UF Hospital Earns Top Emergency Certification

The University of Florida joins the University of Pennsylvania in having Level 1 veterinary emergency and critical care hospitals.

The University of Florida Small Animal Hospital has become the state’s only VECCS-certified Level 1 veterinary emergency and critical care facility.

Thirteen hospitals nationwide have received the highest-possible designation from the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society (VECCS). The only other on-campus Level 1 facility is Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania.

The honor, which UF announced Feb. 16, was well-deserved, said Carsten Bandt, DVM, Dipl. ACVECC, chief of the Small Animal Hospital’s emergency and critical care service.

“We achieved this certification due to our capabilities and high standards of our emergency and critical care facility,” Dr. Bandt said.

San Antonio-based VECCS mandates that Level 1 hospitals be open around the clock, meet strict staffing and equipment standards, and employ full time at least one American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care diplomate.

The Florida hospital has six of the board-certified specialists, who see cases ranging from trauma and acute kidney disease to lacerations and exposure to toxins, according to the university.

More than 4,000 small animal patients are brought to the hospital each year, said Dana Zimmel, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM, Dipl. ABVP.

“In collaboration with our surgery service, our hospital can provide emergency neurosurgery and general surgery, as well as reproductive, ophthalmic and orthopedic surgery,” said Dr. Zimmel, the chief of staff of UF Veterinary Hospitals.

The state’s only other VECCS-certified hospital is Sarasota Veterinary Emergency Hospital, which holds Level 2 designation.

Just 28 hospitals nationwide are VECCS-certified, according to the organization’s website. A university-affiliated referral hospital, Cornell University Veterinary Specialists in Stamford, Conn., holds Level 1 standing.

The American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care manages a similar certification program.

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