Uniquely located in one the nation’s largest, most densely populated urban environments, Penn Vet’s Ryan Veterinary Hospital is indispensable to local pet owners—and many others from out of state.
Though originally built to accommodate 19,000 animal patients annually, the hospital now treats nearly 37,000 patients each year, with 10,000 cases admitted through the emergency service—innocent animals who endure car accidents, natural disasters, fires, and unthinkable abuse.
To meet this growing demand, the hospital is undergoing a massive revitalization to transform its facility into a comprehensive veterinary health system for the Philadelphia region—and a global standard. On April 16, Dr. Andrew Hoffman, Gilbert S. Kahn Dean of Veterinary Medicine, joined friends of Penn Vet to celebrate an essential step in this endeavor: the brand-new Richard Lichter Emergency Room.
“We strive to be the model of excellent animal care,” says Dr. Michael Mison, Ryan Hospital’s Chief Medical Officer, “and we want to lead the field in veterinary medicine. The Richard Lichter Emergency Room allows us to get closer to our vision.”
The 2,000-square-foot expansion more than doubles the amount of clinical space available to treat severe and urgent cases. The Lichter Emergency Room includes designated areas for canine and feline patients, including species-specific oxygen cages, and more than doubles the amount of available patient care areas from 13 to 27. The facility also includes six large dog runs that provide comfort and security to patients who are being treated for the most complex ailments.
“An emergency room is where dogs go during their time of maximum need,” says Lichter. “The mission of my foundation is to be the invisible hand that provides care, comfort, and protection for dogs at that very moment. It was natural for me to want the Ryan Hospital to have the most modern and state-of-the-art emergency care facility.”
During the event, Lichter shared how his passion for animal welfare grew after his beloved golden retriever, Cosette, passed away from leukemia. Determined to ensure that no other dog would suffer needlessly from a lack of quality veterinary care, Lichter established a charity to fund projects that fit his vision, such as the immunotherapy research conducted by Penn Vet’s Dr. Nicola Mason, Gr’04.
Nine years to the day that he last held his precious pet, Lichter cut the ribbon for the emergency room dedicated to her memory.
“Cosette was an extraordinary dog,” Lichter says. “But now her life has even more purpose. The legacy that we’re creating in her honor will help countless dogs go on to live happy, healthy lives.”
Although he lost a friend, he found a partner in Penn Vet. Today, he serves as a member of the Penn Vet Board of Overseers and Co-Chair of The Power of Penn Vet Campaign.
“Once I got to know the people here and realized what a great institution this was, I was sold,” says Lichter, who also supports the Penn Vet Shelter Medicine Program and is funding a lobby for dogs in the next phase of the hospital’s renovation. “They’ve been a great partner in everything I do.”
Future phases of the project include enhancements to cardiology and radiology, as well as a state-of-the-art emergency and critical care center. To learn more about this renovation and how you can be a hero for animals who deserve the best possible care, visit the Penn Vet Campaign website.