Clinical services update

Jan. 30, 2023

The WCVM Veterinary Medical Centre (VMC) is experiencing unprecedented demand for our small animal emergency and critical care services and clinical staff shortages. As a result, the VMC is temporarily limiting its after-hours service for small animal emergenices.

• For the time being, the VMC will decrease its after-hours service for small animal emergency and critical care.

• The VMC’s clinical team will restrict patient intake to life-threatening cases (red zone) only from 10 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. each evening/night.

• Whenever staffing levels and caseload permits, the clinical team will see patients that fall under the urgent condition (orange zone).

The VMC clinical team will continue performing triage according to the number of critical cases and available staff. Our triage team will always prioritize life-threatening or critical cases. Non-urgent cases may be turned away at any time — even during the day — depending on the level of demand 

If your veterinary clinic is referring an animal that is in a life-threatening condition to the VMC's emergency and critical care service, call the VMC in advance (306-966-7126)— regardless of the time — so our clinical team is aware of the incoming case.

To keep the public and referring veterinary clinics informed, the VMC will continue to provide information on its website ( and will post regularly weekly reminders about the VMC’s triage process on the WCVM’s social media channels (@WCVMToday)

The VMC clinical team thanks the veterinary community for its understanding and support. If you have questions or concerns, please contact Dr. Steve Manning (; 306-321-5923). 



emergency triage chart

Changes to selected referral services
Updated Oct. 17, 2022


The Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) plans to purchase and install a new linear accelerator that will allow the WCVM Veterinary Medical Centre (WCVM) to offer a wider range of advanced radiation treatment services to its oncology patients.

The VMC expects to have the new equipment installed and operating by early 2023. 

While this investment in the VMC’s veterinary oncology program is exciting news, the VMC has had to shut down its existing linear accelerator because of substantial mechanical issues. 

Until the updated technology is installed and commissioned, the VMC can only offer strontium radiotherapy for small, superficial tumours in patients. The VMC’s oncology team can still provide consults about radiation as a treatment option, but if radiation is indicated, the VMC will refer the patient to another veterinary centre.

During this transition, the VMC apologizes for the inconvenience to its patients and their families as well as to referring veterinarians. The VMC will update the veterinary community about the project as plans are finalized.


Updated March 7, 2023

Until further notice, the veterinary nutrition service at the WCVM Veterinary Medical Centre (VMC) is not accepting external referral cases.

Dr. Tammy Owens, the VMC's board-certified nutritionist, will still provide nutritional support to VMC patients and will be available to external veterinarians for nutrition-related advice.

Click here to access other options for nutrition services in Canada and the U.S.  

About Referral Cases

The WCVM Veterinary Medical Centre serves as the referral centre for all veterinarians who practise across Western Canada.

Online Referral Forms

The WCVM Veterinary Medical Centre's online referral process has been upgraded. 

Click the green button below to begin the referral submission process. 

Questions or problems? Please contact  

Laboratory files and/or radiographic images can be attached to your online submission. Here's a list of the types of referrals that the WCVM Veterinary Medical Centre can accept:  

  • Clinical behaviour (dogs, cats, exotic pets, pocket pets and horses)
  • Dentistry 
  • Dermatology
  • Equine standing MRI 
  • Medicine
  • Medicine-surgery (exotic pets, zoo animals and wildlife)
  • Neurology 
  • Nutrition 
  • Oncology 
  • Ophthalmology 
  • Rehabilitation (rehabilitation, acupuncture and laser therapy services)

Neurology and cardiology (small animal)

  • The WCVM Veterinary Medical Centre does not have board-certified specialists in neurology and cardiology on site.
  • Incoming cases are managed by the VMC's small animal medicine and small animal surgery teams. 


Cardiology (large animal/equine)

At this time, the WCVM Veterinary Medical Centre's (VMC) large animal clinical team cannot evaluate cardiology cases that require an echocardiogram for diagnostic, therapeutic or prognostic purposes. 

The following charts outline which cardiology cases the VMC's large animal internal medicine (LAIM) service will consider seeing and which cases should immediately be referred to another specialist centre. 

Cardiology cases considered by VMC's large animal internal medicine team

Diagnosis/treatment of suspected heart failure
Chemical conversion of atrial fibrillation (after an echocardiogram has been performed elsewhere)
ECG, including Holter ECG (intepretation by a board-certified cardiologist external to the WCVM)

Cardiology cases to be referred elsewhere

Workup of heart murmurs
Performance evaluations
Routine monitoring of previously diagnosed structural or functional cardiac abnormalities








Referral option:

  • Dr. Kim Hawkes, board-certified veterinary cardiologist, Pulse Veterinary Specialists & Emergency, Sherwood Park, Alta.
  • Dr. Hawkes provides equine cardiology services at several equine veterinary clinics in Alberta.

Please Note

We are staffed by faculty who have teaching, research and additional responsibilities. Referral cases must be seen by the clinicians on duty rather than by a specific faculty member. This is the case even if you have spoken to a specific faculty member and they have encouraged you to refer the case to the Veterinary Medical Centre.

If your client is scheduling the appointment, please ask your client to let our staff know that this is a referral appointment. We will ask for:

  • the referring veterinarian's name
  • the name and address of the referring veterinary clinic
  • a completed online referral form (see above). Radiographic images and/or laboratory files (in jpeg or PDF format) can be attached to your online submission.

As the patient's referring veterinarian, you will receive a final written report after the case is discharged from the WCVM Veterinary Medical Centre.

Referring Emergency Cases

If a referred patient is an emergency case

  1. Send your patient and client on their way to the WCVM Veterinary Medical Centre.
  2. Call the appropriate clinic to provide more details and your client's estimated arrival time.
  3. Complete the appropriate referral form.

Please inform your client that the WCVM Veterinary Medical Centre will charge emergency fees. 

If a specialty clinician is unavailable, a clinical intern or a resident (under a senior clinician's supervision) will accept the referred emergency patients.

Notices for Veterinarians


Continuing Education

Each year, the WCVM helps to organize continuing education courses or seminars for specialized practitioner associations. Based on demand, the veterinary college also organizes and offers CE events that target certain species or disciplines.