Athens, Ga. - The University of Georgia Veterinary Teaching Hospital saw its first appointments today at its new location, 2200 College Station Road.
Minnie, a 10-year-old yellow Labrador retriever, came to the hospital's rehabilitation service to use one of the brand-new underwater treadmills. She has been a patient of the hospital since January and uses the treadmill to help maintain her mobility and decrease pain caused by chronic osteoarthritis in her knees.
"The new facility is great," said Minnie's owner, John Gittleman, dean of the UGA Odum School of Ecology. "It is bigger, brighter and is a much more comfortable environment for people and animals."
He added that he is also excited for the veterinary students, who will benefit from the advanced technologies featured in the new building. "When you learn from the best, you can then deliver the best care wherever you go. It is a win, win, win."
The hospital is part of the new UGA Veterinary Medical Center, which also includes an education building for teaching veterinary students. The center encompasses just over 300,000 square feet and was built to enable the College of Veterinary Medicine to better meet its students' educational needs and its current and future patient care demands.
"We have been working toward this day for a long time," said Sheila W. Allen, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine. "We are so thankful to UGA, the board of regents, Govs. Perdue and Deal, the state legislature, the Georgia taxpayers and our donors for their support of this project. Veterinary medical education in Georgia will be well-served through these new facilities for many years to come."
The previous hospital, which opened in 1979, handled more than 24,500 visits per year in one of the smallest veterinary teaching hospitals in the U.S. Now, the hospital will operate out of a building more than double the size of the old facility and outfitted with top-of-the-line equipment and improved functionality.
"This facility will allow the college to be on more equal footing with peer veterinary hospitals in the Southeast and across the country," Hospital Director Gary Baxter said. "This was an essential step to be able to attract the highest-caliber faculty, staff, interns, residents and students to the University of Georgia and to further improve clinical teaching, client service and patient care within the hospital."
Other features of the new hospital include a flexible design to meet current needs and allow for expansion; separate emergency entrances for large and small animals; numerous teaching and collaboration spaces; expanded diagnostic imaging capabilities; and radiation therapy for all animal species.
The Veterinary Education Center, which is part of the Veterinary Medical Center campus, features a 160-seat auditorium, an 80-seat technology-enabled active learning classroom and two smaller classrooms for teaching veterinary students.
"Providing advanced animal healthcare for large and small animals while training the next generation of veterinarians is the hallmark of our program," Baxter said. "Our new hospital and education center will allow us to continue this tradition of excellence."
The Veterinary Medical Center was designed by Perkins+Will and built by Turner Construction Co. To learn more, see www.vet.uga.edu/vmc.
Third- and fourth-year veterinary students are now located at the new facilities along with all clinical faculty and staff. All other faculty, staff and students remain at the main college's campus, located on D.W. Brooks Drive.
The UGA Community Practice Clinic, which offers wellness services—vaccinations, dentistry, wellness exams and other services—to small companion animals, also remains at its current location on the main college campus.
UGA Veterinary Teaching Hospital
The UGA Veterinary Teaching Hospital treats more than 24,500 small and large animals each year and offers 25-plus specialty services, including a 24-hour emergency service. It is part of the College of Veterinary Medicine, which was founded in 1946. A leader in veterinary medical education, the college is dedicated to producing the best veterinarians in the country. Taught by world-class faculty, every graduate is prepared to promote animal health and welfare, combat emerging infectious diseases, advance safe and sustainable food animal production and conduct research to enhance the lives of people and animals. For more information, see www.vet.uga.edu/hospital.