New emergency clinic now open in Ocala

By Sarah Carey

Drs. Luiz Bolfer, Carsten Bandt and Gareth Buckley.
Drs. Luiz Bolfer, Carsten Bandt and Gareth Buckley stand at the “CPR station” near an emergency crash cart just prior to the public sneak preview of the new UF Pet Emergency Treatment Services after-hours emergency clinic.

A new after-hours University of Florida pet emergency clinic in Ocala is officially open for business, giving pet owners access to urgent care during time periods when veterinarians’ offices are typically closed.

The UF College of Veterinary Medicine teamed with a group of Ocala veterinarians to establish UF Pet Emergency Treatment Services, a 5,000-square-foot clinic located near the Paddock Mall at 3200 SW 27th Ave.

The clinic provides basic to advanced emergency care between 5 p.m. and 8 a.m. during the week and is open around the clock on weekends and holidays. UF small animal emergency and critical care clinicians staff the clinic, with the help of additional support personnel. The staff will rotate shifts in Ocala while continuing to provide services at the UF Small Animal Hospital in Gainesville.

“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,” said Dr. Dion Osborne, an Ocala veterinarian and graduate of the UF College of Veterinary Medicine. “This is a wonderful opportunity for all of us to provide even better service to our clients.”

Osborne and other veterinarians in Ocala formed the Pet Emergency Treatment Service corporation in XXXX with the goal of creating a new emergency clinic in Marion County. Soon after, the group began working with UF leaders to find a way to better serve pet owners in the Marion County region.

An official ribbon-cutting and open house was held June 30, giving the hundreds of people who attended a chance to glimpse the new clinic. During the event, Ocala Mayor Kent Guinn said he was extremely pleased to have the new “state of the art” clinic in his community.

“The location is so convenient. From town, you just turn on 31st Street to 27th Avenue and you’re there,” he said. “People will be able to easily get there from just about anyplace. And from an economic development standpoint, it’s important to have 20 new employees in the area.”

When the doors opened at noon for the public event, people poured into the doorways, touring the new facility, visiting with the UF and Marion County-area veterinarians who greeted them and enjoying refreshments on the sunny and hot last day of June.

“All of us were so grateful for the warm welcome we received from Ocala and for the huge turnout we received at this event,” said Dr. Glen Hoffsis, dean of the UF College of Veterinary Medicine. “We are looking forward to serving Ocala and Marion County by providing the very best emergency care possible to the pets in this community and by strengthening our relationships with Ocala practitioners, who have entrusted us to help them meet this need.”