Improving Animal, Human, and Environmental Health
The College of Veterinary Medicine is uniquely qualified to address some of the world’s most critical problems. Our qualifications arise from the singular role of the veterinary profession, the only health profession trained in multispecies comparative medicine and able to elucidate key interconnections among human health, the environment, and agriculture.Through our professional and graduate degree programs, we supply veterinary scientists who work to improve animal, human, and environmental health. Through our outreach programs we touch the lives of thousands of animals and their owners and provide direct services that place us on the frontline of key economic and public health issues in Illinois. Through our research expertise and facilities, we are making significant contributions to science and facilitating the translation of discoveries in the theoretical sciences into biomedical applications that benefit human and animal health.
The centerpiece of our college is the four-year doctor of veterinary medicine (DVM) degree program. An innovative integrated curriculum introduced in 2009 has attracted the interest of educators around the world and was commended by the veterinary accreditation site visit team in 2013.
The three academic departments – Comparative Biosciences, Pathobiology, and Veterinary Clinical Medicine – also offer master’s degree and PhD degree programs, as well as residencies in a number of veterinary medicine disciplines: anatomic pathology, anesthesiology, clinical pathology, clinical pharmacology, dentistry, dermatology, diagnostic imaging, equine medicine and surgery, food animal medicine and surgery, oncology, ophthalmology, production medicine/theriogenology (reproduction), small animal medicine, small animal surgery, and zoological, wildlife and exotic animal medicine. Internships at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital are non-degree educational programs designed to provide an in-depth knowledge of the management of clinical cases.
The college has three service units: the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory and the services provided in the Illinois Medical District in Chicago. They provide service to animal owners and veterinarians throughout the Midwest.
The veterinary medical complex, comprising the Veterinary Medicine Basic Sciences Building, the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, the Clinical Skills Learning Center, and the Veterinary Medicine South Clinic, is located on South Lincoln Avenue at the southeast corner of campus. The Veterinary Medicine Research Farm is located on 80 acres within two miles of the main campus. The Chicago Center for Veterinary Medicine is within the Illinois Medical District, just west of the Loop.
Major Contributions from Illinois Veterinary Medicine
The college has a proud history of innovation and discovery. Many alumni and faculty have served as elected presidents of veterinary specialty organizations or as university presidents, including:
- Dr. Erwin Small (IL DVM ’56), president, ACVIM’s Specialty of Small Animal Internal Medicine and American College of Veterinary Dermatology
- Dr. John Thurmon, president, American College of Veterinary Anesthesiology
- Dr. Brendan McKiernan, president, Comparative Respiratory Society
- Dr. Lloyd Helper (IL DVM ’55), president, American College of Veterinary Ophthalmology
- Dr. Ann Johnson, president, American College of Veterinary Surgeons
- Dr. Wanda Haschek, president, Society of Toxicologic Pathology and Society of Toxicology’s Comparative and Veterinary Specialty Section
- Dr. Karen Campbell, president, American College of Veterinary Dermatology
- Dr. Sandra Manfra, president, American Veterinary Dental College
- Dr. Dennis French, president, American Board of Veterinary Practitioners
- Dr. Anthony A. Frank (IL DVM ’85), president, Colorado State University
- Dr. Joe DiPietro (IL DVM ’76), president, University of Tennessee
- Dr. Laura Garrett (IL DVM ’91), president, Veterinary Cancer Society
- Dr. Anne Barger (IL DVM ’96), president, American College of Veterinary Pathologists
A selection of achievements and college milestones follows.
1940s to 1960s
- 1948 The new University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine enrolled its first Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree class, comprised of 24 veterans of World War II.
- 1948 Dr. Norman D. Levine, known as the “Father of Modern Protozoology,” joined the veterinary faculty when the college was established in 1948, and continued scholarly productivity many years after receiving emeritus status in 1983. He was an internationally respected authority on parasitology and on the taxonomy of the protozoa. Among his many books are the two-volume The Protozoan Phylum Apicomplexa (he had named this phylum) and the text Veterinary Protozoology, which was first issued in 1961 and revised in 1973 and 1985.
- 1962 Dr. John Thurmon joined the Illinois faculty and, in 1975, helped establish the American College of Veterinary Anesthesiologists. In conjunction with Drs. William Tranquilli and John Benson, Illinois provided leadership in advancing veterinary anesthesia, particularly injectable anesthesia and analgesia, including the development of “triple drip” anesthesia for large animals.
1970s to 1980s
- 1970 The college adopted the first computer-assisted instructional program in the world, called PLATO (Programmed Logic for Automatic Teaching Operations), which was developed on the Urbana campus in the 1960s. Within four years, nearly 400 hours of instructional material drawn from throughout the veterinary curriculum were made available through PLATO. The college remains a pioneer in the use of emerging educational technologies.
- 1972 Dr. Lloyd Davis and colleagues published a seminal paper in veterinary pharmacology on “species differences in transformation and excretion of salicylate,” that demonstrated for the first time that dose regimens cannot be extrapolated from one species to another, a common practice prior to that time.
- 1978 Dr. William Buck and his graduate students established the first animal-oriented poison hot line, answering calls around-the-clock using a paging service and tapping into their extensive database of information specific to animal poisoning. The National Animal Poison Control Center operated at the College of Veterinary Medicine from 1978 to 1996, when it was transferred to the ASPCA.
- 1979 Dr. Robert Twardock pioneered the field of equine nuclear medicine, developing non-invasive techniques for diagnosis of equine lameness and lung problems that had gone otherwise undetected by conventional diagnostic techniques.
- 1980s Dr. Ann Johnson and colleagues pioneered the use of models to teach surgical skills to veterinary students. This work paved the way for the establishment of the college’s comprehensive Clinical Skills Learning Center in 2009.
- 1991 Dr. Wanda Haschek-Hock coauthored the first edition of Haschek and Rousseaux’s Handbook of Toxicologic Pathology. The single-volume first edition became the definitive text in the field and was replaced in 2002 with a two-volume second edition and in 2013 with a three-volume third edition; Dr. Matthew Wallig, also on the Illinois faculty, was a coauthor on the second and third editions.
- 1991 An era of equine sports medicine research was launched with the acquisition of a horse treadmill capable of carrying a horse galloping at 30 miles per hour. Dr. Jonathan Foreman’s work on exercising horses in heat and humidity influenced the monitoring of equestrian sports at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics 1996, and Drs. Thomas Goetz and Murli Manohar elucidated the mechanisms and drugs used to treat exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage, which affects up to 90% of racing Thoroughbred horses.
- 1991 Under the leadership of Dr. LeRoy Biehl, Illinois introduced the Executive Veterinary Program in Swine Health Management, a two-year certificate program focused on business, communication and strategic planning skills; over the following 23 years, more than 200 top swine veterinarians and producers, including many representing the world’s largest pork companies, participated in this award-winning program.
- 1993 The college’s Zoological Pathology Program was founded as a two-person service that provided comprehensive diagnostic services to institutions in the Chicago area. It has grown to a six-person service that works with federal wildlife agencies, zoos, and conservation organizations on three continents and has an international reputation for excellence in diagnostic service, scholarship, and education of residents and veterinary students.
- 2001 Dr. Susan Schantz established the FRIENDS Children’s Environmental Health Center, funded by EPA and NIEHS, to investigate the interactive effects of PCBs and methyl mercury (MeHg) on neurodevelopment; in 2013 she received full funding for a second Children’s Environmental Health Center, to study effects of plastics chemicals on human development.
- 2005 Dr. Indrani Bagchi develops and in 2006 applies for a patent for Ulipristal, an emergency contraceptive using endothelin receptor antagonists. In 2012 she became the second faculty member, after Dr. Paul Cooke, to hold the college’s endowed Field Chair in Reproductive Biology.
- 2008 Dr. Val Beasley, who for decades investigated causes of worldwide declines amphibian species, coauthored an article in Nature reporting on the impact of agrochemicals in increasing trematode infections in amphibians.
- 2009 The College of Veterinary Medicine introduced an innovative integrated curriculum that added 24 weeks of clinical rotations in the first three years of the program and tested students with written and clinical “milestone examinations” at two points in their studies.
- 2009 The College of Veterinary Medicine opened the Chicago Center for Veterinary Medicine, its headquarters for clinical service, education, and recruitment in the state’s urban center. In 2016, Veterinary Behavior at Illinois began offering consultations for pet owners in Chicago.
- 2013 Drs. Susan Schantz and Jodi Flaws receive full funding for a new Children’s Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research Center, this one to investigate the health effects of exposure to chemicals widely used in plastics.
- 2015 An anticancer agent called PAC-1 entered phase I clinical trials in humans. PAC-1 was developed by Illinois chemistry professor Paul Hergenrother and shown to be effective in treating spontaneously occurring cancers in pet dogs through collaborative research with Dr. Tim Fan.
- 2015 Drs. Brian Aldridge and Jim Lowe launched the college’s first MOOC (massive, open online course), delivering problem-solving skills needed in sustainable food production to thousands of students worldwide.
- 2015 A new mobile surgical unit, funded through a grant from PetSmart Charities, enabled the college’s shelter medicine program to increase the scope and volume of spay and neuter surgeries students perform in underserved areas.
- 2016 The college acquired a 3-Tesla magnetic resonance imaging unit to support its growing neurology, cardiology, and equine services.
- 2017 The college began delivering an Executive Veterinary Program tailored to beef veterinarians in Olathe, Kan., in conjunction with Kansas State University.