Payment Policy

Payment is due in full at the time services are rendered. Unfortunately, we are not able to extend charge accounts to our clients. Acceptable payment methods include cash, debit and credit card.  No personal cheques will be accepted. For major emergency procedures, a deposit of 75% of the estimated cost will be required up front.

Appointments/Cancellations

In order to spend as much time as possible with each patient, the Hospital’s appointment format is complicated. When booking orthopedic examinations and major surgical procedures, a $250 non-refundable deposit is required at the time of booking.

Privacy

The privacy of you and your animal companion are our utmost priority. Our standards comply with the current privacy legislation and professional requirements respecting client confidentiality.

Emergency Service Policy

We have a responsibility to provide emergency and out-of-hours service to our clients; a responsibility that we take very seriously. As a client of Espanola Animal Hospital you will always have emergency service available to you. Out-of-hours calls (i.e. outside the normal hours of 9am to 5pm) are accepted by our paging service at 249-878-4399 and forwarded to the Veterinarian on-call.

We regret that we are generally unable to provide emergency service to non-clients (i.e. persons who have a veterinarian elsewhere in the area or choose not to have a regular veterinarian) as we simply do not have the staff or resources to provide this service. Please be advised that while we do accept referrals from other area clinics for orthopedics and emergency and critical care procedures, Espanola Animal Hospital is not an emergency clinic. Area residents who are non-clients should seek emergency care with their regular service provider.

General Health Care Policies

The Espanola Animal Hospital prides itself in providing a level of care unmatched anywhere else in Northern Ontario. A handful of policies are in place in order to protect the health and welfare of you and your pet, our staff and other clients and patients in the hospital. They include the following:

Vaccination Policy

Espanola Animal Hospital has a strictly enforced vaccination policy and clients are required to comply in order to maintain their Veterinarian-client-patient relationship. Several incidents have occurred in the past that have made it necessary to enforce this policy more diligently. A number of cases have occurred involving unvaccinated animals coming into the hospital and transmitting diseases to other patients, causing some of them to become critically ill. As you may also be aware, some of the diseases that we vaccinate pets for present a public health risk (rabies and leptospirosis in particular). In order to protect our staff, clients and patients, we must ask that all patients have their vaccinations kept up to date. This policy includes indoor cats, several of which were involved in the incidents noted above. It has come to our attention that several other veterinarians in the area are now enforcing similar policies due to these concerns.

In addition, it is equally important that your pet receives a check-up and diet counselling when they are vaccinated so that we have an opportunity to prevent any illnesses which may be of concern. The annual exam is our one chance every year to make this happen and ensure that your pets stay healthy; we urge you to take advantage of it.

Spay/Neuter Policy

Espanola Animal Hospital has a strictly enforced spay/neuter policy which our clients are expected to adhere to. There are a number of reasons for this policy that involve protecting the health of our patients, controlling pet over-population and emphasizing adoption from shelters rather than purchasing animals from pet stores and breeders. There is no legitimate reason for a pet owner to refuse to have their pet spayed or neutered. Serious and potentially life-threatening health problems inevitably result from owners failing to have this done and it has been conclusively demonstrated that dogs and cats that have been “fixed” have a far greater life expectancy. It is almost inevitable that a reproductive disease will force an owner to have their pet spayed or neutered at some point during their life. We have no interest in cleaning up the aftermath of a preventable reproductive disease and watching our patients suffer the consequences of poor decision making and irresponsible behaviour on the part of their owners.

Due to our close relationship with the OSPCA, Humane Society, Pet Save, S.A.I.N.T.S and many other shelters and rescue agencies, we have a non-breeding policy in our practice. Given the horrendous numbers of healthy dogs and cats that are routinely and frequently euthanized by animal control agencies in Ontario, it is our position that the breeding of dogs and cats solely for sale as pets is unethical. We believe we have a duty to refuse to participate in this industry and to speak out for the welfare of these animals.

Euthanasia Policy

Euthanasia is an important and necessary procedure meant for the purpose of preventing unnecessary suffering when animals are terminally ill or injured. As it is a medical procedure, it is ultimately performed at the discretion of the Veterinarian as circumstances warrant. Euthanasia is appropriate when:

  •  An animal is terminally ill and can no longer be satisfactorily palliated or managed.
  •  An animal is so severely injured or ill that its prognosis for recovery with reasonably and commonly available treatment is very poor, grave or hopeless.
  •  An animal has a condition that is no longer able to be managed by reasonably and commonly available treatment.
  • An animal has a severe aggression problem AND an appropriate treatment attempt has been made unsuccessfully.

Euthanasia is not appropriate and will not be provided when:

  • An animal is sick or injured and no reasonable attempt at diagnosis or treatment has been made.
  • For economic reasons (i.e. the owner does not want to pay for treatment).
  • The pet is unwanted or the owner has died and “it’s in their will.”
  • For convenience of the owner (i.e. owner finds it easier not to provide care).
  • Perceived old age (i.e. owner is of the opinion animal should not receive care because they’re too old).

Age is not a disease. We have no way of predicting a patient’s life span any more than we could be expected to predict the client’s. It is not reasonable to base health care decisions on perceived old age other than as it may impact management and the individual’s prognosis. It is just as inappropriate (and arguably just as abusive) to deny proper care to an older pet as it would be to deny care to an older person. Responsible pet owners take care of their pets for their entire life. 

Heartworm Testing Policy

Effective April 1, 2011, we will no longer be accepting “waivers” on heartworm testing. The currently accepted protocol regarding heartworm testing based on the American Animal Hospital Association recommendation is every second year providing the dog has been on heartworm prevention previously in the manner prescribed by the Veterinarian. It is inappropriate to dispense medications to owners without performing proper supportive testing and constitutes poor medical practice. Quite frankly, this practice should never have been allowed to occur in the past and is not compatible with the practice culture we are trying to foster.

Therefore, staff have been instructed not to dispense heartworm medications without appropriate testing under any circumstances. As this is a matter of hospital policy, it is non-negotiable – please do not attempt to argue with our staff members over this issue. As per usual, flea medications may be dispensed without a heartworm test.