The University of Pennsylvania's veterinary hospital has been named one of the nation's first trauma centers for animals.

The American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care has designated nine hospitals across the country as veterinary trauma centers. Penn's Ryan Hospital, located at 39th and Spruce Streets, is one of those facilities.

The trauma-center network aims to develop a database for animal-trauma research. The hospitals will work together to create standards and distribute information about best practices.

"This new designation creates a standard of care in veterinary medicine that didn't previously exist and provides pet owners with important information in the event of a trauma-related emergency," Dr. Armelle de Laforcade, ACVECC's executive secretary, said in a statement. "Receiving care at a certified trauma center with the necessary resources in place may help improve survival rates for the most severely traumatized patient."

The hospitals named as trauma centers need to provide complete trauma care to small animals on a 24/7 basis and have board-certified specialists in emergency care, critical care, surgery and radiology available every day.

Oradell Animal Hospital in Paramus, N.J. was also designated as a trauma center.

The other facilities are located in North Grafton, Mass.; Irvine, Calif; Los Angeles; Tampa, Fla.; Urbana, Ill.; St. Paul, Minn.; and Raleigh, N.C.

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