Then, now, the future... UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine Highlights

The School of Veterinary Medicine opens at UC Davis with 42 students—all male and mostly World War II veterans. The school now admits 131 students per year, about 80 percent of whom are female.

The U.S. Atomic Energy Commission contracts with the school to investigate the effects of low-level radiation on dogs and assess human health risks. The study, which evolves through 1986, generates new knowledge about the effects of radiation, optimizing the kennel environment and animal care.

The school develops the first of several vaccines to combat bluetongue, an infectious viral disease of sheep. Ongoing research produces more effective diagnostic tests and improved vaccines along with better understanding of the environmental and economic impacts of bluetongue on the international livestock trade.

Blood-typing services for livestock owners and breed associations are initiated in what is now the Veterinary Genetics Laboratory. Services have evolved into DNA-based technology for many species to identify individual animals, verify parentage and detect inherited diseases or other traits.

Paramyxovirus yucaipa, which causes respiratory illness in chickens is identified. It is one of several avian viruses, including an influenza virus that infects turkeys in the San Joaquin Valley to be identified in the 50s and 60s.

The California National Primate Research Center opens, and veterinary scientists carry out studies of nutrition and the effects of aging on cognition and memory, thalidomide and other agents that cause birth defects, and studies toward development of the simian model for the medical study of AIDS and novel vaccines for HIV/AIDS.

The first food safety program in a veterinary school is established at UC Davis.

Calvin Schwabe, a pioneer in the use of human disease tracking methods for the study of veterinary diseases, establishes the Master of Preventive Veterinary Medicine Program, a graduate program in epidemiology. More than 850 veterinarians holding MPVM degrees from UC Davis now serve in leadership positions in 75 countries.

The first zoological medicine program begins with courses for veterinary students, a long-standing partnership with the Sacramento Zoo, and a residency program for specialists in captive and free-ranging wildlife health.

The Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital opens, and faculty begin training residents in veterinary specialties. The program grows from seven residents to the largest program in the nation. The school has now trained more than 1,000 veterinary specialists in more than 30 disciplines.

The school sets the standard in United States veterinary education by establishing the first curriculum to allow specialization and complex clinical experience.

The California Raptor Center opens to rehabilitate injured birds of prey, conduct veterinary training and educate the public about raptors and environmental aspects of their health.

Faculty determine that Pasteurella bacteria are the source of a pneumonia that causes the majority of cattle deaths in feedlots. The finding leads to better industry standards for beef cattle health and well-being.

The world's first behavior service begins. Today it is the largest in the nation and has trained more board-certified behavior specialists than any other school.

Pioneering work on the causes, diagnosis and treatment of bovine mastitis leads to development of the patented California Mastitis Test.

Small animal orthopedists develop the first total hip prosthesis for dogs.

The Veterinary Medicine Teaching and Research Center opens in Tulare to conduct applied research at the hub of the U.S. dairy industry. The J-5 mastitis vaccine (1988), improves animal health and saves dairy producers $11 million each year. The center offers unique opportunities for specialized training and provides comprehensive veterinary services to regional dairy clients.

Women DVM graduates outnumber men for the first time at UC Davis. As of 2007, 77 percent of veterinary students nationwide are women.

Researchers discover feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and develop a veterinary model for human AIDS research. In 2002, the first federally approved vaccine for FIV is based on School of Veterinary Medicine research.

The Aquatic Toxicology Laboratory begins a water quality testing program on behalf of statewide agencies. The environmental program analyzes water from many sources such as storm runoff and orchard runoff after pesticide applications to determine how different chemicals affect water quality and animal health.

The California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory System (CAHFS) is launched. The laboratory system is California's "first line of defense" against diseases that harm animals, threaten the food supply, or pose a danger to human health. At laboratories in Davis, Turlock, Fresno, Tulare and San Bernardino, faculty and technicians now perform 1.8 million diagnostic tests annually and conduct ongoing surveillance on livestock and poultry for diseases such as avian influenza and BSE (mad cow disease). The CAHFS is the state's central milk laboratory, responsible for laboratory programs to assure the quality of California's milk.

Nutritionists document the link between a lack of dietary taurine, an amino acid, and feline dilated cardiomyopathy, a fatal heart ailment in cats. Pet food companies now add taurine to commercial pet food, saving thousands of pets' lives every year.

The International Laboratory of Molecular Biology for Tropical Diseases uses transgenic technology to develop a vaccine for rinderpest, a devastating cattle disease in Africa. An inexpensive screening kit designed for field conditions helps protect animals of subsistence farmers in poor tropical countries.

The nation's first Pet Loss Support Hotline becomes a national resource for people grieving due to the loss of a pet and an opportunity for students to gain firsthand experience in effective and compassionate communication with pet owners.

Clinicians create the first veterinary hemodialysis unit, which now conducts about 1,000 treatments per year as the world's largest program. In 2002, the life-saving service expands to the UC Veterinary Medical Center—San Diego.

Students establish the Mercer Veterinary Clinic for the Homeless. Volunteers arrange spay-neuter and other procedures, and provide basic care and food for the animals of homeless clients one Saturday a month in Sacramento. In 1998, the program receives the AVMA Humane Award.

An innovative ELISA (enzyme immunoassay) is developed for diagnosis of bluetongue, a major "non-tariff trade barrier" disease of ruminants.

Scientists identify Neospora, a protozoan parasite, as the major cause of abortion in dairy cattle that costs the California dairy industry an estimated $35 million per year.

The Michael R. Floyd Veterinary Dental Operatory Suite opens in the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, bringing state-of-the-art dental care to pets and providing greater hands-on clinical experience for students.

Faculty introduce the DNA test for hyperkalemic periodic paralysis (HYPP), the first DNA-based test available for a heritable disease in horses. Since then, faculty and staff and the Veterinary Genetics Laboratory have developed tests to screen for severe combined immunodeficiency, overo lethal white foal disease, junctional epidermolysis bullosa and glycogen branching enzyme disease in horses.

The Oiled Wildlife Care Network establishes a statewide effort to coordinate the rescue and rehabilitation of wildlife injured in oil spills and begins oil spill research.

Human granulocytic Ehrlichiosis and Ehrlichia equi infection in horses are found to be caused by the same tick-transmitted agent.

A medical ecologist in Veterinary Medicine Extension develops methods and assesses the risk of water contamination by livestock grazing near water sources.

The Center for Vectorborne Disease brings together veterinary experts and medical entomologists to study diseases transmitted by vectors such as mosquitos, ticks and rodents; CVEC faculty identified the West Nile virus as it enters California for the first time in 2003.

The school administers the Oiled Wildlife Care Network with 25 participating organizations and 12 dedicated rescue, treatment and rehabilitation facilities. OWCN research increases understanding of the consequences of oil exposure and improves response technology.