By Caitlyn Finnegan
The only veterinary college in the state, and one of just 28 in the nation, the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine boasts some of the most advanced animal treatments and services in the world. People from across the Southeast—and even as far as Alaska—bring their pets to undergo treatments here in Gainesville.
Located on the southern edge of campus, the college’s collection of facilities spans 50 acres of land in total, with an administration building, research center, integrated learning center, support buildings, and two hospitals: the large animal hospital and the recently renovated small animal hospital.
The 100,000-square-foot, three-story small animal facility serves almost 23,000 animals each year. Many find the hospital after being referred by private practice veterinarians, but no referral is needed.
“It’s amazing how many people don’t realize we have the hospital here and that it’s open to the public,” said John Haven, the facilities director for the college. “We can serve as your primary care provider the same as anyone else.”
Patients (and their owners) are welcomed through the Small Animal Hospital’s newly designed entrance and waiting room, located on the north side of the building, leading into private examination rooms and other wings of the hospital. The updated layout includes more treatment rooms, advanced tertiary care facilities and a cancer referral and treatment center that includes a linear accelerator, a machine that targets tumors through beams of radiation. In-house pharmacies help owners fill prescriptions quickly, and there are separate primary and dentistry facilities for regular check-ups.
Besides serving small animals like cats and dogs, the adjoining hospital also handles treatment for large animals, such as cattle and horses, as well as zoo and exotic animals, such as giraffes and pythons.
Each case brought before the hospital’s staff is handled as a team. Representatives are available from more than 17 specialties including oncology, ophthalmology and dermatology. The hospital adds another layer of care through its partnership with the Shands Healthcare Center located across Archer Road. Researchers are able to collaborate and share findings to help find cures for animals and humans alike.
The college is also in the process of renovating its shelter medicine department, which serves to provide care for shelter animals and animal welfare in the community.