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University of California - Davis College of Veterinary Medicine




The School of Veterinary Medicine serves the people of California by providing educational, research, clinical service, and public service programs of the highest quality to advance the health and care of animals, the health of the environment, and public health, and to contribute to the economy.

To carry out this mission, we focus on students of our professional Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program, Master of Preventive Veterinary Medicine program, graduate clinical residency program and graduate academic MS and PhD programs.

We address the health of all animals, including livestock, poultry, companion animals, captive and free-ranging wildlife, exotic animals, birds, aquatic mammals and fish, and animals used in biological and medical research. Our expertise also encompasses related human health concerns.

Our statewide mission includes 28 research and clinical programs, including clinical referral services; diagnostic testing services; continuing education; extension; and community outreach.

Degrees and programs

Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) (4-year program)
Master of Preventive Veterinary Medicine (MPVM)
DVM/PhD dual degree for veterinarian-scientists (VSTP)
Hospital residency program for veterinarian in 32 specialties, largest in the nation
MS and PhD degrees in 17 academic disciplines
Master of Public Health jointly offered with UC Davis School of Medicine
Continuing professional education for veterinarians and animal health technicians

Academic Departments

The school's academic departments form the teaching hub of the school. Faculty members integrate their discoveries into the teaching programs while performing research in animal health, public health and environmental health. All faculty members work through a home department, although they may be located at multidisciplinary centers or perform duties in other units

Anatomy, Physiology, & Cell Biology

Molecular Biosciences

Medicine and Epidemiology

Pathology, Microbiology & Immunology

Population Health and Reproduction

Surgical and Radiological Sciences



DVM 524 (5,136 degrees conferred as of June 2008)
Graduate 170

Faculty 300
Residents 90
Annual budget $147 million
Annual research budget $ 63 million
Annual scholarship support $ 1.7 million
Scholarship endowment $ 36 million

Major units

Academic departments—Anatomy, Physiology & Cell Biology; Medicine & Epidemiology; Molecular Biosciences; Pathology, Microbiology & Immunology; Population Health & Reproduction; Surgical & Radiological Sciences

William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital—faculty and staff treat more than 30,000 patients per year while teaching clinical skills to DVM students and training residents in 32 specialties; volunteer veterinary emergency response team

Veterinary Medicine Teaching and Research Center, Tulare—veterinary education and specialty training; clinical services to local dairies; research emphasizing dairy medicine and herd health

California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory System—partnership with the California Department of Food and Agriculture for statewide veterinary diagnosis, disease surveillance relevant to public health, research and diagnostic testing methods

Veterinary Medicine Extension—statewide educational outreach and research support to farm producers, veterinarians, agricultural advisors and consumers

UC Veterinary Medical Center - San Diego—specialty veterinary services (nutrition, pharmacy, hemodialysis) and regional partnerships creating specialized veterinary training and collaborative programs benefiting wildlife, zoological and ecosystem health, and comparative medical research

Centers of Excellence—fostering research, teaching and service focused on species interests and multidisciplinary themes: food animal medicine, food safety, equine health, companion animal health, wildlife health and rehabilitation, comparative medicine, vectorborne disease, welfare, tropical disease and more 

The UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine has shaped the field of veterinary medicine, from developing dynamic education programs reflective of today's needs to uncovering solutions for emerging diseases of animals and humans to sharing knowledge with communities worldwide. The school trains the next generation of small and large animal veterinarians as it develops leaders in public health, disease control, food safety, environmental protection, biotechnology, higher education and research. Established in 1946 and opened in 1948, the top-ranked institution has been led by Dean Bennie I. Osburn since 1996.

  • The School of Veterinary Medicine is the only veterinary school in the University of California system.
  • Our faculty have educated more than 5,000 Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree graduates, 1,000 veterinary residents, and 850 Master of Preventive Veterinary Medicine degree candidates.
  • The school ranks among the top veterinary schools in North America according to U.S.News & World Report.
  • Faculty and highly trained staff treat 32,000 animal patients each year at the William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital; at the same time, they teach essential veterinary skills to students and train future specialists in the largest residency program in the nation.
  • Pioneering faculty developed the veterinary specialties of shelter animal medicine, hematology, urology, behavior, dentistry, hemodialysis, feline kidney transplantation, small animal joint replacement, equine surgery, pet nutrition, emergency preparedness and more.
  • School researchers developed health measurement tools that helped set the nation's first air quality standards in the 1970s; veterinary scientists continue to provide data for the Environmental Protection Agency's ongoing refinement of those standards.
  • In addition to the broad array of animal health research, the faculty are heavily engaged in human health investigations. Much of the school's $76 million research budget concerns human health investigations into lung disease, influenza, HIV/AIDS, malaria, West Nile virus, Lyme disease, autism, and other disorders.
  • The International Laboratory of Molecular Biology for Tropical Disease developed a genetically engineered vaccine for rinderpest and an inexpensive diagnostic kit designed to be stable under field conditions. In Africa and other regions dependent on cattle for meat, milk products and work, rinderpest has caused famine and economic damage — an estimated $500 million in one outbreak of the 1980s.
  • The Veterinary Genetics Laboratory, established in the 1950s as a blood-typing laboratory for the purpose of verifying parentage for cattle registries, has pioneered DNA-based animal parentage verification in many species to provide pedigree validation, forensic services, diagnostic tests and genetic disease research in large animals, pets and wildlife species.
  • Veterinary researchers first described simian and feline immunodeficiency viruses in monkeys and cats, which became the earliest animal models for AIDS research.
  • Food animal veterinarians developed testing services and the J-5 vaccine, which prevents mastitis infections in dairy cattle, saving producers more than $11 million every year.
  • The school offered the world's first Master of Preventive Veterinary Medicine degree program addressing population health, public health and food saftety aspects of veterinary practice; program graduates now contribute to animal health, food safety and leading positions in public health programs in 75 countries.
  • Wildlife veterinarians, in cooperation with the California Department of Fish and Game, administer the Oiled Wildlife Care Network, an international model for rescue and rehabilitation of oiled sea birds and other small marine species; its research emphasizes ensuring the best achievable care for injured animals.
  • School centers provide indispensable health services, research and education for the largest agricultural economy in the world:
    • California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory System — Davis, Turlock, Fresno, Tulare, and San Bernardino
    • Veterinary Medicine Extension — Davis and Tulare
    • Veterinary Medicine Teaching and Research Center — Tulare
    • Western Institute for Food Safety and Security — Davis
    • Center for Food Animal Health — Davis
  • School of Veterinary Medicine pathologists first characterized the bluetongue virus, a disease that causes serious illness in sheep as well as economic impacts on the international movement of cattle. School scientists first developed bluetongue testing and vaccine strategies for livestock — other scientific discoveries have influenced global trade policies. This work remains important as the ecology of the disease continues to change and challenge the agricultural industry.
  • Professor emeritus Murray E. Fowler created the world's first zoological medicine program at the School of Veterinary Medicine; the Sacramento Zoo honored his pioneering achievements and the school's ongoing partnership with the zoo in 2006 by naming its veterinary hospital in his honor.
  • A new species called Bartonella chomelii is named in honor of Bruno B. Chomel, who isolated Bartonella bovis, the bacterial agent of cat scratch fever, from domestic cattle; he has identified new vectors for the virus, which can cause serious disease in immunocompromised people.
  • Researchers specializing in nutrition and cardiology documented the link between a lack of dietary taurine, an amino acid, and feline dilated cardiomyopathy, a fatal heart ailment. This science-based discovery convinced pet food companies to add taurine to commercial pet food, saving countless lives.
  • A gene mutation responsible for a devastating heart disease in cats — also a leading cause of sudden death in young athletes — was identified by a research team that included veterinary heart specialists at the School of Veterinary Medicine; this was the first report of a spontaneous genetic mutation causing any type of heart disease in a cat or dog.
  • California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory System toxicologists discovered that melamine and cyanuric acid, found in samples of pet food recalled in 2007, can be lethal to cats when combined; the study has helped veterinarians better diagnose the causes of kidney failure in cats.
  • A team of veterinary orthopedists and pathologists has documented the presence of previously existing stress fractures in racehorses that suffer catastrophic injuries; this research group has also described the role of "toe grab" racing shoes in racehorse injury, leading to a ban of the shoes in California.
  • Clinical faculty and staff developed the "Anderson sling" to support recovering horses and conduct airlift rescue of large animals; the device was used with renowned racehorse Barbaro after his devastating injury and an adapted version of the sling has been deployed in several airlift rescues of large animals.
  • Large animal clinicians developed the first disaster preparedness plans to include animals and animal rescue in natural disasters — the team has deployed volunteers, expertise and other support during Northern California floods in 1997, Hurricane Floyd, Hurricane Katrina and 2006 wildfires in Yolo County.
  • Veterinarians at the school first identified Neospora caninum, developed diagnostic tests and provided research support for the first vaccine. The protozoan parasite, the most common cause of abortions in cattle, costs cattle producers an estimated $35 million per year in lost animals and reduced milk production.
  • Food animal researchers collaborated with Stanford University to develop a modified live, genetically altered Salmonella dublin vaccine for calves; it is one of the only Salmonella vaccines available for cattle.
  • Parasitologists at the School of Veterinary Medicine first revealed the role of cat feces in the transmission of Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite that causes a fatal brain disease in California's endangered sea otters.

Notable Alumni

  • Werner Heuschele '52, DVM '56: Dr. Heuschele managed the San Diego Zoo veterinary hospital and directed the Center for Reproduction of Endangered Species, now the largest zoo-based multidisciplinary research team in the world.
  • Tsegaye Habtemariam, MPVM '77, Ph.D '79: Dr. Habtemariam has served as dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine, Nursing and Allied Health at Tuskegee University since 2006.
  • Roger Newton, Ph.D. '80: Dr. Newton, who completed his doctorate in the Department of Molecular Biosciences at the School of Veterinary Medicine, is the co-inventor of the cholesterol-reducing drug Lipitor.
  • Marguerite Pappaioanou, MPVM '76, Ph.D. '82: Dr. Pappaioanou was acting deputy director of science and policy for the Office of Global Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She developed the design for a national HIV surveillance system and received the U.S. Public Health Service Commendation and Outstanding Service Medals and the Charles C. Shepard Science Award for the scientific paper, "Prevalence of HIV Infection in Childbearing Women in the United States."
  • Russell Burton, DVM '56, Ph.D. '70: As a scientist at the United States Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine and its research laboratory, Dr. Burton made outstanding contributions to aviation and space physiology research on combating the effects of extreme gravitational forces upon pilots. He co-holds a patent for a pressure attachment for valves on anti-G suits and received the 1998 Scientific Achievement Award, Research and Technology Organization from NATO.
  • Elizabeth Arnold Stone, DVM '76: Dr. Stone has served as dean of the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada.
  • Richard E. Breitmeyer, DVM '80, MPVM '90: Dr. Breitmeyer has served as the State Veterinarian of California since 1993, overseeing agricultural, veterinary and food safety programs, including the California Egg Quality Assurance Program, a nationally recognized voluntary food safety program; quarantines; eradication of exotic Newcastle disease in poultry in 2003; animal health emergency response planning; and other efforts marked by extraordinary cooperation among academics, public health agencies, and agricultural industries.
  • Peter N. Quesenberry, DVM '78, MPVM '91: For 27 years, Dr. Quesenberry has worked throughout Asia with the Christian Veterinary Mission and served as the regional Asia director for World Concern. He is a recipient of the Emil M. Mrak International Award.
  • Frederick Murphy, Ph.D. '64: Professor emeritus and former dean of the UC Davis School of Medicine, Dr. Murphy was director of the National Center for Infectious Diseases at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He played a key role in the discovery of the deadly Ebola virus in 1976 and worked extensively on rabies, viral encephalitis and other diseases transmitted from animals to humans. Dr. Murphy was the sole veterinarian elected in 1999 to the Institute of Medicine, the medical science arm of the National Academy of Sciences.
  • Michael J. McCloskey, residency '81: Dr. McCloskey played a major role as a resident to integrate individual animal medicine, reproduction and epidemiological concepts into patient treatment services. His dynamic career includes sophisticated dairy practice and scientific application of a procedure to maintain milk quality while reducing shipping costs. Dr. McCloskey established several progressive milk and cheese businesses, notably the Fair Oaks Dairy Adventure in Indiana, a dairy, amusement park and consumer education center.
  • Bill Kortum, DVM '53: An environmental activist, Dr. Kortum helped establish Salt Point State Park in Northern California, maintain public access at Sonoma County beaches, and prevent construction of a nuclear power plant in Bodega Bay. A bluffside trail at Sonoma State Beach is named in his honor.

William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital

Small Animal Clinic

Large Animal Clinic

Emergency services available 365 days a year

(530) 752-1383
(530) 752-2801 - Fax

Office of the Dean
University of California
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616


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