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Penn's School of Veterinary Medicine opened a new $2.7 million emergency room on April 16, providing updated services to Penn Vet's Ryan Hospital.

Richard Lichter, a member of Penn Vet’s Board of Overseers and co-chair of the Power of Penn Vet Campaign, funded the gift. Lichter said the donation was made "in memory of his beloved Golden Retriever, Cosette," Penn Vet reported.

The Richard Lichter Emergency Room is located on campus at the Ryan Hospital, which serves more than 36,000 patients annually, such as cats, dogs, birds, and reptiles. Their emergency services are open 24/7 all year round. 

The 2,000 square foot expansion is more than double the size of the original ER built in the early 1980s. The clinical space is complete with species-specific oxygen cages for cats and dogs, an increase from 13 to 27 care areas, and four additional large play areas for dogs that provide comfort to patients with complex cases.

The expansion is one of the first phases of the $14 million investment in technology for emergency care at Penn Vet. Despite initial uncertainties of state funding in 2017, Penn Vet was able to receive $30 million in funding the same year.

“Contributing to Penn Vet’s Ryan Hospital was important, since I have witnessed first-hand the role their veterinarians play in saving the lives of animals who come to Ryan in dire circumstances,” Lichter told Penn Vet. “It was natural for me to want the hospital to have the most modern and state-of-the-art emergency care facility."

Penn Vet has spearheaded projects like training sessions for local non-professional dogs at the Working Dog Center. In January, Penn Vet published studies revealing an increase in opioid prescriptions for pets over the past decade.