With Over 40 Years in Business, Peterson Smith Equine Hospital and Complete Care Offers Top Service to their Equine Clients in Ocala


BY April Bilodeau

Since the early 1980s, Peterson Smith Equine Hospital and Complete Care has been providing premiere equine veterinary services to the Ocala, FL, area. It all began when Dr. John Peterson and Dr. Johnny Mac Smith combined their individual practices to form what has now become one of the most successful and recognized names in equine veterinary medicine.

From the start, the practice grew rapidly and quickly expanded by adding more veterinarians and opening a surgical and referral hospital. Today, Peterson Smith has grown to a team of 27 veterinarians, with the number varying slightly each year due to their dynamic internship and residency programs.

With the recent retirement of three of the original partners, the practice welcomes a new generation of leadership to continue the exceptional service Peterson Smith has always provided to the equine community.

“Since our inception, Peterson Smith has always stayed on the cutting edge. As the demographics of the Marion County equine community have changed, so has our practice. While we still hold on to the foundational values that made us into an industry leader, we are also a more progressive practice, adapting to industry needs as weprepare the practice for the next 40 years of success,” Ryan Meeks, DVM, a Partner at Peterson Smith tells The Plaid Horse.

What They Offer

Peterson Smith categorizes their services under ambulatory care, internal medicine, reproduction, sports medicine, and surgery. They offer an extensive variety of services under these categories…everything from routine herd health services, to complex emergency surgeries, and everything in between.

Referral Hospital

Consisting of five barns, two surgical suites, examination rooms, full-service laboratory, pharmacy, and administrative offices, the referral hospital has been providing exceptional patient care since 1983. They provide 24/7 care 365 days a year support to not only Peterson Smith veterinarians, but also a multitude of referral veterinarians. Services provided at the hospital range from simple outpatient procedures to some of the most complex surgical procedures in the industry. The hospital also offers various advanced imaging services including the recent addition of a state of the art Qalibra CT.


“Peterson Smith is a full-service equine hospital that has the capability to treat or diagnose any patient. From drafts to minis, foals to broodmares, and from racehorses to Western performance horses, we see them all,” says Andrew Smith, DVM, PhD, DACVS-LA, CVMMP. “The hospital has the staff and equipment necessary to treat virtually any case. Beyond our full-time specialists, we also collaborate with specialists outside our hospital in areas such as ophthalmology and dentistry. Those collaborations not only help us provide a valuable service to our clients, but also make us more well-rounded clinicians outside our chosen specialties while doing what is right for the horse.”


While the clinic does have a physical hospital, veterinarians also make ambulatory farm calls, so your horses don’t have to leave their property or the local show facilities to receive top-notch care.

Dr. Adam Cayot, one of Peterson Smith’s Associate Veterinarians, is the on-site veterinarian for the winter circuit at HITS Ocala, so even at the horse show your horse is covered by the practice.

“My role at the show is to provide any medical service that may be needed to the equine athletes that are competing,” says Cayot. “This ranges from routine vaccinations to pre-purchase exams, treating sick or injured athletes, occasional emergencies, and anything in between. We are equipped to provide a full complement of onsite services to appropriately support athletes at every level of competition.”

The practice understands that the industry, the area, clientele, and equine-related activities are constantly changing. The practice has the resources and expertise to provide complete care to Ocala’s thriving equine industry.

The Advanced Fertility Center

Peterson Smith also has a full equine fertility center for broodmares, stallions, and foals. Established in 1999, the AFC sits on a 100-acre facility in Summerfield, FL.

“Our goal at the Advanced Fertility Center is to work with our clients to maximize the reproductive potential of their animals, while being a place where all who stop by feel like part of the Peterson Smith family,” says Melissa Prell, DVM, MD, Dipl. ACT, the leading veterinarian at the AFC. 

Breeders ranging from those who breed for a living to the hobbyist are able to customize their mare’s experience by either letting Peterson Smith handle the whole process, or choosing when to bring them in as they need. They offer both in-patient and out-patient services.

From routine stallion and mare services to its completely in-house ICSI program, the center offers breeders every option available to accomplish their goals. With a thriving embryo transfer program, the center also maintains the largest recipient mare herd in the eastern United States.

Joining the Team

Staying true to their mission of bringing up the next generation of vets, Peterson Smith also acts as a teaching hospital. They are one of very few private practices to offer a surgical residency program. They also offer internships focused on ambulatory practice, reproduction, and in the referral hospital. Undergraduate internships and externship opportunities for veterinary students round out their extensive teaching program.

Marcos Pérez, LV, MSc, DACVS-LA, a new veterinarian at Peterson Smith, made the move to Ocala due to its rich history in many sections of the equine world, not to mention the beautiful Florida weather year-round.

“Since arriving here, everyone has been very welcoming. I have had the honor to join this team of veterinary colleagues that excel at equine veterinary care,” says Pérez. “Technicians, barn crew, front desk, and administrative staff are great professionals that have quickly become my work friends. Also, the level of knowledge, diligence, horsemanship, and overall passion for the horse exhibited by owners, farms, and training stables that trust us with their horses’ care is second to none. This makes being a surgeon in Ocala, and at Peterson Smith, very rewarding.”

To learn more about Peterson Smith and their services, visit their website at www.petersonsmith.com.