March 1, 2024
ATS NE Sept 2019
UF's vet school will be the only one to offer training for open-heart surgery on dogs.
ATS NE Sept 2019
Flagler Health+ plans to build a medical "village" in Durbin Park in northern St. Johns County,

Northeast Florida Roundup

UF's vet school's new canine cardiac care program

Amy Martinez | 8/26/2019


Canine Cardiac Care
UF’s vet school expands and adds a teaching program.

This fall, the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine will launch a training program in performing open-heart surgery in dogs. The program, the only one of its kind in the U.S., is a collaboration between UF and Japanese veterinary cardiologist Masami Uechi, who’ll provide training in treating mitral valve disease, a major cause of congestive heart failure in dogs.

The program’s launch punctuates a busy year for UF’s vet school. Earlier this year, the school opened a $6-million, two-story addition to its Small Animal Hospital and began looking for a new dean to replace James Lloyd, who retired after six years in the position. UF also jumped five spots to No. 9 in U.S. News & World Report’s rankings of the top vet schools.

UF is home to the only vet school in Florida and one of only 30 nationwide. Why so few vet schools? “It’s partly a reflection of economics,” says UF interim vet school dean Thomas Vickroy. “Building a teaching hospital and staffing it is a major, major investment. Many states feel like they can’t afford to do it.”

Founded in 1976, UF’s vet school has an enrollment of about 450 students. It accepted only 9% of applicants last year.

Vickroy notes that since he joined UF 30 years ago, the school has increased the number of students it admits annually from 80 to 120. He says the school is now considering increasing that number to 160 or more. “Florida is still a net importer of veterinarians,” he says.


  • Baptist Health will open an 83,000-sq.-ft. health and wellness center next summer in the Nocatee area.


  • Jacksonville-based Firehouse Subs unveiled a prototype restaurant in northern St. Johns County, featuring updated furnishings and a grab-and-go section with prepared sandwiches.
  • Phoenix-based grocery chain Sprouts Farmers Market opened its first Jacksonville store in The Markets at Town Center.


  • UF plans to spend $30 million during the next five years to improve campus security, including adding hundreds of surveillance cameras, new lighting, license-plate readers and better key-card access technology. UF also will hire more campus police officers and begin building a 35,000-sq.-ft. police station next year.
  • Former U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson has given his collection of papers and other historical materials to UF, which is establishing the Nelson Initiative on Ethics and Leadership.
  • The Duval County School Board approved a master facilities plan with $1.9 billion in proposed school enhancements. The plan will be funded in part through a 15-year increase in the county’s sales tax from 7 cents to 7.5 cents, subject to voter approval. In June, Jacksonville’s outgoing city council rejected an attempt to put the proposal to a vote by residents in a November special election.


  • JetBlue will end its twice-daily service between Jacksonville International Airport and Reagan National Airport in late October.

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