Sign up for our free weekday bulletin.

Pet owners dismayed by loss of after-hours vet service

Published on

Troy Shantz

Sarnia-area residents with a sick or injured pet no longer have access to after-hours veterinary services locally.

The executive director of the Sarnia & District Humane Society said she was “speechless” when the last local clinic providing 24-hour emergency service announced it was ending it Oct. 1.

That leaves pet owners at night with the option of driving to London, Windsor or Michigan for medical and surgical care.

“We’ve received a lot of calls,” Donna Pyette said. “We’re kind of sitting in the same boat ourselves.”

In a letter to clients, The Rapids Veterinary Hospital said it was ending after-hours emergency care due to a full workload and the need for appropriate work-life balance.

Pyette said she understands why, but is disappointed local veterinarians haven’t come up with a back-up plan. Even a 1-800 number to give owners advice during an emergency would help, she said.

“These are your customers.”

Pyette said a few veterinarians will see a sick pet after regular hours, but only for established customers. It’s an important thing to consider when choosing a clinic, she said.

In many cities, veterinary clinics work together in rotation to cover emergencies at night.

A trip to London or Windsor can take too long for a seriously injured animal, Pyette said. And crossing the border is problematic for an injured stray or pet with no documentation or proof of rabies vaccination.

Local residents are also being directed to clinics in Michigan. But dogs in poor health are prohibited from entering the U.S., according to the Center for Disease Control, and even healthy dogs need proof of vaccination to cross the border.

Fewer restrictions apply to cats.

Twenty-four hour care is available at The London Regional Veterinary Emergency and Referral Hospital. It’s located at 41 Adelaide St., North Suite 45, 519-432-3300.

So does the Walker Road Animal Hospital in Windsor, at 3577 Walker Rd. 519-972-9000.

More like this