This veterinary team wanted to make their patients feel right at home in their new clinic. But that’s easier said than done when your patients weigh 1,500 pounds. (Yep, they were going to need a bigger barn.)
In the end, Tryon Equine Hospital in Columbus, North Carolina, along with Heather Lewis AIA, NCARB, of Animal Arts, designed a 16,413-square-foot hospital built for, well, a horse. And their efforts landed them a Merit Award in the 2016 Veterinary Economics Hospital Design Competition.
Take home these tips from this equine team to help make your large-animal hospital a huge success.
Treat all patients like winners
Tryon staff is made up of board-certified surgeons, certified acupuncturists, chiropractors, experienced ambulatory veterinarians and a board-certified internist. The team as a whole specializes in treating performance horses. However, they perform the same high-quality veterinary care on all of their patients.
However, one of the team’s top reasons for building the new facility was also to allow better care and more space for clients as well. The new site includes a consultation room, a client observation point and a conference room for private meetings—these are all features that the old clinic was lacking.
“We realize that our patients are valued almost like children by their owners and clients like to understand what’s happening with their horse, often wanting to be involved in every step of the diagnosis and treatment process,” says one of the three owners, Dr. Anne Baskett.
Get in the zone
Spaces for examining and treating large patients need boundaries in the circulation and floor plan to keep all horses and people safe. For example, at Tryon Equine Hospital, there is a human zone that horses never cross and an equine zone dedicated to patient treatment and surgery. These zones never intersect.
“In an equine hospital, it’s critical to provide this clear distinction because horses are huge,” according to Tryon’s Hospital Design Competition entry.
There is a similar separation between staff members and clients. Clients are welcome in the reception area, exam and evaluation areas, and the medical barn.
“Otherwise, circulation is restricted unless the client is specifically escorted by a staff member,” according to the entry. “The plan clearly divides public and private spaces.”
Choose the right site
Tryon Equine Hospital is located among rolling hills and farms—sounds dreamy, right? While it is picturesque, there’s no such thing as a “perfect” site. (The team encountered septic tank and power system issues right off the bat.) This is why it’s ideal to involve a veterinary architect in the site selection process to make sure any major problems are within your budget.
And, when choosing the site, don’t forget to plan ahead. Tryon sits on 16 acres, and the owners think that will provide for today’s needs as well as future growth.
For a full photo tour of this hospital, click here.