Working with Veterinarians and Vet Clinics to Improve Wildlife Health Surveillance in Ontario

The Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative (CWHC) Ontario/Nunavut node has been trying to expand our wildlife disease surveillance program by increasing our ability to receive specimens from the general public. The main factor limiting submissions seems to be the ability for the public to properly store specimens prior to shipment. Ideally, specimens would be stored in a fridge (if close enough to be dropped off to the Guelph office) or freezer (if needed to be shipped), until they can be submitted. If stored quickly, there is less decomposition and it can greatly improve our ability to determine the cause of death.

As one means to improve our ability to receive submissions from the public, the CWHC made an appeal in the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association newsletter for veterinary clinics or veterinarians who are willing to volunteer some time to store and ship wildlife specimens to aid in wildlife disease surveillance across Ontario. Initial feedback resulted in 4 veterinarians over 5 clinics interested in volunteering their time to help.

These clinics include: Kirkland Lake Veterinary Clinic and Animal Hospital (Kirkland Lake), Sixteen Mile Veterinary Clinic (Oakville), Burloak Animal Hospital (Oakville), and Toronto Humane Society (Toronto).

We are expanding our appeal by contacting local veterinary practices to see if they would be willing to help on a case by case basis. Their generous participation will help maximize our ability to receive wildlife specimens in the region and provide enhanced disease surveillance across a wider range of animal species and locations. If you are a veterinarian or clinic owner in Ontario and are interested in helping store and ship wildlife specimens originating in your local area, please contact the CWHC at or call our toll free number: (866) 673-4781.

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