A new $1.5-million gift to the University of Guelph will allow the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) to provide companion animals with an unprecedented level of care before and after surgery.

The donation from the Angel Gabriel Foundation will go to support OVC Pet Trust’s Friends Together for Longer fundraising campaign, which launched late last year. Specifically, it will help create a sophisticated anesthesia and pain management unit within OVC’s Health Sciences Centre.

“This generous gift will have far-reaching impacts for both pets and pet owners,” said Jeff Wichtel, OVC dean.

“The new facilities will help raise the standard of care for pet comfort and safety, with the most advanced anesthesia and medical technology available.  It also means our students – the veterinarians of the future — will leave here equipped with the latest knowledge and techniques to help pets live better, healthier lives.”

Artistic rendering of OVC’s new anesthesia facility

This is the most recent gift from Stu and Kim Lang’s Angel Gabriel Foundation. The Langs are longtime supporters of OVC and the University, and have contributed to many projects and initiatives over the years.

In 2012, their foundation donated $1.5 million to equip OVC’s Mona Campbell Centre for Animal Cancer with a linear accelerator. The only one of its kind in veterinary use in Canada, it allows OVC to offer state-of-the-art radiation cancer therapy to its patients.

“We are thrilled to support the excellent work being done at the Ontario Veterinary College,” Kim Lang said. She is a longtime board member of Pet Trust, Canada’s first charitable fund dedicated to improving the health and well-being of companion animals, and was recently named chair of its marketing committee.

“We are so pleased to be supporting this important project that will help pets return home faster to their families after complicated surgeries, while advancing veterinary education,” she said.

The Anesthesia and Pain Management Unit will be named in recognition of this gift.

It will offer much-needed space for modern equipment and specialist teams to provide advanced surgery preparation, administration of anesthesia and pain medications as well as post-operative monitoring and care, which can be vital for pets at higher risk of developing complications.

OVC treats more than 2,000 dogs, cats and other pets each year. About 90 per cent suffer from serious illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, liver failure or orthopedic issues, and 50 per cent require surgery or minimally invasive procedures.

Nearly 75 per cent of OVC’s companion animal patients undergo anesthesia, as the majority of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures require the pet to be sedated or anesthetized for their own safety, comfort and stress relief.

“Pet owners are referred to us by their veterinarians for advanced diagnostic and surgical procedures for their pets that are not readily available elsewhere,” Wichtel said.

“High skilled, specialized and compassionate care is our hallmark.”