skip to content
In This Section arrow_downward arrow_upward

Closing a facility

Steps to mitigate your risks when closing a veterinary facility.

Closing a facility – mitigate your risks 

Veterinarians who are closing their veterinary practice often contact the College for guidance about the measures they should take before they close their doors.  The College also receives calls from clients asking how they can obtain their animal’s medical records because their veterinarian has closed their practice. 

Medical records may be vulnerable to abandonment and loss when a practice closes. The risks include potential privacy breaches and may deprive clients of their right to access their animal’s medical records and disrupt continuity of care. Animals with chronic conditions requiring ongoing medication are one example of a vulnerable group of patients whose health may be put at risk if there are delays in access to their medical records. 

When closing a practice: 

1) Notify the College of the closure as soon as possible, by completing the online Notification of Facility Closure form found in the College’s Professional Practice Portal 

2) Provide clients with at least 90 days’ notice of a planned closure. 

3) Include the following information when notifying clients of the practice closure: 

    • The date of closure; 

    • How to access or request transfer of medical records 

Communicating to clients can be done in several ways: 

  • In writing, letter by mail or secure email 

  • By telephone or in person at a scheduled appointment 

  • Printed notice, posted in the office 

  • A notice posted on practice’s website 

  • Newspaper advertisement 

4) Veterinarians must ensure clients have continued access to their animal’s medical records. Veterinarians are required to retain medical records for two years after the date of closure or they cease to practice veterinary medicine. 

5) Where applicable, veterinarians must notify the Ministry of Labour, Radiation Protection Services for any X-ray machine. 

6) Disposal of all drugs should be appropriately documented 

  • Unopened non-controlled drugs can be returned to the drug wholesaler. 

  • Disposal of expired controlled and non-controlled drugs follow the Professional Practice Standard – Management and Disposal of Controlled Drugs. 

  • Unopened or opened controlled drugs are to be disposed of in an environmentally safe manner. 

  • A veterinarian may not transfer a drug to another veterinarian for resale, unless it is to address a temporary shortage experienced by that other veterinarian. 

  • A veterinarian is not permitted to donate expired drugs to an individual or organization, such as a rescue group.