Is there a difference between clinics, hospitals, medical centers and offices when referring to animal care facilities? Can I take my pet to any of them?

Modified on Mon, 19 Mar 2018 at 03:14 PM

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has provided the guidelines below in an effort to avoid confusion and provide some consistency in the naming of veterinary facilities.  New York State has no official restrictions on practice names, but the NYS Education Department's legal counsel has held that a veterinary "hospital" must have overnight confinement facilities for animals.  (A practice without overnight facilities cannot be called a "hospital," but overnight confinement facilities may also be available through practices called "clinics.")


Animal Medical Center - 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 conduct advanced professional education programs.


Hospital - A facility in which the practice conducted includes confinement of, as well as treatment of, patients.


Clinic - A facility in which the practice conducted is essentially an outpatient type of practice.


Office - A facility where a limited or consultative practice is conducted, which provides no facilities for the housing of patients.


Mobile Facility - A practice conducted from a vehicle having special medical or surgical facilities suitable only for making house or farm calls. Such practice shall have a permanent base of operations with a published address, as well as phone facilities for making appointments or responding to emergency situations.

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