Currently, most OVC students see the most sophisticated diagnostic and treatment procedures but have limited opportunities to participate in routine health care. When the curriculum is fully implemented, students will be able to log up to 300 hours and see about 200 patients during the four years of their doctor of veterinary medicine program.

“This is the future of veterinary medicine,” said OVC dean Elizabeth Stone. “The relationship between people and their pets is significant, and primary health care must recognize and enhance this bond.”

Stone added that meeting clients’ expectations for the care and treatment of their animals requires a multifaceted approach to the delivery of services.

“This new centre allows us to provide this type of learning. Our students will learn to evaluate their patients as part of a family and to enhance the lines of communication between health-care provider and pet owner.”

About the University of Guelph
The University of Guelph is ranked as one of Canada's top comprehensive universities because of its commitment to student learning and innovative research. U of G is dedicated to cultivating the essentials for quality of life — water, food, environment, animal and human health, community, commerce, culture and learning. The University community also shares a profound sense of social responsibility, an obligation to address global issues and a concern for international development.

About Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc.
Hill’s Pet Nutrition Inc. manufactures Hill’s® Prescription Diet® brand pet foods, therapeutic pet foods available only through veterinarians, and Hill’s® Science Diet® brand pet foods sold through veterinarians and finer pet specialty stores. Founded more than 60 years ago with a unique commitment to pet nutrition and well-being, Hill’s is committed to its mission to help enrich and lengthen the special relationships between people and their pets. Hill’s produces high-quality, great-tasting pet foods owners can trust and give to their canine and feline companions as part of a veterinary health care team recommendation. This ultimately improves patient health and the health of the practice. For more information about Hill’s Pet Nutrition Inc., and Hill’s Evidence-Based Clinical Nutrition™ visit

For media questions, contact Barry Gunn, OVC Communications Officer, 519 824-4120, Ext. 54414 or

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