CANR student interns design animal-friendly veterinary clinic

May 26, 2011 under CANR News

For some animals, trips to the vet can be overwhelming. With strange creatures roaming around, the different barks, meows and sounds coming from every angle, new smells and metallic colors, it can quickly add up to sensory overload.

So what can be done to make trips to the vet more enjoyable for pet patients, while at the same time remaining practical to meet the needs of veterinarians? That is the question that three University of Delaware College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) students set out to answer as part of an internship program that had them working on a “21st Century Veterinary Clinic” for Boss Enterprises’ SENSEable Design, a project named for the pets’ five senses as well as using a “sensible” approach to designing an animal clinic.

Nina Pusateri, Chelsea Aloise and Simone Chew-Chin, all seniors in CANR, worked during this past semester to come up with ideas to implement a possible veterinary clinic for the 21st century.

Pusateri said she found that “ordinary clinics look the same: white washed walls, metal cages, stainless steel examining tables, and hardly any windows.”

Sometimes, she explained, animals are scared even before they reach the clinic. But with the 21st century veterinary clinic, she said the “entire design of the hospital is based on making the animal more comfortable at the vet. We managed to do this by manipulating everything from colors on the walls to where certain pieces of equipment are placed within the hospital.”

Aloise explained, “The 21st century veterinary clinic focuses on the pet’s perspective, while addressing the needs of the vet staff and the pet owner.”

The student interns also conducted research on the Internet, handed out surveys and interviewed representatives of top animal hospitals and dog and cat hotels in the country to find out more about the features in their facilities.

Said Aloise, who went on a trip to Connecticut to see a brand new cat hospital and speak with the owner of the facility, “We questioned all the features typically found in an animal hospital. How does the pet respond and is there a better alternative? We looked at the small details such as surface materials, temperature, and wall color.”

Chew-Chin stressed that the 21st century veterinary clinic is “designed to provide excellent animal care, while being mindful of the animal’s perspective. We are paying close attention to design that would maximize the animal’s comfort, accommodating their sense of touch, sight, and hearing.”

One of the features that Chew-Chin believes distinguishes the 21st century veterinary clinic from other animal hospitals is that it will include separate rooms specifically for dogs and cats and that it will offer other services that “promote the animal’s physical and mental welfare.”

Gary Munch, president of Boss Enterprises, worked with the interns on the project and said that they were “wonderful. It was an incredible experience and the interns were great.”

Munch went on to explain that Boss Enterprises will take the summer to look at all of the information gathered by the student interns, to figure out whether or not the 21st century veterinary clinic is a feasible option to launch in the fall. Possible locations for the clinic include Tribeca and Park Slope in New York.

Article by Adam Thomas

Photo by Danielle Quigley

The original posting of this article can be viewed on UDaily.


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