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Privacy Policy

Privacy Policy

Personal Information Protection Policy

At Elgin Animal Hospital, we are committed to providing our clients with exceptional service. As providing this service involves the collection, use and disclosure of some personal information about our clients, protecting their personal information is one of our highest priorities.

While we have always respected our clients’ privacy and safeguarded their personal information, we have strengthened our commitment to protecting personal information as a result of Ontario’s Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA). PHIPA sets out the ground rules for how Ontario businesses and not-for-profit organizations may collect, use and disclose personal information.

We will inform our clients of why and how we collect, use and disclose their personal information, obtain their consent where required, and only handle their personal information in a manner that a reasonable person would consider appropriate in the circumstances.

This Personal Information Protection Policy, in compliance with PHIPA, outlines the principles and practices we will follow in protecting clients’ personal information. Our privacy commitment includes ensuring the accuracy, confidentiality, and security of our clients’ personal information and allowing our clients to request access to, and correction of, their personal information.

Definitions

Personal Information –means information about an identifiable individual (examples: name, address, phone number). Personal information does not include contact information (described below).
Contact information – means information that would enable an individual to be contacted at a place of business and includes name, position name or title, business telephone number, business address, business email or business fax number. Contact information is not covered by this policy or PHIPA.

Privacy Officer – means the individual designated responsibility for ensuring that Elgin Animal Hospital, complies with this policy and PHIPA.

Policy 1 – Collecting Personal Information
1.1 Unless the purposes for collecting personal information are obvious and the client voluntarily provides his or her personal information for those purposes, we will communicate the purposes for which personal information is being collected, either orally or in writing, before or at the time of collection.
1.2 We will only collect client information that is necessary to fulfill the following purposes:
· To verify an identity
· To identify client preferences
· To manage client accounts
· To provide veterinary products
· To provide veterinary services
· To send out reminders of services
· To meet our veterinary medical association’s regulatory requirements
· To ensure a high standard of service to our clients

Policy 2 – Consent
2.1 We will obtain client consent to collect, use or disclose personal information (except where, as noted below, we are authorized to do so without consent).
2.2 Consent can be provided (orally, in writing, electronically or through an authorized representative) or it can be implied where the purpose for collecting using or disclosing the personal information would be considered obvious and the client voluntarily provides personal information for that purpose.
2.3 Consent may also be implied where a client is given notice and a reasonable opportunity to opt-out of his or her personal information being used for mail-outs and the client does not opt-out.
2.4 Subject to certain exceptions (e.g., the personal information is necessary to provide the service or product, or the withdrawal of consent would frustrate the performance of a legal obligation) clients can withhold or withdraw their consent for Elgin Animal Hospital, to use their personal information in certain ways. A client’s decision to withhold or withdraw their consent to certain uses of personal information may restrict our ability to provide a particular service or product. If so, we will explain the situation to assist the client in making the decision.
2.5 We may collect, use or disclose personal information without the client’s knowledge or consent in the following limited circumstances:
· When the use of personal information is permitted or required by law
· When the personal information is available from a public source (e.g. at telephone directory)
· When we require legal advice from a lawyer or regulatory association
· For the purpose of collecting a debt
· To protect ourselves from fraud

Policy 3 – Using and Disclosing Personal Information
3.1 We will only use or disclose client personal information where necessary to fulfill the purposes identified at the time of collection or for the purpose reasonably related to purposes such as:
· To conduct client surveys in order to enhance the provision of our services
· To contact our clients about products or services that may benefit their pets
· To contact our clients in the event of a medical alert concerning their pet
3.2 We will not use or disclose client personal information for any additional purpose unless we obtain consent to do so.
3.3 We will not sell client lists or personal information to other parties.

Policy 4 – Retaining Personal Information
4.1 If we use client personal information to make a decision that directly affects the client, we will retain that personal information for at least one year so that the client has a reasonable opportunity to request access to it.
4.2 Subject to policy 4.1, we will retain client personal information only as long as necessary to fulfill the identified purposes or a legal or business purpose.

Policy 5 – Ensuring Accuracy of Personal Information
5.1 We will make reasonable efforts to ensure that client personal information is accurate and complete where it may be used to make a decision about the client or disclosed to another organization.
5.2 Clients may request correction to their personal information in order to ensure its accuracy and completeness. A request to correct personal information must be made in writing and provide sufficient detail to identify the personal information and the correction being sought.
5.3 If the personal information is demonstrated to be inaccurate or incomplete, we will correct the information as required and send the corrected information to any organization to which we disclosed the personal information in the previous year. If the correction is not made, we will note the clients’ correction request in the file.

Policy 6 – Securing Personal Information
6.1 We are committed to ensuring the security of client personal information in order to protect it from unauthorized access, collection, use, disclosure, copying, modification or disposal or similar risks.
6.2 The following security measures will be followed to ensure that client personal information is appropriately protected:
· Client/patient files are kept in a secure location
· Client files on computers are kept safe with passwords and firewalls are monitored daily
6.3 We will use appropriate security measures when destroying client’s personal information such as shredding documents and deleting electronically stored information.
6.4 We will continually review and update our security policies and controls as technology changes to ensure ongoing personal information security.

Policy 7 – Providing Clients Access to Personal Information
7.1 Clients have a right to access their personal information, subject to limited exceptions (examples include: solicitor-client privilege or health and safety concerns)
7.2 A request to access personal information must be made in writing and provide sufficient detail to identify the personal information being sought.
7.3 Upon request, we will also tell clients how we use their personal information and to whom it has been disclosed if applicable.
7.4 We will make the requested information available within 30 business days, or provide written notice of an extension where additional time is required to fulfill the request.
7.5 A minimal fee may be charged for providing access to personal information. Where a fee may apply, we will inform the client of the cost and request further direction from the client on whether or not we should proceed with the request.
7.6 If a request is refused in full or in part, we will notify the client in writing, providing the reasons for refusal and the recourse available to the client.

Policy 8 – Questions and Complaints: The Role of the Privacy Officer or designated individual
8.1 The Privacy Officer or Practice Manager is responsible for ensuring Elgin Animal Hospital, compliance with this policy and the Personal Information Protection Act.
8.2 Clients should direct any complaints, concerns or questions regarding Elgin Animal Hospital, compliance in writing to the Privacy Officer. If the Privacy Officer is unable to resolve the concern, the client may also write to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario.

Contact information for Elgin Animal Hospital Privacy or Officer Practice Manager:

9789 Sunset Road
St. Thomas, Ontario
N5P 3T7

Blog

Veterinary Diets vs Store Bought Diets

Exactly why is Vet food so much more money? And why would I spend that when I can get the same food at the grocery store? Am I getting ripped off?! At $60+ a bag, yes, you would think that you might be getting taken to the cleaners on dog or cat food. Let me de-mystify the cost versus quality question. What you might not realize is that there are some very key differences between the food you buy at your veterinarians vs the foods you buy at the grocery or pet stores. We don’t sell theirs, and they CAN’T  sell ours for some key reasons. Veterinary food is formulated to treat a specific condition; think of it as medicine. Typically, a veterinarian would need to prescribe this nutrition for the treatment of a specific disease or condition. Hence the brand “Prescription Diet”. Store-bought brands are for wellness and prevention, NOT treatment - this is a very important distinction! So, now we’ve established that veterinary food is to aid a specific condition and that it’s prescribed by a Veterinary Doctor, I can tell you more about what makes prescription diets unique. Why are prescription diets different? Let’s take a look at urinary health foods. I’ll use Hills C/D vs Hills Science Diet urinary for example. C/D you can only purchase at your veterinarian's office, while Science Diet Urinary is available at pet stores. Both are Hills ( a name and brand we trust ). Let me start by saying that they both have similar properties in terms of ingredients, but here’s the difference - Hill’s Science Diet Urinary is for wellness and prevention of calcium oxalate and struvite crystals. Keywords are wellness and prevention. It doesn’t claim anything more than that. Hills C/D, however, treats crystals and also treats cystitis (inflammation of the urinary system).  It does this by being more tailored with pH, and minerals, as well as controlling the minimum amounts of all ingredients more. How would you use this information? Well, let’s say you have a kitty that’s male and getting up in years,  and also might be a few pounds overweight. We know that many male cats develop some type of urinary issues, especially if they carry some excess pounds. In this case, by using a urinary diet that is formulated for prevention and wellness, you can get ahead of the game. Once Fluffy is in the realm of blockage or crystals are diagnosed, this food is no longer useful. Here is a great example of where C/D is prescribed for treatment. Another difference between veterinary vs store-bought brands is that unless it’s veterinary food, there are NO STUDIES done that show treatment results (ie no studies prove that Science Diet Urinary  dissolves crystals. Same goes for Perfect Weight vs Metabolic.) There aren’t any studies that show that Perfect Weight food actually causes Fluffy to lose weight. Sure, it’s a more controlled calorie diet, but it’s not for obesity. That’s where a prescription diet is recommended. It is, however, great for preventing obesity or for slightly overweight pets with no other health issues. The difference in AAFCO Statement - why does it matter? An AAFCO statement should be on every bag of pet food. It stands for The Association of American Feed Control Officials. All foods that are made in the USA but sold here in Canada must have this statement. The statement shows that a particular food has nutrients that fall  “within the range” for a certain life stage be it adult, growth, pregnancy, and lactating. This range can be quite large, and your bag will show the MINIMUM amount. Now going back to veterinary vs store-bought food, one thing that your Veterinary diet will always have is an AAFCO statement. With that statement it will also say “Formulated and Trialled”; pet store food will likely only say “Formulated”. That means that not only are veterinary foods formulated to maintain a minimum amount of nutrients for specific life stages, but it also states that that diet has been trialled on a group of pets to prove that the diet maintains optimum health for that particular life stage. These trials would include things like weight, urine samples and blood samples, to be sure that there is optimal health achieved or maintained. If your pet store food only says “Formulated'', that means no actual trials on real dogs/cats have been conducted. Guaranteed Analysis - Why minimums and maximums matter The guaranteed analysis is a confusing one. What I can tell you is to always look at the nutrient on a dry matter basis; this is the best way to actually compare foods. It will tell you the minimums and maximums, but not the absolute values. Why do you care? Because Prescription diets will follow a  specific recipe with NO deviations from it.  *Side note: that is why sometimes diets go on backorder. The companies that make veterinary food are extremely specific to their ingredients and will not stray just to make a diet. Store food brands also use minimums and maximums, however, the actual recipe will change from batch to batch. For example, if the protein minimum is 36% on one bag of food and the protein comes from chicken, the next batch could be 47% protein and the source may be from a different “bird”. The issue arises when Fluffy has renal issues caused by excess protein, however, your bag only tells you a minimum value. You would never know if the last 4 bags were made with a larger protein content. I’ve seen this issue with dogs with allergies. They do well on a “salmon” based food for a month, and then the next month break out in an itchy rash. After a little digging, we find it ends up being that the bag of food ran out and the owners have started the next one. This is the reality when feeding brands that are not regulated by recipes. Always consult your veterinarian about any diet-related concerns That is a lot of information! It’s always best to consult your veterinarian for any food changes or diet-related concerns.  Veterinary food is meant for a specific purpose - for the treatment of a health concern. Store-bought food is made for wellness and prevention. There are very key differences between the two, and one cannot be exchanged for the other.  Besides looking at the type of food, remember to look at the labels. Check to see if it is AAFCO  regulated, check whether it’s been “Formulated” or “Formulated and Trialled”, and always compare using dry matter. Remember that the minimums are important as is the use of an actual repeated recipe. If in doubt, call! Every bag should have a contact number to reach the company with concerns and questions. Written by: Tania Admans, RVT, Nutritional Advisor and Advocate

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Last updated: June 21, 2022.

Dear Clients,

To ensure all of our patients and clients get the best care possible, please let us know if you cannot make the appointment. All no-shows will be recorded and clients with multiple no-shows may be asked for a deposit before making future appointments. We understand that unforeseen circumstances and emergencies arise. A simple phone call before your scheduled appointment is all that is required - 24 hours notice preferred. This will allow us to offer that spot to a pet in need.

- Your dedicated team at Elgin Animal Hospital