New Bolton Center Accepting Emergency Cases

The University of Pennsylvania's George D. Widener Hospital for Large Animals will accept equine emergency patients, beginning on Monday, Aug. 30. "We have completed the cleaning and refurbishing of additional barns and can now care for emergency cases," said Bruce Rappoport, director of the Widener Hospital.

The hospital reopened on Aug. 2 for outpatients and scheduled elective surgeries. Rappoport said that the food animal barn should be ready by Labor Day; then those patients can be seen and treated again at the facility.

The Widener Hospital, located at New Bolton Center in Kennett Square, Pa., closed May 10 to new patients because of an outbreak of multidrug-resistant Salmonella infection among some of the hospital's patients. Since the closing, the entire hospital complex has been sandblasted, disinfected, and repainted. Dirt barn floors have been removed and a new drainage system and concrete floors have been installed. These floors are covered with a special cushioning material that can be disinfected easily. More than 2,000 cultures were performed on the buildings and the resident animals. It was found that only a limited area of the hospital cultured positive for the organism. None of the resident animals cultured positive.

Additional biosecurity measures have been instituted at the Widener Hospital and on the New Bolton Center campus to protect the animal patients and the staff and faculty. Access to barns and treatment areas is limited, disinfectant footbaths are mandatory when entering each area, and new traffic patterns have been established.

"We hope to be fully operational by Labor Day," said Rappoport. "It has been an incredible effort to get to this point. It would not have been possible without the great dedication and hard work of the staff and faculty here. Everyone pitched in and scrubbed, hosed, and fogged so we could open again. Everyone here is committed to providing the best care for our patients."

New Bolton Center is the large animal campus of the University of  Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. The telephone number for the George D. Widener Hospital for Large Animals is 610/444-5800.

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