Dr. Heather Gardner, a 29-year-old oncology intern at the University of Florida Small Animal Hospital, performs an exam on Anora, a greyhound with cancer.

The UF Small Animal Hospital is the first facility in Florida to receive a top certification for its emergency and critical care facility from the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society.

The hospital was awarded a Level I certification by the VECCS in February, said Gareth Buckley, clinical assistant professor of emergency medicine at the UF College of Veterinary Medicine.

The hospital had been working to earn the accreditation for six months.

“It’s a fairly rigorous process of certification,” Buckley said.

One aspect of the certification was whether the facility could handle any emergency situation. The hospital treats about 4,000 animals per year for emergencies, Buckley said.

The VECCS also took personnel and staff training into consideration. The UF Small Animal Hospital has fully certified emergency doctors on staff 24 hours a day, either on-call or at the hospital.

“Having the certification at the veterinary hospital adds prestige to both the veterinary college and veterinary hospital,” said Jere Stern, a second-year graduate student at the UF College of Veterinary Medicine.

The students in the UF College of Veterinary Medicine have the ability to gain first-hand experience in the Small Animal Hospital’s premiere facilities, Stern, 23, said.

[A version of this story ran on page 4 on 2/23/2015 under the headline “Animal hospital accredited"]