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Design of an animal hospital at Potawatomi Zoo
500 S. Greenlawn Ave., South Bend, IN 46615, United States of America
Jeremy Goodman, DVM, Assistant Director / Veterinarian, Potawatomi Zoo
edited by Monika Fiby, MLA, ZooLex Zoo Design Organization
All images © Jeremy Goodman, 2003
Portuguese translation by Elias Sadalla, 2004
Potawatomi Zoo opened an animal hospital in 2002. Significant research was done planning a design for the new hospital. Architect, John Werntz began the project in 1999 with Dr. Curtis Eng, zoo veterinarian at the time. The design was given further input from Dr. Nick Kapustin, veterinarian at the Jacksonville Zoo and a final design was agreed upon and developed by Dr. Jeremy Goodman, the zoo’s current veterinarian as well as the zoos’s director, veterinary technician and maintenance supervisor. In total, over 20 zoo hospitals were visited during the development stages of the planning. Much was learned on these visits including many practical “do’s and don’ts”.
The final plans included the following items:
Conference room – Houses a library and audio-visual equipment, used to host zoo and continuing education meetings.
Offices – An office for the veterinarian and veterinary technician.
Records room – A small area adjacent to the offices for records holding. Records for all animals in the zoo as well as animals that have died are mandated by the American Zoo Association.
Efficiency room – A small dormitory room with a bed and a desk for veterinary students, pre-veterinary students and visiting keepers to stay in while working at the zoo. This room has already been reserved for beginning in January 2002 for veterinary students who will be spending 8 weeks each with the zoo’s veterinary department.
Intensive Care Unit – A room for critical patients with the capabilities of an oxygen cage and life support equipment.
Laboratory – All lab equipment for in house testing and the pharmacy.
Unisex locker room – Toilet facilities and shower facilities for staff and students.
Surgical prep area – A small area for cleaning and sterilizing instruments as well as a doctor scrubbing area prior to surgery.
Surgery – A large clean room with piped in gases equipped for surgery on animals ranging in size from mice to a large 2000 pound antelope.
Treatment room – A large room equipped for the treatment of animals ranging in size from mice to a large antelope. This room is where non-sterile procedures are performed.
Radiology room – A large room equipped with x-ray equipment and other diagnostic imaging equipment with the ability to x-ray of animals ranging in size from mice to a large antelope.
Dark room – A small room adjacent to the radiology room for film storage and developing x-rays.
Hallway – Sufficiently wide enough to move a large antelope riding on a small vehicle. Has a large scale for weighing animals upon entry and exit of the building.
Kitchen – For animal food preparation as well as a functional food area for visiting students staying in the efficiency room.
Storage room – A multi-purpose empty room for storage of stock, equipment or extra caging. Can be set up for additional animal holding if needed.
Janitorial room – A small room with a washer and dryer and slop sink to maintain cleanliness in the hospital half of the building.
Necropsy room – A large room that is self contained (separate air system and drainage that has a direct sewer line from the room) to perform necropsies. This room can accommodate an animal as large as a rhinoceros. A special I-beam with a hoist aids in maneuvering large animals within this room. A large walk-in cooler can be attached to this room for storage of deceased animals until they can be properly disposed of.
Avian/Reptile room – A self contained room for housing sick birds or reptiles or quarantining them. This room has its own thermostat that can be adjusted for animals requiring cooler temperatures or desert animals that require hot temperatures. This room leads out to an enclosed patio that sick animals can be wheeled out to in order to expose them to direct sunlight and fresh air, both of which are important in the healing process.
Aquatic animal room – This room has 2 cages each with a 2 foot deep small pool. This room can be used for quarantining or treating aquatic birds such as penguins and waterfowl, aquatic reptiles such as small alligators and pond turtles and aquatic mammals such as otters.
Small mammal room – A larger room with three adjoining cages for quarantining and treating small mammals such as monkeys, small carnivores and some small hoofstock species. This room can also be used to house larger birds that would not fit in the smaller avian/reptile room. One cage has a heated floor in order to help speed the recovery of sick animals.
Large carnivore and great ape room – A large room with three adjoining heavy duty cages for quarantining and treating animals such as gorillas, bears and tigers. There will be an outside pen attached to this room. The middle cage will accommodate a removable squeeze (restraint) cage to aid in the treatment and transport of these animals.
Hoofstock stalls – 3 indoor stalls capable of being heated in the winter attached to 3 outdoor pens for quarantining and treating medium to large size hoofstock species (goats to eland) as well as other larger animals such as ostrich or crocodile. The configuration of the stalls and pens allows for housing multiple animals and easy manipulations of the animals within this area. It also allows for ease in loading and unloading animals with minimal stress. One stall can act as a squeeze (restraint) stall to aid in treatment.
All animal holding areas are equipped for attaching a portable high pressure washing system and are designed with adequate keeper work areas to maximize safety. All animal holding areas have skylights to expose the animals to natural light. This is extremely important as many animals rely on photoperiods (natural day length) to exhibit normal behaviors. The inclusion of a conference room and the efficiency room are of particular note. These features help the veterinary department carry out the zoo’s mission of education by reaching out to local, national and international students, veterinarians and researchers who will all be integrated into the functioning hospital.
The hospital is located within the fenced borders of the zoo along Greenlawn Avenue. All necessary property line setbacks have been adhered to. After review by the Building Commissioner, Parks Superintendent and the Architect, it was determined that the hospital plans meet all requirements mandated by the city and the “Americans with Disabilities Act”. The hospital is in an authorized personnel only area with no access to the public with the exception of prearranged conference meetings or tours. This area was chosen, as it provides nervous new animals as well as recovering sick animals a quiet location to reside until they are able to be placed in their regular exhibits. The zoo horticulture staff heavily landscaped the hospital in order to blend the building in with its surroundings and make it visually appealing.
The cost of the project was 1.1 million USD and the cost of the equipment brings the final price to 2 million USD. Planning of the facilities started in late 1998, construction in June 2001. The opening was on May 24, 2002. The staff working an the animal hospital is one veterinarian, one veterinary technician, one hospital assistant, and one student.
If you have questions about the animal hospital at Potawatomi
Zoo you may contact:
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