Guidelines for classifying veterinary facilities

The diverse types of practices, economic conditions, and facility requirements throughout the country preclude development of a single set of specific guidelines applicable to all facilities.  All veterinary practices should consult with their respective state practice act for veterinary facility requirements. The name of a veterinary facility should represent the type of practice conducted. To avoid confusion on the part of the general public and to provide guidelines for consistency in the future designation of veterinary facilities by the veterinary profession, the following suggestions are offered. These guidelines are superseded in states where the practice act regulates the naming of a facility.

Veterinary Teaching Hospital—A veterinary teaching hospital is a facility in which consultative, clinical, and hospital services are rendered and in which a large staff of basic and applied veterinary scientists perform significant research and teach professional veterinary students (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine or equivalent degree) and house officers.

Hospital/Clinic—A veterinary or animal hospital is a facility in which the practice conducted typically or may include in-patient as well as out-patient diagnostics and treatment.

Outpatient Clinic—A veterinary or animal outpatient clinic is a facility in which the practice conducted may include short-term admission of patients but where all patients are discharged at the end of the workday.

Mobile Practice—A mobile practice is a veterinary practice conducted from a vehicle with special medical or surgical facilities, or from a vehicle suitable for making house or farm calls. Regardless of mode of transportation, such practice shall have a permanent base of operations with a published address and telecommunication capabilities for making appointments or responding to emergency situations.

Emergency Facility—A veterinary emergency facility is one with the primary function of receiving, treating, and monitoring of emergency patients during its specified hours of operation. A veterinarian is in attendance at all hours of operation and sufficient staff is available to provide timely and appropriate care. Veterinarians, support staff, instrumentation, medications, and supplies must be sufficient to provide an appropriate level of emergency care. A veterinary emergency service may be an independent, after-hours service; an independent 24-hour service; or part of a full-service hospital.

Specialty Facilities—A specialty facility is a veterinary or animal facility that provides services by board-certified veterinary specialists.

Referral Facilities—A referral facility provides services by those veterinarians with a special interest in certain species or a particular area of veterinary medicine.

Center—The word "Center" in the name of a veterinary or animal facility strongly implies an advanced depth or scope of practice (e.g. Animal Medical Center, Veterinary Imaging Center, Canine Sports Medicine Center).