Companion Animal Expert Network – Call for Nominations

The Ontario Animal Health Network has an open call for self-nominations for regional representation of companion animal veterinarians. The companion animal network is seeking 3 private practice veterinarians to act as regional representatives, and meet regularly to discuss health issues and disease in small animals.

We are seeking representatives for the following groups:

  • Northern Ontario
  • Eastern Ontario
  • South-western Ontario

If you are interested in being one of the OAHN representatives, please email Dr. Melanie Barham at by June 30th, 2015. Please include your name, practice name and role in the practice, breakdown of what industry sectors you work with and what type of practice you work in (e.g., 20% referral surgical, 50% emergency, 10% shelter, 20% primary care) and a brief statement of interest/intent.

Responsibilities of veterinarians:

  • be a companion animal veterinarian in private practice in Ontario
  • be willing to attend quarterly teleconference calls (approximately 1 hour of prep prior to calls, 1-2 hours per call, and 1 hours of review post-meeting).  Calls discuss veterinary surveys, laboratory data and discuss topics such as emergency preparedness, welfare issues and disease diagnosis/treatment.
  • participate in emergency calls in the event of an outbreak to help with risk assessment etc.
  • maintain confidentiality at all times
  • attend 1 in person meeting per year
  • represent your sector/region and provide local context
  • be willing to encourage other colleagues to participate in the program
  • have some technological knowledge as teleconference and videoconferencing will be employed

Veterinarians will be paid an hourly rate for their time.

Current representatives/experts include: Dr. Scott Weese DACVIM (OVC), Dr. Maureen Anderson DACVIM (OMAFRA), Dr. Marg Stalker (AHL), Dr. Shauna Blois, DACVIM (OVC), Dr. Alice Defarges DACVIM (OVC)

Additional information about the Ontario Animal Health Network:  

There is a new, exciting network to monitor disease for small animals and we need your participation!

The Animal Health Lab, together with OMAFRA and the University of Guelph, has started the Ontario Animal Health Network (OAHN).  We want to identify new diseases/outbreaks quickly, and manage ongoing diseases effectively.

Each species group has its own “Expert Network”, comprised of a specialist from AHL, OMAFRA and OVC, and private practitioners.  The private practitioners involved in the Expert Network are compensated for their time.

The companion animal network is going to be established in the next month, and we want your help and input!

How it works:

Strict confidentiality is maintained on ALL information collected and issues reported/discussed.

Survey: A very quick and easy online survey will be distributed quarterly for all companion animal vets to complete, asking about frequency of clinical disease you see in practice.

Lab Data: a report of commonly seen diseases in horses will be gathered from AHL based on lab submissions and diagnosis. We will also be seeking data from private laboratories.

Meetings: the Expert Network meet quarterly to briefly discuss the lab data and clinical impressions and what it means for the industry.  The focus is on identifying trends (e.g., lyme, lepto, bordatella trends) and actions that need to be taken (CE topics, extension activities etc).

Reports: Practitioners will get a summary report following the meeting (must provide email on survey, or sign up here).

Inter-species discussion: Discussions will occur amongst species Expert Networks, focusing on cross-species issues, sharing ideas and taking action.

Real-Time reporting: The OAHN, together with existing channels such as OMAFRA, is a direct line to report new disease outbreaks, tackle relevant health concerns for the industry and get help if needed.