At that time, Saskatchewan was divided into veterinary service districts whose costs were subsidized by the provincial and municipal governments. The Saskatoon area included four districts with services provided by the Saskatoon Animal Hospital, which was owned by Drs. Gavin Hamilton and Fred Clark.
As members of the Saskatchewan Veterinary Medical Association's board, Hamilton and Clark had helped to attract the veterinary college to Saskatoon, so they agreed to sell their practice to the WCVM.
On May 1, 1965, Hamilton and Clark along with Dr. Giesla Sear, joined the WCVM's clinical staff, and the college officially began its veterinary practice. The Saskatoon Animal Hospital served small animal patients while Radostits worked with Dr. Bob Clugston to provide large animal services out of the Veterinary Hygiene Building. In 1968 both clinics moved to the WCVM's newly constructed teaching hospital where veterinary students completed rotations in medicine, surgery, anesthesia, radiology and other clinical areas.
In the early days, large animal clinical services primarily involved field service, but during the 1970s, more people brought their animals to the clinics where veterinarians could use advanced diagnostic and therapeutic tools. The need for small animal services also grew as attitudes changed and families increasingly sought treatment for their pets.
By 1979, the WCVM Department of Veterinary Clinical Studies had grown to include 30 faculty members and 50 support staff. To meet growing demands, the teaching hospital was enlarged during the college's second-phase expansion that was completed in 1981.
Today the WCVM Veterinary Medical Centre (VMC) is a state-of-the-art facility that serves as a referral centre for veterinarians across Western Canada, providing emergency and critical care plus primary and specialized clinical services.
With files from WCVM: The First Decade and More by Christopher H. Bigland. Visit www.usask.ca/wcvm/fifty-years