New pet emergency clinic to open in Ocala

Dr. Dion Osborne in clinic
Dr. Dion Osborne is shown in the new pet emergency clinic now under construction in Ocala.

In an effort to provide Marion County-area pet owners with access to after-hour veterinary care services, the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine has teamed up with a group of local veterinarians to build a new, state-of-the-art pet emergency clinic, scheduled to open July 2.

Construction is currently under way at the 5,000-square-foot facility, located at 3200 SW 27th Ave., near the Paddock Mall. The new clinic will provide basic to advanced emergency care between 5 p.m. and 8 a.m. during the week, and around the clock on weekends and holidays, bridging the gap during time periods when veterinarians’ offices are typically closed.

“We were approached by a group of Marion County-area veterinarians who recognized that the lack of an after-hours emergency veterinary care in Ocala was a critical need in their community,” said Dean Glen Hoffsis, dean of the college. “We came up with a solution that should be a win-win for everyone, most of all the pets that need this type of care.”

The clinic will be staffed by small animal emergency and critical care clinicians, with additional support personnel. The staff will rotate shifts in Ocala while continuing to provide services at the UF Small Animal Hospital in Gainesville.

“We are pleased to be able to serve as a resource to these Marion County and surrounding-area veterinarians, who will have our phone number on their answering machines after hours and who will let their clients know that we are here to help them when their pets have emergency needs that they are unable to meet,” said Dr. Dana Zimmel, chief of staff of the UF Veterinary Hospitals.

“We are hopeful that the existence of the new clinic means we will be able to help lead these pet owners to local veterinarians to develop an ongoing relationship that will ultimately mean better long-term health for the animals,” Zimmel said.

Dr. Dion Osborne, an Ocala veterinarian and a graduate of the UF veterinary college, worked with practitioners in his area to create the Pet Emergency Treatment Service corporation for the purpose of creating a new emergency clinic. Soon after, talks with UF began in an effort to determine how the two groups might work together to better serve pet owners in the Marion County region.

“We’re all proud of this new relationship, which represents a meaningful collaboration among Ocala-area veterinarians as well as with the University of Florida,” Osborne said. “This is a wonderful opportunity for all of us to provide even better service to our clients. At this time we have 21 veterinary practices that have committed to participate in this endeavor, and many more have agreed to refer their patients to the new emergency clinic when needed.”

A public grand opening event will be held at the new clinic from noon to 2 p.m. on June 30. The clinic’s phone number will be 352-512-0886. For more information about the clinic, visit