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Emergency Care For Our Clients

We understand that not all illnesses, injuries or accidents occur during regular office hours. That’s why we offer a plan for our current clients. You can take comfort in knowing a veterinarian is just a phone call away.


To our Friends and Clients of Markdale Veterinary Services,

This letter is to inform you of the changes that we must make to our emergency services. Due to a shortage of small animal veterinarians, we can no longer provide 7 days a week, 24 hours a day veterinary care at our hospital.  This decision was not taken lightly, and we always aim to serve our clients and our community to the best of our ability.

Starting June 14th, 2023, a new emergency system will take effect. We will continue to provide emergency services to our small animal clients at our hospital from 8 am to 9 pm, 7 days a week, as we know that most emergencies occur during this time period. Between 9 pm and 8 am Smart.Vet, a telemedicine service, will respond to your call and offer you a telemedicine consultation or referral to an emergency clinic if deemed necessary.

Food animal and equine farm services will not be affected by this change.

Smart.Vet will replace our answering service outside of our regular opening hours. A Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT) will answer your call and help you to choose the level of care you require and will facilitate the best options for your pet.

Options may include:

  • Immediately transferring all food animal and equine emergencies to the large animal veterinarian on call.
  • Transferring small animal emergencies to our on-call small animal veterinarian from 8 am until 9 pm, 7 days a week.
  • Talking through the details of your concern with the RVT so you can decide to contact our practice the next day or schedule a virtual telemedicine appointment with one of the licensed Smart.Vet veterinarians (payable to Smart.Vet).
  • Assist you in finding the nearest emergency clinic between the hours of 9 pm and 8 am

There is no cost for the initial phone call, or any assistance provided by the RVTs.

Thank you for your business. We appreciate your continued patience and support during this transition.


Your Veterinary Team at Markdale Veterinary Services

For more information please visit


In the case of an emergency, please contact us by way of our regular clinic phone number.

Markdale Veterinary Services 519-986-2800

Similar to the human health care system, all emergencies will be triaged.


  1. For LARGE ANIMAL (food animal and equine), SELECT 3, and an RVT or Animal Care Attendant will take your phone number, address and details of the emergency and contact our large animal veterinarian on-call. Except for the initial recording, this is the same process you are familiar with
  2. For SMALL ANIMAL, listen to the recording, select the option that fits your concern, and an RVT will answer your call.

Between 8 am and 9 pm:

  • If your pet requires veterinary attention, the RVT will contact our small animal veterinarian on-call and get back to you with a time when the veterinarian will be available to meet your pet at our clinic. Again, this is very similar to the current process.  In addition, you will have the option to consult a veterinarian through a telemedicine appointment (see below) or wait until the clinic is open in the morning to book an appointment.

Between 9 pm and 8 am:

Smart.Vet will triage your pet and direct you according to the medical need.  All medical records will be forwarded to our office by the next business day so we can follow up with treatment if necessary.

  • If your pet is suffering from an emergency that requires immediate attention, the RVT will direct you to the nearest available emergency hospital.
  • If the RVT feels your pet’s condition is stable and can be managed without in-person emergency care, they will offer a virtual telemedicine appointment with an Ontario based Smart.Vet veterinarian. The cost is $115+HST for the virtual telemedicine consultation plus an additional $30 fee if medication is prescribed. The cost of the medication is in addition to the prescription writing fee.

This option is available for all clients calling out-of-hours, that would prefer to consult with a veterinarian over the phone.

  • The RVT will aid you in setting up an account that meets the legal requirements for providing veterinary care in Ontario. Credit cards, debit cards, and e-transfer are accepted forms of payment. Payment is required to proceed to a telemedicine consultation with a veterinarian. This step may take several minutes.
  • You will be placed in the scheduled queue for your virtual consultation. We understand waiting can be stressful. It is important to note that if your pet experiences a new symptom or changes in condition during this wait, you can contact the RVT, and your place in the queue may be reassessed. Otherwise, please be patient and know that your pet is waiting for a consultation according to the initial triage that ranks cases by medical urgency.
  • During your virtual video or telephone consultation, the veterinarian will further assess your pet. This may mean requesting a video or photos to aid in the process. The veterinarian can also prescribe certain medications for your pet. Details of your pet’s virtual telemedicine consultation will be sent to our hospital the next business day.
  • At the end of your consultation, if the Smart.Vet veterinarian believes your pet should be seen in person, they will arrange a transfer to the facility most suitable to your pet’s expected level of care and provide you with further instructions.

There is no charge for the initial phone call or assistance provided by the RVT.  If you do not wish to book a virtual telemedicine consultation, you can wait to contact our hospital the next day to schedule an appointment during normal office hours.

We understand that this process is different from what you are accustomed to. If you have any questions or concerns about our emergency coverage, please contact us at the clinic.

Again, we thank you for your business and appreciate your ongoing support.


The Veterinary Team at Markdale Veterinary Services