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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is CUVS’ relationship with Cornell University?

CUVS is a subsidiary of Cornell University. We are a satellite hospital of Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. CUVS is 100% owned by Cornell University, and governed by a Board of Directors of which the chair is the Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine.

Q: Why CUVS? Why would Cornell open a hospital outside of Ithaca?

For several reasons. Mainly, to create a different and novel model for the delivery of specialty and emergency veterinary care. We believe that it is possible to combine academic-level, advanced and innovative medicine, such as occurs at Cornell, with a highly communicative, service-oriented practice. Moreover, that this combination, this hybrid model, provides the best of both worlds – delivering optimal medical care to dogs and cats, and optimal caring for their families. It is our hope that we will inspire the creation of more such centers of excellence throughout the country. In addition, we provide an outstanding learning experience for veterinary students and specialty residents who can spend time at CUVS observing this type of practice and learning both clinical and communication skills.

Q: How is CUVS different from other specialty and emergency veterinary hospitals?

We are a fundamentally different model – a specialty practice owned by and closely associated with the leading veterinary college. As such, we are mission-driven! As part of Cornell University, we exist to fulfill our mission of redefining the delivery of specialty veterinary care (not to generate revenue for shareholders). Every member of our staff is committed to our missions and to our fundamental core values.

This starts with Patient-centered Medicine, our first priority being always the care of each individual patient. It also includes Collaboration, Integrated Care and Professional Partnerships - our commitment to true collaboration amongst ourselves, our patient’s family and their veterinarian/s - to bring about the best possible outcomes. Naturally, a Culture of Learning is intrinsic to us; we are dedicated to the continual improvement of ourselves and others, providing many educational opportunities. And, finally, we are committed to always treating everyone with respect, compassion and integrity.

Q: Is CUVS for-profit or not-for-profit?

We are structured as an independent for-profit subsidiary of Cornell. HOWEVER, all net profits from CUVS go back to the College of Veterinary Medicine (not-for-profit) to support the education and discovery missions of the College.

Q: Is CUVS a teaching hospital? Will my pet be treated by a student or an intern?

While education and a culture of learning are core values of CUVS, we are NOT a teaching hospital. You will see students at CUVS, who are here to observe clinical practice at a real world, high quality specialty practice. But your pet and you will always be cared for by board- certified specialists or emergency clinicians, not students. In fact, we don’t even have interns. While many/most practices staff their emergency room with interns, we have only board-certified critical care specialists and emergency doctors (who have already completed internship training earlier in their career).

Q: What is a veterinary specialist?

Similar to human medicine, veterinarians can specialize in one particular medical discipline. In order to become specialists, these veterinarians undergo extensive post-doctorate training. This includes, at minimum: a one-year internship, three years of intensive residency training in their chosen field, demonstration of meaningful contributions to veterinary science, publication of research findings in journal articles, credential review, and completion of a rigorous, multi-day specialty board exam. These specialists are then referred to as diplomates of their specialty College. Our board-certified specialists are diplomates of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons, the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (Internal Medicine, Cardiology, or Oncology), the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care, the American Veterinary Dental College, the American College of Veterinary Ophthalmologists, the American College of Veterinary Dermatology and the American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation. A Masters’ degree or PhD is not necessary for board certification, although some of our specialists have these advanced degrees as well.

Q: Why would my pet need to see a veterinary specialist?

While your primary care veterinarian is trained to diagnose and treat many health problems, some cases may be complex or critically ill, and may require specialized diagnostic testing, treatment or intensive care. Just as your family physician may refer you to a specialist, your veterinarian may feel that your pet would benefit from the expertise of a board-certified veterinary specialist who has extensive training and expertise in a specific field.

Q: Where can I find more information on the various veterinary specialties? 

The following websites should be a good resource for each of our specialties.

Q: Can I get help over the phone?

You are always welcome to call CUVS at any time. If your pet is experiencing an emergency, we may recommend that he/she come in to our Emergency Service. If your pet is ill, and you and/or your primary care veterinarian feel that he/she could benefit from a specialist, we will be happy to arrange a consultation.

Please note that all consultations are in-person. We do not offer telephone consultations or advice on pets that we have not seen. This is because we cannot provide good medicine in this fashion. An in-person consultation enables the doctor to obtain a thorough medical history and, most importantly, perform a thorough physical examination before discussing findings and options. Without this, we cannot provide sound advice that will benefit your pet or you. If you would like the input of a specialist, one of our Client Service Coordinators will help you to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists, or can recommend other resources to find specialists.

Q: What are your hours?

  • Emergency Service: 24 hours/day, 7 days/week, 365 days/year
  • Specialty-Referral Services: Monday – Saturday, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Pharmacy: Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

For more Frequently Asked Questions regarding consultations, hospitalization, pharmacy, payments and insurance, please visit Frequently Asked Questions for Pet Owners

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