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OVC gets huge gift for pet care

$1.5 million from Angel Gabriel Foundation part of $9 million overhaul.

The money continues to pour into the Ontario Veterinary College’s Health Sciences Centre from Stu and Kim Lang’s Angel Gabriel Foundation.

The philanthropic couple has given another $1.5 million to assist OVC to provide better, more advanced care for pets, or companion animals. The funds will go to the OVC Pet Trust’s “Friends Together for Longer” fundraising campaign, which launched last October.

The campaign seeks to raise $9 million for extensive renovations to the interior of the Health Sciences Centre, of which $6.5 million has already been committed.

The Angel Gabriel Foundation money is earmarked for the renovation of space and the installation of cutting edge anesthesia and medical technology in the centre – space and equipment that will allow better care for pets, and better instruction for future veterinarians.

The centre be will be dramatically renovated and modernized inside, with larger, more open spaces that can accommodate the more sophisticated equipment, dean of OVC, Jeffrey Wichtel said in an interview Thursday.

In recognition of the gift, the new anesthesia and pain management unit will be named in honour of the Langs.

 In 2012, the Langs also contributed $1.5 million to purchase a linear accelerator used to treat animal cancer.

Wichtel said significant new anesthesia, surgical and diagnostic imaging equipment will eventually be placed in the hospital.

“That will bring us right up, not only to current standards, but to be a leader in the field,” he said. “There won’t be a facility like this anywhere in Ontario.”

Wichtel said OVC’s Health Sciences Centre has multiple mandates. Most animal cases that come into the centre, and certainly all of those that come in to the new anesthesia and pain management unit, will be animals that have been seen by a local veterinarian, and diagnosed to require a level of care not available at a typical local practice.

“We serve, in that respect, the animals themselves, their owners, and also the surrounding veterinarians,” Wichtel said. “And we would have cases coming from every part of Ontario, other parts of Canada, and internationally, as well.”

The centre is a leading instructional institution that has made advances in veterinarian medicine for a great many years. It trains specialists that ultimately practice elsewhere in Canada and around the world.  

“We are thrilled to support the excellent work being done at the Ontario Veterinary College,” Kim Lang said in a press release. “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.”

Lang is a longtime board member of Pet Trust, Canada’s first charitable fund dedicated to improving the health and well-being of companion animals.

Generous private gifts help advance the work of OVC, Wichtel added. Traditionally it has been difficult to garner funding for companion animal medicine and research. Funding from granting agencies more typically favours human medicine, and the health of animals that have an economic benefit, like food animals.