Sarnia woman calls for improved after-hours vet service – Sarnia and Lambton County This Week


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A Sarnia resident is circulating the petition urging improved after-hours emergency veterinary care in the city after her beloved dog, Bernie, suffered through a “horrible” seven-hour death at her home just before Christmas.

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Marg Allen said her dog collapsed in the late afternoon of Dec. 23 but her regular veterinarian’s office had closed early that day so , when she called, she was connected with a “tele-vet system” call centre.

“I said, ‘I need the closest crisis clinic; I need my boy euthanized, ’” Allen said. “They referred me to Mississauga. ”

Emergency services in London were closed plus Mississauga was the nearest location available at the time, but that will 270 kilometres was too far for her to travel, Allen stated.

“Bernie had a stroke, I could see that, ” she mentioned.

“I was hoping he would just kind of stay quiet, but at 8 p. m. everything came apart and the poor little guy was stroking” and having seizures, Allen said.

It was “horrible, ” she said.

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“He finally passed at about three in the morning. ”

Allen stated Bernie was more than 15 years old and “I knew the time would be coming. ”

Allen said it’s not the fact that Bernie died that caused her to act.

“It’s the fact there was no help after hours, ” she said. “My hands were tied. What could I do? ”

Bernie was eight years old when friends had to give him up, so he came to live with Allen.

“I had him for seven-and-a-half years, ” she said. “He was a darling. I sure didn’t want him to go that way. ”

Allen said copies of a petition she is circulating are available at Rawsome Dogs on Michigan Avenue, Clean Cut K9 Dog and Cat Grooming upon Colborne Road and Lorraine’s Hair Salon on Lakeshore Road.

She said friends have also been helping distribute it.

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It calls on local veterinarians, community leaders and pet owners to work together to find a way to improve after-hours emergency veterinary care in the Sarnia area.

“In two weeks, I’ve had over 360 names, ” Allen said.

“We need help, ” and the tele-vet system “just isn’t working, ” the girl said.

“I thought they’d refer me to something local. I would have made the trip to London but it was closed. There’s no way I possibly could go to Mississauga. ”

John Stevens, CEO of the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association, mentioned in an email the association “shares the concerns of pet owners in areas of the particular province where access to veterinary care is a challenge. ”

He said the association supports different methods for delivering treatment, such as “telemedicine, providing guidance on how to maximum the use of registered veterinary technicians, and supporting the health and well-being associated with veterinarians. ”

“As front-line workers, they are experiencing high rates of burnout, stress and other mental-health concerns, ” he said.

Stevens said veterinary organizations in Ontario are looking at ways to increase domestic training capacity, as well as recruit and license more veterinarians trained outside the province.

“Most pet owners see their pets as members of the family and worrying about access to care when a family member is sick or injured is a stressful experience, ” Stevens said.

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