In August of 1981, two solo equine practitioners in the Ocala area, Dr. John Peterson, and Dr. Johnny Mac Smith decided to establish Peterson & Smith Equine Hospital.
In August of 1981, two solo equine practitioners in the Ocala area, Dr. John Peterson and Dr. Johnny Mac Smith, decided to establish Peterson & Smith P.A. They asked Dr. Philip Matthews, the current Peterson & Smith president, if he would join them. Dr. Matthews had just graduated from Colorado State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Shortly after, Dr. Kevin Hahn was hired in 1982, followed by Dr. Donnie Slone in 1983. Dr. Matthews became a partner in 1985; Dr. Hahn and Dr. Slone became partners shortly thereafter. As the years passed and the practice continued to grow, more veterinarians joined the team. Today, Peterson & Smith is comprised of 26 veterinarians, 9 of which are partners.
From 1981–1982, Peterson & Smith operated out of Dr. Peterson’s farm. During this era it was decided to build an equine hospital. The grand opening of the hospital was July 10 1983 at 4747 SW 60th Avenue. This new facility was comprised of a single building consisting of front office, offices for five veterinarians, a small laboratory, one treatment room with an x-ray machine, 8 stalls and an apartment. Before long, more room was needed, in 1984 the original surgery barn was built and over time, the medicine barn,sports medicine barn, and an isolation barn were constructed
In 1999, the vision to create a reproduction center became a reality with the construction of the Equine Reproduction Center in Summerfield, FL. In 2007, the administrative building of the main Peterson & Smith Equine Hospital was renovated and expanded to create more office space.
Teaching and Learning
In 1983, the practice started an internship program and Peterson & Smith became a teaching hospital. Since then, the practice has maintained a minimum of 1 intern, but has mentored as many as 8 interns at one time. Also in 1983, Peterson & Smith became the first private equine practice to start a surgical residency program which has developed the skills of many successful surgeons.
The Founders Today
Dr. John Peterson continued to see patients as one of our ambulatory veterinarians until the end of 2017. Dr. Johnny Mac Smith left Peterson & Smith in 1993 after developing a severe allergy to horses. Dr. Phil Matthews is now the President of Peterson & Smith and the Director of the Equine Reproduction Center.
Peterson & Smith prides itself on maintaining a tradition of leadership and excellence in equine medicine that our founders began so many years ago. Each day, we grow and adapt to the needs of our patients and clients. As we look to the future, we are excited about the opportunities that are in store for the equine industry and are grateful for the solid foundation upon which our practice was built.