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At the 'Mayo Clinic for animals,' the extraordinary is routine

New York's renowned veterinary hospital takes on almost anything, from a constricted boa to a mite-infested mouse to an anemic iguana

The Animal Medical Center (AMC) fills a nine-story building in mid-Manhattan, near the East River. It is one of the largest veterinary hospitals in the world and almost certainly the busiest. Open 24 hours a day, the center treats more than 65,000 animals each year, ranging from the usual domestic pets to snakes, turtles and exotic birds, plus an occasional tiger or gorilla from the Bronx Zoo. Most of the animals come from New York City and the surrounding area, but the AMC's international reputation has led owners to fly in sick pets from France, Italy, Denmark and Russia, among other places. It conducts research programs with the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Rockefeller University and the New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center. The AMC's 70 vets and technicians have the training and technology to treat almost every problem they face, from glaucoma to lymphoma, from blown knees to bad teeth. The center's philosophy is that a pet is a member of the family and deserves commensurate medical attention. Pet owners evidently agree, sometimes paying thousands of dollars to put an artificial hip in Spot or to give Tabby chemotherapy.

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