How to make your veterinary hospital special


Every practice has exam rooms, reception and a treatment area. But what other spaces can you dream up to serve your clients and patients better?

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You'd be hard-pressed to find a veterinary hospital today without at least one type of specialty room. Whether it's a space devoted to radiology or a private consultation room that doubles as a comfort room, when you're remodeling or building new, remember that you can choose how each square foot of your hospital caters to your team and your clients.

“Our veterinary clients typically have more on their wish list than their budgets will allow. This is why we recommend creating the specialty spaces that are most important to the practice,” says Heather Lewis, AIA, partner at Animal Arts in Boulder, Colo.

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Woodhaven Veterinary Hospital in Edmonds, Wash., has a large consultation exam room, which is equipped and often used for patient rehabilitation, among other things. Practice owner Dr. Ann Brudvik says the design plan started with the need for a comfort room, until she later realized that this room needed to be utilized for multiple purposes to be most effective.

“This requires our staff to be aware of how to schedule euthanasias, consultations, surgical discharge appointments and rehabilitation appointments so that they do not overlap,” says Dr. Brudvik. “It can be difficult in the design process to anticipate all the ways in which a space will be utilized. We are fortunate to have the flexibility this multipurpose room provides us.”

The multipurpose consultation room at Woodhaven Veterinary Hospital, being used here for canine rehabilitation, features a separate entry and exit out to a landscaped exterior nook with flower boxes that leads clients to the parking lot. This is especially helpful when used as a comfort room, so bereaved clients don't have to pass back through the hospital to exit.

Tim Murphy, Foto Imagery Ltd.

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Meanwhile, BelaCoop Animal Hospital of North Park in Gibsonia, Pa., has the luxury of using its comfort room only for clients going through a hard time with their pets. Its private entrance and exit leads outside to a calming patio with a bench, fountain and decorative statues. From here, clients can sit, rest and reflect or leave the clinic with privacy.


The comfort room at BelaCoop Animal Hospital features a comfortable mini sofa, flowers, artwork and a flip-down exam table. Lighting is dimmable to promote a sense of relaxation. “Clients have made the specific remark that having this comfort room has made the process of euthanasia easier to handle,” says Dr. Strahsmeier-Stoller.

Nicole Begley Photography

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“Clients really appreciate the fact that it is so private, but also the fact that we thought to have this room for their comfort,” says practice owner Dr. Katti Strahsmeier-Stoller. “No other practice in our area has a comfort room just like ours, so this makes us stand out."

Patio outside the BelaCoop Animal Hospital comfort room, which includes a water fountain, bench, angels and St. Francis statues.

Nicole Begley Photography

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Oswego Animal Hospital in Oswego, Ill., features a second-floor dog training and obedience classroom with windows overlooking the lobby and outside the clinic. If things between a family and a pet just “aren't working out,” the practice offers obedience training on site. This way, pets can learn new behaviors and clients are much more likely to keep their pet rather than relinquish it.

Brian Fritz Architectural Photography

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