New animal hospital for Lord

7/7/2014 1:55 PM CET

The building of an animal hospital is not a daily occurrence in Sweden. But it has now taken place for the second time in 100 years. Each year, around 5,500 horses, and 20,000 cats and dogs come to the University Animal Hospital in Uppsala to be examined and receive care, and the new hospital will further boost capacity.

The Golden Retriever Lord is one of the many dogs getting medical treatment at the new animal hospital. Here he is training in the pool to get back in shape. And on this particular day, other dogs are lying anesthetized on the operating table while the vets perform their work.

In another part of the large medical center Chateau Ikaros is examined for his lameness, the little Gotland pony Rustibus is resting in a cradle following a hip operation and another horse has a large bandage around its entire barrel following an abdominal operation.

The Centre for Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science (VHC) at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) is the shared workplace of the University Animal Hospital and the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science.

Care and education

Built for research, education and veterinary care, VHC's total of 53,000 square meters comprises all types of buildings: From functional, sterile and airy care and laboratory environments equipped with the latest medical technology to modern and inviting teaching, research and office spaces under the same roof as stables in the "animal hotel".

Joined together yet still retaining different buildings.

The animal hospital of about 18,500 square meters has its own character with a reception and a store for house pets. This is where the owners wait for their precious pets. Inside, vets and animal carers work in an environment akin to a human hospital. A quiet whisper is all that can be heard outside of examination rooms and operating theaters.

Horses in action

Equine patients meet a more industrial and cooler environment. They are led in through a large entrance in the gable end of the long wings containing stables as well as examination and care spaces. This area also contains a smaller track and a manège to see the horses in action. The horses find ways to mark that they were there but, otherwise, droppings are removed via channels under the floor.

Hooves clatter on concrete in the high-ceilinged and wide aisles – horses need space. There is also plenty of space for veterinary students to follow the work from the sidelines. Considerable pains have been taken to plan and simplify the flows between radiology, surgery, the cushioned recovery boxes and stables. Rails in the ceiling allow horses to be moved even while they are under anesthetic. There are two operating theaters for horses, and the house pet department has ten operating theaters.

Improved protection

The new animal hospital has been planned and designed to provide the optimal building envelope and protection from infectious diseases together with a sterile center and isolation capacity. Sterile areas are color-coded red. Otherwise, the colors use light and calm tones.

Teaching is carried out mainly in a round four-story building, which while free-standing is also linked to the University Animal Hospital. About 100 new students are accepted each year. The amphitheater for demonstrating autopsies has an overhead crane in the ceiling and an adjacent cold store.

Workplaces for 600 plus hundreds of students

A total of 600 people have been given new premises including the majority of employees from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science.

In June, the animal hospital's 200 employees moved their ongoing activities over from the old premises in the area. After a few minor adjustments – for example changing some slippery floors in the stables – activities are in full swing, seven days a week.

Boosting care and efficiency

"Our new premises are a major boost for both the people and the animals. Not just for the well-being, health and efficiency of the personnel but also for patient care and safety. We feel right at home," says Henrik Ericsson, Director, University Animal Hospital.

And he knows what he is talking about – he trained as a vet himself in the old premises in the 1980s.

"Very little has been done to the premises over the years and we have also waited with investing in new equipment until we got our new animal hospital."

State-of the-art technology

The new magnetic resonance tomograph, MRT, takes particular pride of place. The animal hospital is the first in Sweden with the latest MR technology for diagnostic imaging of soft tissue and internal organs.

"Previously, we relied on help from Uppsala University Hospital's MRT but, now, we have more modern equipment than they do. We have invested about SEK 100 million in new technology. Almost everything here is new."

Planned in co-operation

VHC is an assignment in the billion-krona class for Skanska. Together with the customer Akademiska Hus and SLU, the project has invested 1.5 million hours in planning, project engineering, production and project management. At its peak, more than 300 people were engaged at the construction site. The project ran from 2010 until spring 2014.

"We have been able to deliver an unusually multi-faceted project thanks to the excellent collaboration we have had with our customer, Akademiska Hus and its tenant SLU. In partnership projects, the end result always benefits from trust-based collaboration with our customers and from having the users involved from the start," says Martin Huss, Skanska Sweden's Project Manager, who led the project.

"Thanks to our new animal hospital we improve the quality of veterinary care and the personnel's work environment, everyone feels right at home," says Henrik Ericsson, Director, University Animal Hospital.


The Centre for Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science, VHC, Ulltuna, Uppsala, Sweden

Customer: Akademiska Hus
Total area: 53,000 sq m
Contract value: SEK 1,090 million
Construction period: 2010-2014

Amazing project data

2,500 concrete piles
80,000 m3 excavated
2,319 rooms
Over 3,000 doors
Installations of about SEK 300 million
100,000 m of pipes
24,000 m of ducts
350,000 m of telecommunication cable
175,000 m of electrical wiring
23,000 m of power cables
900 m of Canalis trunking
9,000 light fittings