Small animal emergency services (July 23-26, 2024)

Due to limited staff and high demand, the WCVM Veterinary Medical Centre’s small animal emergency and critical care service must restrict patient intake to life-threatening cases (red zone) during the following time range:

12 p.m., Tuesday, July 23, to 7:30 a.m., Friday, July 26

Regular emergency services will resume on Friday morning, July 26.

If your veterinary clinic is referring an animal that is in a life-threatening condition to the VMC's emergency and critical care service, please call the VMC in advance (306-966-7126).

During the above time range, please make other arrangements for patients that require urgent (orange zone) or non-urgent care (yellow zone). 

Small animal emergency services

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 (; 306-966-7109). 



emergency triage chart

Changes to selected referral services

Updated July 16, 2024


PLEASE NOTE: due to holidays, the WCVM Veterinay Medical Centre's veterinary ophthalmology service will be closed from Saturday, July 20, to Tuesday, August 5, 2024. During this time period, please refer any cases to another ophthalmology service in Canada. 


The WCVM Veterinary Medical Centre's veterinary ophthalmology service has only one faculty member on clinical service due to reduced capacity. As a result, a specialist is currently available in the clinics for only 50 per cent of the time. 

The VMC’s ophthalmology service operates on a rotating schedule, with an ophthalmologist available for two weeks on/two weeks off. When the specialist is “off clinics,” the ophthalmology service does not see new consults or referrals.

Until further notice, please follow these steps: 

• Please call the Small Animal Clinic (306-966-7126) in advance before referring any urgent or emergent ophthalmology case to the VMC. If a veterinary ophthalmologist is not available at the time, please refer your case to another ophthalmology service in Canada. 

• Please do not send eye-related referral cases through the VMC’s emergency services without contacting the ophthalmology service in advance. Due to the rotating schedule, the VMC clinical team cannot guarantee that eye-related cases will be seen through the hospital’s emergency services. 

If the ophthalmologist is not available, patients may need to wait for the next scheduled appointment or be referred to another ophthalmologist elsewhere in Canada.

Thank you for your understanding and co-operation.



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

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


MEDICAL IMAGING (image-sharing platform)

The WCVM Veterinary Medical Centre's (VMC) current radiology image sharing software, BEAM, will be discontinued as of May 31, 2024. However, due to unforeseen circumstances, the hospital's new image-sharing platform will not be implemented until the end of June 2024.

As a result, the VMC must temporarily change its process of sending images to referring veterinarians during the month of June. 

While the VMC clinical team can still email X-ray images to referring veterinarians during the transition period, other images — including MRI and CT scans and ultrasound images — will need to be saved to a CD and mailed or couriered to your clinic. Please provide the VMC with adequate notice to facilitate your requests for advanced imaging.

The VMC recognizes the significant impact that these arrangements will have on the hospital's rDVM community, and we sincerely apologize for the inconvenience. The VMC will provide updates on the status of the new image-sharing platform as they become available. 



The hospital’s existing linear accelerator is over a decade old. In June 2022, the VMC had to shut down its linear accelerator because of substantial mechanical issues. The existing machine currently remains inactive, and the VMC clinical team looks forward to the new linear accelerator being in place as the decision around purchasing a new unit is complete and the contracts have been signed. 

Once the new linear accelerator is in place, the VMC’s veterinary oncology team can resume offering a full range of radiation therapies — including optimized image-guided radiotherapy and high-speed radiation treatment. The VMC will keep referring veterinarians posted on timelines regarding installation of the new linear accelerator. 



The VMC's wildlife, exotic and avian medicine service's caseload is particularly high, and as a result, the service is not always able to accommodate all referrals.

Please call the Small Animal Clinic (306-966-7126) in advance before referring any patient to this service. Members of the VMC team will respond as soon as possible. Thank you for your understanding. 



Western Canadian veterinarians are welcome to contact the WCVM Veterinary Medical Centre's large animal internal medicine team for consultation on equine endocrine-related cases. Please email for more information.

Prairie Diagnostic Services (PDS), the provincial veterinary diagnostic laboratory for Saskatchewan, now offers equine metabolic testing that’s available for all western Canadian veterinarians. 

The tests measure the levels of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and insulin in blood samples taken from equine patients. Both markers are critical for diagnosing pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (PPID) and equine metabolic syndrome (EMS). 

The PDS tests' reference ranges are based on the results of a WCVM study to determine a regional baseline for ACTH and insulin in western Canadian horses. Hormonal biomarkers can fluctuate based on geographical region, weather conditions and the time of day. 

Additional resources: 

• Equine metabolic syndrome (resources for horse owners)
Pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (resources for horse owners)

About Referral Cases

The WCVM Veterinary Medical Centre (VMC) serves as the referral centre for all veterinarians who practise across Western Canada. The VMC's goal is to work with our referring veterinarians and help ensure a smooth transition of care — contributing to excellence in care provision and a seamless client experience. 

Please click on the green button below to download a list of tips and advice for referring veterinarians and veterinary clinics. 

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)
  • 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 chart outlines 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. 

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.

Cases considered by VMC large animal internal medicine service

• 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)

Cases to be referred elsewhere

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

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.

Patient Records

Information for referring and family veterinarians

The Health Information Service manages the patient data flowing in and out of the WCVM Veterinary Medical Centre.

Privacy and confidentiality

Protecting our patient's health information is essential. We require owner consent to send records to any veterinary clinic that is not listed as the home clinic for a referring or family veterinarian on the patient's chart.

Requesting records

If you require records in addition to the discharge notes or referral letter (if applicable), please contact the VMC's Health Information Service.

Please provide us with as much lead time as possible to process your request. While most requests are completed within 72 hours, please note that we prioritize all requests to patients in distress at another veterinary clinic.  

Contact us

Contact the WCVM Veterinary Medical Centre's Health Information Service team at 306-966-7111 or We are open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday. 

Clinical Trials

Research teams at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) frequently ask for assistance in locating potential participants for animal health research studies at the veterinary college. In some cases, the research study will cover the cost of specific tests or procedures for eligible participants. 

For more information, please click on the individual studies listed below or visit the web page listing all current research studies that are seeking potential participants. 


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.