Overview of Hospital Design

An exam room designed to accommodate floor   exams. (Edmunds Studios, Inc. Courtesy of   Veterinary Village, Lomira, Wisconsin.) Enrichments—such as climbing structures, perches, and toys—in the exam room can help cats acclimate to their surroundings, reducing their stress. (Courtesy of Crijo Pet Products.) An intensive-care area in a room a few short steps off the main treatment area. The separation provides additional sound control but still maintains transparency for care of critical patients. (Foto Imagery / Tim Murphy. Courtesy of Coral Springs Animal Hospital, Coral Springs, Florida.) Large interior windows facilitate visual communication to and from surgery. Surgical packs are stored in the glass-fronted upper cabinets that connect pack/prep to surgery. (Foto Imagery / Tim Murphy. Courtesy of Woodhaven Veterinary Clinic, Edmonds, Washington.) This hospital was designed in the Old Florida style to fit in to its south Florida community. The wraparound porch provides an outdoor waiting area for clients. (Thomas Winter Photography. Courtesy of Morningside Animal Hospital, Port St. Lucie, Florida.) Open spaces allow clients, staff, and pets to connect, providing a more personal experience. (Foto Imagery / Tim Murphy. Courtesy of Upstate Veterinary Specialists, Asheville, North Carolina.) The view into a dry rehabilitation room from client waiting. This level of transparency allows clients to see the high-level of care a practice provides.(Foto Imagery / Tim Murphy. Courtesy of VCA West Los Angeles Animal Hospital, Los Angeles, California [VCA, Inc.].) This fish bowl work station has views into treatment, surgery and a dental suite, allowing the doctors and staff to effectively observe operations and communicate throughout the day. (Courtesy of Callbeck Animal Hospital, Whitby, Ontario.) An open office, with half-height walls to provide acoustical and some visual privacy, helps to facilitate communication between staff. The windows provide ample natural light adding to the open feeling of this office space. (Foto Imagery / Tim Murphy. Courtesy of Woodhaven Veterinary Clinic, Edmonds, Washington.) This hospital purchased more building than they initially needed. The main administrative and staff break areas are located on the second floor with room to add additional medical space to the “shelled” area as the hospital grows. (Courtesy of Coral Springs Animal Hospital, Coral Springs, Florida.) This laboratory microscope station looks out toward the main treatment area allowing the staff to stay more connected. The laboratory is a focal point of the hospital’s medical area. (Edmunds Studios, Inc. Courtesy of Veterinary Village, Lomira, Wisconsin.) A square reception desk in use. This style of desk allows for a complete separation of check-in and check-out functions in the lobby. (Foto Imagery / Tim Murphy. Courtesy of VCA West Los Angeles Animal Hospital, Los Angeles, California [VCA, Inc.].) A floor plan for a feline practice. The front of house in this practice is well separated from the noises created in the treatment area, which helps to reduce stress for the cats in waiting and exam rooms. (Courtesy of Scottsdale Cat Clinic, Scottsdale, Arizona.) Daylight and views to the outdoors can help reduce stress in cats. Further, the caging in this image includes quiet latches and hinges which reduce stress-inducing noise. (Thomas Winter Photography. Courtesy of Morningside Animal Hospital, Port St. Lucie, Florida.) Poured rubber flooring in the treatment room of this equine hospital provides a comfortable and secure surface for horses to stand and walk on. (Foto Imagery / Tim Murphy. Courtesy of Tryon Equine Hospital, Columbus, South Carolina.) The breezeway provides easy access from the barn to the hospital, while protecting staff and horses from inclement weather. (Foto Imagery / Tim Murphy. Courtesy of Tryon Equine Hospital, Columbus, South Carolina.)
Branding and Curb Appeal

Consider creating a purposeful Fear Free outdoor space or room.

  • A comfortable porch for client waiting
  • A tranquil and quiet euthanasia garden
  • An outdoor exam room
  • A butterfly garden outside of cat boarding
  • A space for dogs to play and exercise
  • A “catio”
Feline Hospitals

Few animals experience the extent of stress-induced health issues as domestic cats and reducing stress is the primary challenge when designing a feline hospital. Things that can cause stress in cats include confinement, transport, environmental changes, unfamiliar smells, the presence of other animals, unfamiliar human contact, and a lack of control over their environment.

Not only is it important to produce a positive and stress-free experience for cats visiting or boarding at the facility, but it is equally important to properly manage biological risk for any cat entering the hospital, as cats under stress are more vulnerable to infections.

Due to the unavoidable combination of these factors, nearly all feline patients will arrive at the hospital already highly stressed, which makes the environment at the facility even more critical.