Port Royal Animal Hospital: protocols, policies, and potential new clients
We have been made aware that a long-standing veterinary hospital in Yarmouth County is closing its doors forever, effective February 10th, 2023, having served its patients and clients faithfully for nearly 45 years. This saddens me on so many levels, but wish only the best to the DVMs and their loyal team for what their future holds.
We are anticipating a number of their pet owners will be contacting us in the coming days and months.
Looking for a veterinarian?
This has been a challenging time for veterinary teams, often mirroring what citizens are experiencing on the human medical side. This is not exclusive to our area or even our province or country. The short of it is there are more companion animals than ever, and not enough veterinarians and their teams to service them all.
As you may know, Port Royal Animal Hospital is a ONE-veterinarian small animal hospital. In order to be licensed as a “hospital”, veterinarians must provide 24 hour emergency service for THEIR patients. Shared after-hours coverage (with a neighbouring hospital) has become necessary for sustaining this impossible expectation. For quite some time our accepting of new clients has been restricted to ensure there is a balance of the human health of the veterinary team and being able to offer appropriate standard of care to its current patient roster.
We are currently accepting new clients on a WAITLIST with the following criteria:
- You do not already have a veterinarian within a 1.5-hour drive of your primary residence
**note to those seeking to switch vets: rethink this and cultivate your relationship with your current vet team; and while there are various reasons for wanting to switch, please remember that all of us are in the same challenging times and vet teams only want to help your pet, and you.
***this restriction is to address the patients’ urgent/emergent needs in a timely fashion; also recognize calling a vet afterhours significantly threatens their recharging hours while on alert waiting for a patient to arrive
- Understand and respect our policies and our time. For example: Canceled or missed appointments, and calling the veterinarian outside of business hours is for emergencies ONLY.
You may contact us via this website if you wish to be included on our waiting list.
For a Veterinary Emergency call (902)532-7387.
We are happy to be finally moving forward, past 2 years of pandemic restrictions. We are grateful beyond measure for NS Public Health’s navigation of these very tricky times. We are sorry for the lives lost as a result of COVID19, as well as for difficulties faced by all people, and animals, as our world has seemed to implode.
Our hospital has been following NS Public Health Guidelines since the beginning of the pandemic, and will continue to do so. These measures have kept our hospital open and functioning during this challenging time. Nevertheless, between the COVID measures and the incredible influx of new patients and clients needing veterinary care, it seems there are not enough hours in the day to accomplish it all. Our schedule is full daily, and appointments are being planned 3-4 weeks in advance. We make every effort to remind folks of their appointments, and if you need to reschedule, please make us aware at least 24 hours in advance so we may open up that spot for another needing care. [Please see our “Missed Appointment Policy”, below.]
NS Public Health has given the green light for Nova Scotians to lift COVID 19 restrictions. Despite these welcomed changes, we will however, be maintaining some of those policies as we feel necessary to continue to practice and serve safely.
~please wear a mask when interacting with our staff inside the hospital
~we have resumed in hospital/in person appointments*,**, however, we will continue to offer curbside service for those who prefer this option, for those who are feeling unwell, and for recheck or outpatient appointments and some sick or prolonged consultations
*in some cases, we will ask clients to return to their vehicles, particularly if it is a prolonged consultation (while we await test results, or prepare prescriptions), to keep our schedule moving forward
**we may resort to curbside only service when we feel it is in the best interests of all concerned, and may choose to do so without prior warning
~ please do not enter our hospital if you are feeling unwell
~ please call (902) 532-7387 – for a veterinary emergency; to announce your arrival; to make an appointment
~ when possible, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org – to preorder supplies or prescriptions
~ where possible, please email email@example.com, with general questions, or updates on your pets’ condition
~ please be aware that our phone lines are often busy during office hours – if your call is not urgent, please leave a message; but if it is a veterinary emergency, please try again, or, follow the instructions to reach the Dr on call
~ please recognize we are a one-veterinarian hospital with her small but mighty team, serving the needs of many; for this reason we ask you to respect that calling the Dr outside of appointment hours is for emergencies only; please note there is a telephone consulting fee of $35 plus GST, when your call does not result in an emergency visit
~ even with these boundaries, being on call 24-7 is an impossible task, when also a human being who needs rest and nourishment of the body and mind; that is why emergency coverage is shared with Dr. Neil Pothier of Bayview Animal Hospital – this means that on occasion, if calling us after hours for an emergency, you may be directed to contact Dr. Neil, and your pet may need to go to his hospital (Digby, NS); please expect a similar, but not necessarily exact protocol at his hospital; once your pet’s immediate needs have been addressed, the medical record will be forwarded to us
For a Veterinary Emergency call (902)532-7387.
From our end, you can expect the following measures are taking place:
~ all of our hospital team members have received both vaccines for COVID19 protection, and booster
~ we continue to follow NS Public Health Guidelines regarding handwashing, and physical distancing at work and in our personal lives, where possible; as well, staff will continue to wear mask while working together
~ we continue to practice thorough cleaning procedures of high-contact areas, in addition to our regular hospital cleaning
~ we keep abreast of NS Public Health mandates and adjust our protocols as needed
~ our staff do not come to work when sick – although this is a must for containing and preventing spread of infectious disease, it is challenging working short-staffed; if the Dr is sick, it means having to cancel appointments until she is well enough to return; having just experienced this in April 2022, it is something we want to avoid, for all concerned
~ Hospital Hours:
Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday – 8 am to 5 pm
Wednesday and Friday – 8 am to 1 pm
Saturday, Sunday, and Holidays – CLOSED
FOR APPOINTMENT OR EMERGENCY, CALL (902) 532-7387
In-hospital Consultation Protocol:
Upon arrival, please park in one of our designated parking spaces and dial (902) 532-7387 to announce your arrival, or, if you don’t have a cell phone with you, please pop into reception to alert us you’re here. Provided our schedule is moving as intended, you will be invited to enter with your pet at your designated appointment time, and directed to a consultation room. Please have pets effectively leashed or contained in a carrier. Please wear a mask while inside the hospital.
We allow for 30 minute appointments – this starts from the appointed time (check in) and includes the history-taking, physical exam and consultation, treatment or testing, if any, and conclusion (check out). We appreciate it very much when clients arrive on time, and remain available to speak to the Dr. or her assistants, and to receive their pet within that 30 minute time frame. At the conclusion of the appointment, you will be asked to return to your vehicle until the receptionist is ready to complete the check out with you.
Curbside Service Protocol:
Upon arrival, please park in one of our designated parking spaces and dial (902) 532-7387 to announce your arrival, or, if you don’t have a cell phone with you, please pop into reception to alert us you’re here. One of my staff will be out to collect your pet for the appointment, while you remain with your vehicle. Please have your pet ready for receiving – cats/small dogs in a carrier; dogs on a leash.
We allow for 30 minute appointments – this starts from the appointed time (check in) and includes the history-taking, physical exam and consultation, testing, if any, and conclusion (check out). We appreciate it very much when clients arrive on time, and remain available to speak to the Dr. or her assistants, and to receive their pet within that 30 minute time frame. (Rechecks and outpatient procedures are allotted 15 minutes.) It is very difficult to stay on schedule when we cannot return your pet to you (we have to prepare for the next one!) or the Dr. cannot speak to you during that 30 minutes because the client has physically left the area during their appointment.
For a Veterinary Emergency call (902)532-7387.
Thank you for your continued support, understanding and kindness. We care very much about you and your furry family members and are doing our very best to serve you.
Jody Cunningham, DVM
February 7, 2023
***Missed appointment policy: We recognize that stuff happens and you may need to reschedule or cancel your appointment with us. For those no show appointments or not giving at least 24 hours notice to cancel, a fee of $35 (plus GST) will apply. It will also forfeit any multipet discounts from future visits. For repeat occurrences, in order to secure a future appointment, the exam fee will need to be pre-paid in full, and is nonrefundable, if the appointment is missed nor cancelled within 24 hours. Our goal with this policy is to open up otherwise unused appointment time for another pet in need. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding.
****Late to an appointment: Again, we recognize that stuff happens and you may be running late, and maybe that is not how you usually operate (but maybe it is :). When you are late for an appointment it has a trickle down effect for the rest of the day’s schedule, affecting multiple persons along the way. If you anticipate being late, please call to alert us (902)532-7387. Depending on the circumstances, we may need to reschedule your appointment (in which case the missed appointment policy will apply), or limit the scope of that appointment.
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