Huge new equine vet hospital under construction in Florida

An architect's rendering of the new UF Veterinary Hospital at Ocala's World Equestrian Center.
An architect’s rendering of the new UF Veterinary Hospital at Ocala’s World Equestrian Center. © WEC

A new veterinary hospital covering nearly an acre is to be built at Ocala’s World Equestrian Center in a new alliance with the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine.

Construction of the 40,000-square-foot hospital facility is under way, with opening scheduled for next spring. It will be  known as the UF Veterinary Hospital at WEC.

Equine services available at the new facility will focus on sports medicine, diagnostic imaging, rehabilitation and after-hours urgent care. Small animals will be able to receive urgent care and primary care, with a goal of expanding specialty services for both horses and small animals.

College dean Dana Zimmel, D.V.M said UF veterinary specialists at the new clinic would provide a broad array of expertise in diagnostic and patient care.

“Animals in need of veterinary care while at the center will be able to efficiently obtain the best possible care at onsite hospital facilities designed to accommodate a variety of patient needs,” Zimmel said.

UF veterinarians serving the new facility will work closely with local veterinarians as needed to ensure optimal collaboration and continuity of care.

Although the focus of the new hospital is patient care, knowledge gained by working with equine performance horses may lead to advanced studies that result in improved clinical outcomes for all horses, Zimmel said.

Although UF veterinary students will not initially be performing clinical rotations at the new facility, Zimmel said she envisions this will happen in time. “We recognize what a great experience exposure to the UF Veterinary Hospital at WEC would be for students, particularly those who are equine-oriented,” she said.

UF veterinarians will serve both the equine component and the small animal arm of the operation, and hiring will commence this fall for additional veterinarians and support staff.

World Equestrian Center operates two premier equestrian and multidisciplinary venues in Ocala, Florida, and Wilmington, Ohio. It recently acquired the Ocala Jockey Club, a 950-acre facility that hosts an international CCI4* long-format three-day-event each November.

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