Tips and FAQs

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a veterinary specialist?

A veterinary specialist is a veterinarian who after completing a four or 5-year veterinary degree program has also completed 3+ years of additional rigorous clinical training and education in a certain area of veterinary medicine. After meeting specific training requirements and passing written and practical examinations, they are Board Certified as a specialist in their field.

What is a veterinary ophthalmologist?

A board certified veterinary ophthalmologist is a veterinarian who after graduation has completed a comprehensive residency-training program on medical and surgical diagnosis and treatment of eye diseases in animals.

After meeting specific training requirements and passing rigorous written, image recognition and practical examinations, they are Board Certified by the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists as a specialist veterinary ophthalmologist.

There are over 5,000 registered veterinarians in Ontario and only nine board certified veterinary ophthalmologists.

My pet has an eye problem, how do I have them seen at your clinic?

To have your pet evaluated at the clinic by Dr. Whelan, your veterinarian needs to submit a referral detailing their concerns about your pet’s eyes. They can do this online.

Once we receive the referral, Dr. Whelan will review this and we will contact you to arrange a specialist appointment with him.

How do I make an appointment?

We will contact you once we receive the referral from your veterinarian.  If we are not able to reach you directly, we will leave a message with the clinic contact number.  When you call the clinic, we can book your pet’s appointment.

What happens at my pet’s appointment?

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are only allowing pets to come into the clinic.  Please remain in your vehicle when you arrive and call the Animal Eye Clinic number on the parking signs (519-654-2040).

When we are ready to see your pet, one of our friendly staff members will come to your vehicle to pick them up.  Please wear a facemask that covers your nose and mouth.  Have your pet ready with you outside your vehicle when they come to retrieve your pet.

During the appointment, we will call you to collect more information about your pet’s eye problems.  Following the comprehensive eye exam of your pet, Dr. Whelan will explain his findings and recommendations.  After he has written the discharge summarising his findings and recommendations, we will bring your pet, the discharge and any medications back to you in your vehicle.  A copy of the written discharge is sent to your veterinarian.

Can your clinic be my regular veterinary clinic?

Our practice only provides specialty eye services.  We work with your primary veterinarian to help them manage your pet’s health.

Why do I have to prepay for my appointment ahead of time?

When Dr. Whelan first opened up the referral practice, appointments were made with the understanding with owners that they would attend their pet’s prebooked appointment.  Over the last few years, we noticed a trend of some owners not turning up for their appointments and not telling us in advance they would not be attending.  This resulted in valuable specialist appointments being lost.

There are over 5,000 registered veterinarians in Ontario and only nine board certified veterinary ophthalmologists.  Due to the demand, for most cases there is a 4-6 week period before Dr. Whelan can see pet’s for their eye problems.  When booked appointments are not used, the opportunity is lost for other pets to have their eye problems evaluated in a timely manner.

To prevent no-shows and ensure that these appointment times are not wasted, a prepaid appointment system is used.

What is an OFA Eye screening exam?

OFA is private, not for profit organization in the USA founded to promote the health and well-being of companion animals through a reduction in the incidence of genetic disease.

OFA maintains a registry (Canine Animal Eye Registry (CAER)) of eye examinations performed by a board certified (ACVO) Veterinary Ophthalmologist on dogs intended for breeding.  This Registry provides breeders with information on canine eye diseases, the eye health status of animals, and make informed breeding decisions to produce healthier dogs.

Dr. Whelan regularly performs OFA Canine Animal Eye Registry (CAER) certification exams at clinics around Ontario.