UF plans veterinary hospital at WEC

The statue of horse Staff Sergeant Reckless is shown as people gather for a VIP sneak peek of the new World Equestrian Center in Ocala, Fla. on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette] 2020.

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Posted September 10, 2021 | Ocala Gazette Staff

The statue of horse Staff Sergeant Reckless is shown as people gather for a VIP sneak peek of the new World Equestrian Center in Ocala in this December 2020 file photo. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette]

The University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine hopes to open a 40,000-square-foot veterinarian hospital at the Ocala’s World Equestrian Center by spring.

Construction of the facility has already started, according to a WEC press release.

“We are thrilled to be able to support the World Equestrian Center and its many animal-owning visitors by providing access to the broad array of expertise in diagnostic and patient care offered by UF veterinary specialists working across a variety of disciplines,” said the college’s dean, Dana Zimmel in a prepared statement.

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 as well, with a goal of expanding specialty services for both horses and small animals in time, according to the release.

“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.

While the focus of the new hospital is patient care, future plans may include advanced studies into equine performance horses as well as pleasure horses. The facility will not include UF veterinary students initially, but that can also change 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.

WEC which officially opened in late 2020, features climate-controlled arenas,  competition stadiums, shopping and a hotel. The facility hopes to be the centerpiece of an expansive upscale community.

The UF College of Veterinary Medicine is one of the top veterinary medical colleges in the country and its main campus is in Gainesville.


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