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Elk Lake Veterinary Hospital Policies

Please review the below policies that help keep our practice running smoothly and allow us to help our clients and patients safely and respectfully. These policies may be updated from time to time to reflect our current practices. Note that refusal or breach of these policies may result in immediate termination of services.

Respectful Conduct

We value the wellbeing and dignity of our staff, our clients, and our patients. We are committed to fostering a positive and supportive environment for everyone. It is imperative that all interactions between staff and clients are conducted with courtesy, civility, and mutual respect. Any form of rude, disrespectful, or abusive behavior toward our staff will not be tolerated.

We welcome questions, feedback, and constructive criticism from our clients as part of our commitment to continuous improvement. However, such conversations must occur in a respectful manner. Disagreements or concerns should be expressed with tact and consideration for the feelings and professionalism of our staff members. 

This policy applies equally to interactions that occur at the hospital, over the telephone, and via email. If a client is unable to conduct themselves in a respectful and solution-oriented manner, they will be asked to leave or the conversation will be discontinued. Clients who are unable to abide by these guidelines will be immediately asked to seek alternate treatment for their companions – we will transfer all records to their new care provider. 

We feel so strongly about respectful conduct in part because of the mental health toll this care-giving profession takes on veterinarians and support staff. We invite you to learn more about the experience on the other side of the exam room door here.

Financial Terms

The veterinary care services that we provide to your companion have associated fees. We are committed to ensuring that costs are communicated with transparency ahead of any procedures or treatments, but we encourage clients to ask what any recommended service, diagnostic, or treatment product costs if they have not already received an estimate. The cost of a veterinary consultation covers the time and assessment from the veterinarian – any recommended services, diagnostics, or treatment products will have an additional fee. 

Appointments are available for multiple pets at the same time – typically 30 minutes are allocated for each animal, and there will be a consultation charge for each patient. We do not offer breeder discounts, as we have chosen to allocate savings to charity organizations and animal rescue groups. 

Estimates provided are valid for 60 days, and typically include a cost range that reflects our best assessment of what might be required for a particular case – this is our best evaluation of expected costs, but they should be considered an estimate only. The final charge for a procedure or service will be calculated based on how the actual treatment progresses. After an estimate has expired, a veterinary consultation may be required to assess any changes to the patient’s condition before additional estimates can be provided. 

Payment is due at the time services are provided, and we accept cash, debit, Visa, and Mastercard. We are unable to accept personal cheques or e-transfers. We do not offer payment plans or financial assistance – PetCard is an external financing option that may be available. Many clients choose to acquire pet insurance, and it is the client’s responsibility to ensure that any associated pre-approvals are secured with their insurance provider before proceeding with services. 

Any unpaid fees will incur interest at a rate of 2.23% per month. Any amount not paid when due, for which an outside collection agency is retained, will result in customer’s liability for all collection fees, interest, and all costs associated with collection of any past due amount(s).

Cancellations and Missed Appointments

Late Arrivals:
Clients arriving more than 10 minutes late for their scheduled appointment will be asked to rebook their appointment, or understand that they may need to return for a follow-up appointment (at an additional charge) to complete any required assessments or treatments that could not be completed in the remaining appointment time. 

Cancellations:
We understand that plans change and unexpected situations arise. If you are unable to make your scheduled appointment or need to reschedule, please call us to let us know as soon as possible. This allows us to offer the consultation space to another client, enabling us to help as many patients as possible at a time when access to veterinary care is becoming an increasing challenge. 

Missed Appointments:
Clients who miss their scheduled appointment without communicating ahead of time will be considered a ‘no show.’ Missed appointments without notice compromise our ability to provide care to as many patients as possible, and failure to be present at the time of a scheduled appointment will be recorded on the client’s file. If a client has two ‘no show’ notices on their file, in the future they will be required to pay the non-refundable cost of the consultation fee at time of booking to secure the appointment time.

Safe Patient Arrival

Our hospital is a busy environment with many humans and animals arriving and departing. We want to make sure everyone stays safe and comfortable, and we rely on our clients’ help to make that happen. When arriving for appointments, all dogs must be on a secure leash and all cats must be fully contained in carriers (even if they are harness-trained). This applies to the parking lot area as well as inside the hospital. Some of our patients are reactive when around others, while others are quite nervous in unfamiliar environments – this is the best way to keep our facility safe and welcoming for all. 

If you do not have the necessary equipment, please enter the hospital without your companion and ask us for a leash or carrier – we have extras on-hand and are happy to lend them out. Due to liability and the risk of escape, we cannot collect unsecured animals from vehicles.

Patient Examination Requirements

The College of Veterinarians of British Columbia (CVBC) bylaw states that an active Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship (VCPR) is required for a veterinary hospital to provide prescription medications, prescription foods, and any medical recommendations for a pet. An active VCPR may be established and maintained with an annual health exam by one of our veterinarians. Learn more about what is involved in a regular wellness examination

Excerpt from College of Veterinarians of BC: Prescribing

“A valid veterinarian-client-patient-relationship must exist before a veterinarian can prescribe or dispense a medication for your pet. This is referred to as the VCPR and it is required by law. The VCPR usually involves face-to-face communication and an exam of your pet, which allows your veterinarian to determine the health status of your pet before making any treatment recommendations.”

Some conditions and treatment protocols require one or more follow-up appointments to manage or monitor the progress of a particular case. These appointments are not included in the original consultation fee, and additional costs may be applicable. While we cannot guarantee the length of a required treatment or the number of subsequent appointments that may be needed, we can always provide an estimate of costs for any proposed treatment plan.

Medication Pickup and Returns

Once dispensed, for safety reasons returns cannot be processed for medications. This is the case even if a patient is deceased, the treatment plan changes, or the patient does not find a certain medication palatable. Once dispensed, our provincial veterinary governing body prohibits us from discarding expired or unused medications. Dispensed medications that have not been picked up within two weeks will be returned to stock and a restocking fee will apply.

Doctor Preference

We have both full-time and regular locum veterinarians at our practice to ensure that we can provide consistent and quality care for our patients. If you have a preference to see a particular doctor for a health consultation or surgical procedure, please let our Reception staff know when you book your appointment and we will do our best to accommodate this request. There are certain cases (due to office hours, surgical schedules, or emergency situations) when a particular DVM may not be available. In the event that a different DVM needs to take your appointment and you have not specified a preference, this change will be made. If you have specified a preference, we will do our best to contact you ahead of your appointment time to alert you of the change – if you wish to reschedule with the doctor of your choice, we are happy to change your appointment time depending on their availability. If your pet is very ill or requires urgent care, our team may recommend seeing the veterinarian with the earliest availability or referral to an emergency clinic.

Travel Documentation

Please note that our veterinarians do not offer the service of providing wellness checks for the purposes of signing a health certificate or other travel-related documentation for your companion. Because the specific documentation, associated fees, and particular requirements stipulated by permitting agencies differ significantly between destination countries, and change frequently and without notice, we cannot be responsible for guaranteeing that the requested paperwork meets current requirements.

We strongly recommend that clients utilize the services of specialized agencies, or professionals who specialize in import/export paperwork for companion animals, in order to guarantee that the documentation will be completed to the standards required by the permitting agency. These specialized service providers have a better understanding of the intricacies and evolving regulations related to international animal transportation, and are in the best position to facilitate international travel for your companion.

Lost and Found

We do our best to reunite any items left behind at the hospital with their owners – we will make at least two attempts to contact clients with regard to forgotten items before donating these goods to a local charity. If we do not know to whom the item belongs, we will retain it for at least 30 days so that it can be claimed.

Fear-Free Environment

Our Reception area is separated into distinct areas for dogs and cats, in an effort to minimize stimulation and stress for all of our patients. If your companion is particularly fearful or reactive, we may ask that you wait outside in your car until your appointment start, or we may be able to place you and your companion directly into a consult room. 

Please be mindful of other patients, allowing everyone as much personal space as possible. Do not allow your dog to interact with others unless you have received permission from the other guardian – veterinary hospitals can be stressful and sometimes scary places, so keeping extra interactions to a minimum can help keep the experience as smooth as possible. 

If a patient is clearly stressed during any point of their appointment, we may recommend stopping assessment or treatment for the moment and returning at a later date. We can provide pre-visit pharmaceuticals (PVPs) before this follow-up appointment that help to keep patients calm and minimize stress, which creates a more comfortable experience and allows for more thorough examination and treatment. 

Patient Information and Care Records

Ethically, the information contained within veterinary medical records is considered privileged and confidential. Information regarding individual patients, including health status updates or access to medical records, can only be shared with the registered owner on file in our system. To change owner information, a change request form must be filled out by the original owner on file; in the event that we have multiple owners listed, this form must be signed by both or all parties. Access to patient information can be granted to others if the owner on record has confirmed this permission in writing.