OVC Bulletin

Check out our new wheels!

Posted: July 21, 2014


The OVC Health Sciences Centre is rolling out a simple, fun way to help clients navigate ongoing construction while transporting their animals in pet carriers.

Due to renovations at the OVC Companion Animal Hospital (Small Animal Clinic), all companion animal patients and clients are now entering the hospital through the OVC Animal Cancer Centre. Clients are then escorted by staff to the exam rooms via the Sunken Lounge area.

To make it easier for staff and clients to navigate the temporary construction route, the hospital bought some classic red wooden wagons to transport patients and carriers. They’d like your help to name those wagons!

Enter your name idea at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Namethatwagon

All contest entries must be submitted by Friday, July 25 at midnight and must come from a University of Guelph email address. Entries will be carefully reviewed by three members of the HSC client experience committee. The winner will be announced July 31 and will receive a $10 coffee card from Second Cup.

On the renovation front, as of today, the area behind the old reception area has been turned over to construction and there will be no access to these areas. Construction noise and traffic will continue with the demolition of the old reception area.

The driveway in front of the hospital remains open. There are two 20-minute patient drop-off spots at the front of the Animal Cancer Centre, as well as two accessible and four metered parking spots. The driveway will remain open and signage directs clients to the drop-off areas. Metered parking continues to be available in P64, adjacent to the Companion Animal Hospital. Clients who anticipate they’ll need help to bring their pet into the hospital from the parking area are asked to please contact the Companion Animal Hospital for assistance.

Please check the Health Sciences Centre website at www.ovchsc.ca and click on News and Events for regular updates on the renovation.


OVC in the news

Posted: July 21, 2014

The OVC Externship Project was noted for its creative, original content for social media in a recent online article published by Snout School, a website dedicated to helping veterinary professionals make the most of social media to benefit their practices.

Read the article here.

The Externship Project featured five DVM students who have been blogging about their externship experiences this summer. The students are among the 118 DVM students from OVC getting hands-on practical experience at mixed veterinary practices through the eight-week externship course funded by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

The article pointed out connecting with community, while telling your story, is an important part of social media and included examples of the students’ use of videos, photos and practical tips as important components in veterinary site content.

You can read all the students’ blogs at www.ovc.uoguelph.ca/externship.  You can also see all the related videos on OVC’s YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/OntarioVetCollege.

OVC research aimed at helping obese cats is highlighted in an article published by the Guelph Mercury. Dr. Adronie Verbrugghe, Clinical Studies, is looking at how macronutrients and dietary supplements can stimulate a cat’s metabolism to help burn fat.

The article is written by Alaina Osborne, part of the University of Guelph’s Students Promoting Awareness of Research Knowledge (SPARK) program.

Read the article here.

Looking back at GDS 2014: Without Borders panel explored need for community-driven development

Posted: July 21, 2014

A sense of wanting to give back and help communities by improving animal health, human health and the systems that facilitate them were common themes at a May 5 panel discussion involving representatives of Veterinarians Without Borders, Engineers Without Borders and Doctors Without Borders.

The “Without Borders” panel discussion was one of the highlights of the 2014 Global Development Symposium held May 4-7 at the University of Guelph.

That desire to give back may start with helping one person, said Dr. Barbara LeBlanc. LeBlanc, a Guelph general surgeon who volunteers part-time with Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders (MSF), described helping a woman in need of a Caesarean section who also had a necrotizing infection. There were people in that setting who hadn’t finished their medical training or seen that infection, she said. LeBlanc was able to help the patient while teaching those skills to the people working there.

Dr. Erin Fraser, managing director of Veterinarians without Borders/ Vétérinaires sans Frontières - Canada (VWB/VSF), wanted to improve animal health and community health by helping animals. After helping launch VWB/VSF in 2004 together with a dedicated group of colleagues, Fraser became the organization’s first executive director in 2007. VWB/VSF aims to tackle the root causes of public health, animal health and ecosystem health challenges in developing communities around the world.

Engineers Without Borders (EWB) Canada - Ingénieurs Sans Frontières (ISF) Canada was born in 2000 by putting together a community of engineers really committed to looking at root causes of problems and where they could use their expertise, said Dr. Alexandra Conliffe, EWB/ISF’s vice president of operations.

Connecting with the local community is vital for each organization and also drives where each organization focuses their efforts. “The need is huge and we could be in so many different places,” said Fraser. VWB is driven by locally identified interest in partnership and focuses on capacity building as much as possible.

In addition to emergency medical care, including vaccination and surgery, MSF is committed to being a witness and a voice for the people in countries where its members serve. They determine projects partly by what is happening in the news and mostly because they have the expertise needed in a particular area, said LeBlanc. “When a project ends we try to hand it off to the people. There has to be buy-in from the community.”

EWB relationships tend to be longstanding, said Conliffe, and based on a lot of observation to learn how to engage particular communities. In addition to operating in five countries in Africa, Engineers Without Borders has chapters across Canada where they do an enormous amount of work focused on responsible mining, she added.

All the organizations welcome volunteers, whether professionals who go to work in the field, or those who can help with work closer to home, including advocacy.  VWB is involved in development and education programs at all Canadian veterinary universities, offering a three-month internship to students. “We’ve deployed about 110 interns since we started,” said Fraser. 

There’s no question each of the organizations has been successful in its own right, both with particular projects and with raising awareness. But failure is also sometimes part of the process, said EWB’s Conliffe.

EWB has an annual failure report that playys a part of determining in which countries they should work.  “It’s okay to fail as long as you are learning from it.”

imageDr. Elizabeth Stone, OVC dean, right, moderated the Without Borders panel discussion that included, from left to right, Drs. Erin Fraser, Alexandra Conliffe and Barbara LeBlanc.

OVC Shared Administrative Services Update

Posted: July 21, 2014

The month of June was an active one for the Shared Administrative Services (SAS) Initiative!  July is also proving to be a busy month.

Personnel and Location Update:

Temporary office space for Graduate Program Services has been set up in building 174, the former OVC Clinical Research building.  A graduate program assistant position has been posted it is expected that the recruitment process will be concluded this week. 


Deyna Dinesen has transitioned into her new shared-services role and temporary coverage has been solidified for graduate programs in Biomedical Sciences as well as purchasing and accounts payable responsibilities in the Department of Clinical Studies.  Information and documents continue to be collected on current processes in order to build a foundation for the future and ensure excellent delivery of graduate program support. 


Shayan Sharif and Carol Ann Higgins met with Anthony Clarke,  assistant vice-president graduate studies, regarding the shared services model for graduate programs.  Clark was very supportive and offered excellent advice as the initiative moves forward.  Likewise, Higgins also met with Jane Duck, the University’s staff relations consultant for OVC, and the president and vice-president of United Steelworkers Local 4120 to outline the shared administrative services model.  OVC remains committed to keeping chairs, faculty, graduate students, staff and union representatives informed throughout this process.  Thank you to the many staff and faculty who have been positive and supportive of the initiative.

Next steps include:  continuing to work with graduate program staff, graduate coordinators, graduate students and others to ensure current processes are documented accurately while developing options for improved administrative service delivery.  

Project Milestones

OVC’s approach to implementing shared administrative services is to transition key administrative areas in phases.  Current targets for the beginning of each phase are noted below.  All dates are tentative guidelines as changes are implemented.

Graduate Program Services will be fully operational and functioning as a team by Sept. 1.  The planning team is working closely with Physical Resources to identify the final space to house the team and ensure the working space is well designed and well equipped to meet their needs.

Questions, concerns are welcome and can be directed to Carol Ann Higgins at Ext. 54784 or chiggins@uoguelph.ca, or Judy Tack at Ext. 54418 or jtack@uoguelph.ca.

You’re invited to help president welcome new students

Posted: July 21, 2014

Faculty staff and student leaders are invited to join the University of Guelph’s new president and vice-chancellor,  Dr. Franco J. Vaccarino, as he welcomes new students  on Wednesday, Sept. 3 at noon in the Field House.

This is the annual ceremony where new students are symbolically admitted to the University. The intent of the event is to signal a transition from social activities of the first few days of orientation to their academic environment. The welcome event normally lasts 45 minutes.

Dr. Franco Vaccarino

The University hopes to have a good representation of faculty, staff and student leaders on stage for this event and invite faculty, staff and student leaders to join the procession. Participants should plan to arrive no later than 11:45 a.m. at the northwest corner of the Field House behind the pipe and drape.  Please reply online here to confirm your participation, or contact Ilana Goldsmith at Ext. 53789 or  igoldsmi@uoguelph.ca so a sufficient number of gowns can be ensured.

Immediately following the ceremony, participants are invited to join the students for a barbeque at the baseball diamond on the corner of East Ring Road and Dundas Lane. This is a good opportunity for students to meet with faculty, staff and student leaders who will be involved in their academic lives.

Please share this invitation with faculty, staff and student leaders in your area. If you are unable to attend the ceremony, please consider sending a representative, as this is an important part of student engagement.

Proposals wanted from OVC swine researchers

Posted: July 21, 2014

Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) scientists involved in swine research are invited by Ontario Pork to submit letters of intent for funding.

All proposals will be considered but priority will be given to projects focused on the priority areas of economics, environment, product development and innovation in pork production.

The deadline for letters of intent is Aug. 22.

For more information, see the Ontario Pork website.

For the latest announcements and news about funding opportunities, visit the OVC research website.

A ‘world class’ helping to solve world problems.

Posted: July 14, 2014

Global problems require global solutions, and a generous group of Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) alumni have taken that message to heart.

Members of OVC ‘70 have raised nearly $200,000 as a class project in memory of Dr. Robert Brandt, their class president who died in 2008. The OVC 1970 Bob Brandt Fund will support student learning in the fourth-year ecosystem health elective.

“We talked about it as a group and we did not want to invest in bricks and mortar. We wanted to raise money for something different for our school,” said Dr. Avery Gillick. “Because our class was made up of people with varied backgrounds from all over the world, we wanted to do something that reflected that.”

In conjunction with faculty from the other veterinary schools in Canada, the late Dr. Bruce Hunter and University professor emeritus David Waltner-Toews from OVC,  helped to develop the ecosystem health elective,  a unique, intensive two-week course for senior DVM students. The course rotates each year between Canada’s five veterinary schools, with up to four students from each school taking part.

Many infectious diseases that pose a threat to human health worldwide originate in animal populations. When solving complex health issues, it is essential to consider all the connections between animals, people and the environment that they share, said Dr. Claire Jardine, the OVC course co-ordinator.

“This course emphasizes practical, real-world problem solving,” said Jardine, an associate professor in the Department of Pathobiology. “The students examine animal-based problems of disease in the context of their impacts on human health and the health of the larger ecosystem.”

Members of OVC ’70 were the first to graduate following changes to the DVM program that made it a four-year course following at least two years of pre-veterinary study at the university level. As a result, members of the class tended to be a little older than in previous years, many already had degrees and others were married with children. The class had people from countries around the world including the United States, Nigeria, India, Japan, and Malaysia.

“We were privileged to have classmates from around the world. And it changed us,” said Dr. Clayton MacKay. “We’d like to encourage veterinarians to be more involved in the world around them as beyond the world of clinical practice. There are so many ways that veterinarians can contribute to solving the complex problems facing our planet.”

imageDr. Claire Jardine, Pathobiology, with Drs. Avery Gillick, John McNally and Clayton MacKay of the Class of 1970.

Change to Companion Animal Hospital scheduled for July 16

Posted: July 14, 2014

Renovations to the front entrance and reception area of the Companion Animal Hospital (Small Animal Clinic) have triggered a change in access, scheduled to take effect on Wednesday, July 16.

Patients and clients heading to the Companion Animal Hospital (Small Animal Clinic) will enter the hospital through the Animal Cancer Centre entrance for the next few months.  This will include emergency cases. Animal Cancer Centre patients and clients will also continue to use this entrance.

imageArtist’s rendering of new entrance to Companion Animal Hospital

The Companion Animal Hospital reception and billing services will also move to the Animal Cancer Centre.

Clients will be escorted to the exam rooms via the Sunken Lounge area. Interior barriers will be constructed around the Sunken Lounge area to provide privacy to staff.

The driveway will remain open and signage will be posted in the entrance and parking area to direct clients. There will be a patient drop-off parking spot and four metered parking spots available at the front of the Animal Cancer Centre. Metered parking continues to be available in P64, adjacent to the Companion Animal Hospital. If clients anticipate they will need assistance to bring their pet into the hospital from this parking area, they are asked to please contact the Companion Animal Hospital and staff will assist them.

When completed, the renovations will include a new front entrance, lobby and reception area as well as five new exam rooms, a client comfort room, call centre, billing and discharge area, and donor walls.

Please check the Health Sciences Centre website at www.ovchsc.ca and click on News and Events for regular updates on the renovation.

OVC in the news

Posted: July 14, 2014

An OVC bacteriologist, a clinical nutrition post-doc, and the OVC Health Sciences Centre’s clinical counsellor were in the news recently.

Dr. John Prescott, Pathobiology, was featured in a CBC News story about the growing problem of antimicrobial resistance and efforts to control the overuse of antibiotics in Canadian agriculture.

For more, see the story on the CBC website and watch the video.

Prescott was a featured speaker at last week’s Summit of Veterinary Leaders, part of the 2014 Canadian Veterinary Medical Association’s annual conference. This year’s theme was “Antimicrobial Stewardship: A New World Order.”

Dr. Jackie Parr, a post-doctoral researcher in the Department of Clinical Studies, is featured on a new “webisode” of the online program Dog Park Tales.  In the program, Parr explains how to test your dog’s weight, how to prevent problems from starting, and what to do if it’s already out of control. Watch it here.

The powerful bond between people and their pets, and the profound grief felt by pet owners when their pet dies, are explored in the summer issue of Grand Magazine, a lifestyle publication focused on people and places in Waterloo Region.

OVC clinical counsellor Bojena Kelmendi is featured in the article titled “Letting Go of a Beloved Pet.”

Kelmendi, who is a registered social worker trained in bereavement and grief counselling, works with OVC clients who are dealing with a pet that is very ill or the loss of a pet. She also works with OVC veterinarians and students who are looking for guidance in helping their clients or who need support to deal with stress and anxiety.

Read the article here.

U of G hosts avian immunologists

Posted: July 14, 2014

The University of Guelph will host leading experts in the field of immunology this week at the Avian Immunology Research Group Meeting.

The conference takes place in Rozanski Hall July 16 to 19.

“This is a highly interactive meeting where cutting-edge research in the general area of avian immunology is discussed,” said Dr. Shayan Sharif, Pathobiology, who heads up the U of G organizing committee for the conference.

“There will be a mixture of oral and poster presentations with ample opportunities to establish new collaborations and exchange ideas.”

For the health of all species, including our own.

The Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) is a world leader in veterinary health care, learning and research. We work at the intersection of animal, human and ecosystem health: training future veterinarians and scientists, improving the health of our animal companions, ensuring the safety of the food we eat and protecting the environment that we all share. It's been that way since 1862.

About OVC

We are dedicated to the advancement of veterinary and comparative medicine through teaching, research and service.