The University of Florida’s Small Animal Hospital has been certified as a Level 1 veterinary emergency and critical care facility by the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society, becoming the state’s only facility to hold the designation.
“The Level 1 emergency and critical care certification is the highest level of care a hospital can receive in this certification program,” said Carsten Bandt, D.V.M., chief of the 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.”
The certification program is part of an effort by the group to raise awareness for emergency critical care services and to give the public a way to compare different emergency and critical facilities.
According to the society’s website, a Level 1 emergency and critical care facility is a 24-hour acute care facility with the resources and specialty training necessary to provide sophisticated emergency and critical patient care. Facilities receiving the Level 1 designation are open to receive small animal emergency patients 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
In addition, Level 1 facilities must have at least one diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care — a board-certified specialist who is dedicated to treating life-threatening conditions — employed full time and available for consultation either on-site or by phone 24/7.
The UF Small Animal Hospital’s emergency and critical care service employs six such specialists who manage everything from trauma and acute kidney disease to lacerations and exposure to toxins.
The service treats more than 4,000 small animal patients each year, according to Dana Zimmel, D.V.M., a clinical associate professor of large animal internal medicine and chief of staff of the UF Veterinary Hospitals.
“In collaboration with our surgery service, our hospital can provide emergency neurosurgery and general surgery, as well as reproductive, ophthalmic and orthopedic surgery,” Zimmel said. “We welcome both referral and walk-in emergencies of any kind.”