University of Minnesota

The University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine

The University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine was established in 1947. In addition to a four-year doctor of veterinary medicine (DVM) program, the college offers MS and PhD graduate programs and a dual-degree DVM/master of public health program. Signature research includes infectious disease, genomics, comparative medicine, raptor conservation, public health, epidemiology, and dairy, swine, and avian medicine. The college is home to the University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center and Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, as well as the Center for Animal Health and Food Safety, Leatherdale Equine Center, and The Raptor Center.1947    The Minnesota State Legislature allocates funds to establish the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. The first class consists of 24 students.

  • 1949 - Researchers invent a diagnostic test for brucellosis (commonly known as Bang’s disease) in dairy cows. By 1959, brucellosis is virtually eliminated.
  • 1950s - Veterinary pathologist William J. Hadlow conducts experiments that link neurological disorders in animals and people.  These finding lay the groundwork for uncovering the cause of diseases collectively known today as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies.
  • 1960 - The Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (VDL) opens. With the help of a U.S. Public Health Service grant, the college acquires the first electron microscope to be used in an American veterinary college.
  • 1963 - Researchers help eliminate infectious sinusitis, a respiratory disease in turkeys.
  • 1970-1981 - The Minnesota Disease Reporting System is developed and validated by Drs. Stanley L. Diesch, Donald Johnson, Frank W. Martin, and L.T. Christensen. The system becomes the prototype for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Animal Health Reporting System.
  • 1974 - Drs. Gary Duke and Pat Redig establish The Raptor Center at a time when little is known about avian fracture repair and anesthesia. Today, the orthopedic surgery, soft-tissue management, and rehabilitation techniques developed for birds at The Raptor Center are the standard throughout the world.
  • 1976 - Dr. Allen D. Leman and James Hanson develop a continuing education program for swine veterinarians that evolves into the Leman Swine Conference, an annual international meeting encompassing innovations in research, education, and production.
  • 1980s - Researchers develop PigCHAMP (computerized health and management program) for swine data collection to aid research. Today, the product is the most widely used farm software package for tracking swine production and producers in 55 countries.
  • 1981 - Led by Dr. Carl Osborne, the Minnesota Urolith Center is established to investigate the causes, cures, and prevention of urolithiasis. The center develops a diet that dissolves urinary stones in cats and dogs, decreasing the need for surgery and preventing deaths. The diet is now manufactured by Hill’s Pet Nutrition.
  • 1984 - Dr. Robert K. Anderson invents a new, humane, and effective head collar training aid for dogs called Gentle Leader. The device is later featured at the Smithsonian Institution as one of the 100 best inventions of the 21st century.
  • 1985 - The Raptor Center develops a diagnostic test for aspergillosis, the most common fatal disease of birds of prey.
  • 1988 - Dr. Ben Pomeroy lays the foundation for the control and eradication of several turkey diseases, which will help poultry disease mortality in Minnesota drop from 25 percent in the 1930s to eight percent in 2004.
  • 1991 - After a worldwide outbreak of porcine respiratory and reproductive syndrome (PRRS), Dr. Jim Collins, director of the VDL, develops a PRRS vaccine that becomes the largest-selling veterinary vaccine in the world. The VDL becomes the first laboratory in the nation to provide high-volume, same-day testing for PRRS.
  • 1992 - Drs. Stephanie Valberg and James Mickelson publish their research on the discovery of polysaccharide storage myopathy, a muscle disease in horses. Their prescribed combination of diet and exercise has benefitted thousands of horses.
  • 1995 - Dr. Pat Redig, cofounder of The Raptor Center, develops the tie-in fixator, a combination of internally and externally applied linked steel pins and acrylic that stabilizes fractures during healing. The device revolutionizes orthopedic management of fractures in birds and is now used by veterinarians worldwide.
  • 1999 - Researchers at the VDL identify the first European strain of PRRS in North America.
  • 2000 - Scientist Carrie Mahlum develops the first test to detect bovine viral diarrhea, saving the beef and dairy industries thousands of dollars each year.
  • 2001 - In collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Dr. Vivek Kapur leads a team that completes the genome sequence of Mycobacterium paratuberculosis, the bacterium that causes Johne’s disease in cattle. Kapur’s team also sequences the genome of Pasturella multocida, a bacterium that causes disease in poultry, cattle, swine, and humans. The breakthrough represents the first entire genome sequence of a veterinary pathogen.
  • The Center for Animal Health and Food Safety is established. With the terrorism attack of September 11, the first year of operation saw activity related to terrorism, anthrax, agroterrorism, and biosecurity.
  • 2003 - Dr. Sagar Goyal develops a vaccine to help stop the spread of a severe respiratory disease caused by avian pneumovirus.
  • 2004 - Drs. Stephanie Valberg and Jim Mickelson identify an inherited disease in American quarter horses called glycogen branching enzyme deficiency.
  • Dr. Mitchell Abrahamsen and other researchers complete sequencing of Cryptosporidium parvum, an intestinal parasite considered to be a major public health threat.
  • 2005 - The VDL develops a new and improved test for PRRS, the leading infectious disease affecting the swine industry.
  • 2006 - Dr. HanSoo Joo licenses Selectigen MJPRRS Technology to MJ Biologics for the production of PRRS viral antigen concentrate subunit vaccine.
  • 2007 - The college opens the University of Minnesota Equine Center.
  • Dr. Sandra Godden and her team identify a method for pasteurizing cow’s milk on-site without a significant loss of immunoglobulin, which allows calves to benefit from the disease-fighting properties of their mother’s milk.
  • 2008 - Dr. James Mickelson, Dr. Ned Patterson, and their team identify a gene highly associated with exercise-induced collapse in Labrador retrievers, and the VDL devises a genetic test for the gene.
  • Drs. Elizabeth Pluhar and John Ohlfest successfully perform the first experimental therapy for dogs with a type of fatal brain cancer. The shepherd-mix dog, named Batman, lived two more years cancer-free and died from an unrelated cause. This promising experimental therapy has since been used on humans, as well as many additional dogs.
  • Dr. Jaime Modiano collaborates with North Carolina State University researcher Dr. Matthew Breen to identify a common genetic basis for cancer in humans and dogs.
  • 2009 - The college is part of a multidisciplinary team to launch RESPOND, a five-year United States Agency for International Development project to help developing countries better respond to emerging animal diseases that pose a threat to human health.
  • Drs. Jim Mickelson and Stephanie Valberg are part of the first team to publish the horse genome sequence.
  • 2010 - An international consortium of researchers, including Kent Reed at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, publishes the genome sequence of the domesticated turkey.
  • 2011 - The college develops a National Center of Excellence in Dairy Veterinary Medicine, which provides advanced training to senior veterinary students in an intensive eight-week rotation focused on dairy production medicine.
  • 2012 - The college hosts the first Leman China Swine Conference in Xian, China.
  • The college establishes a Food Policy Research Center in collaboration with three other University of Minnesota schools and colleges.
  • 2013 - When porcine epidemic diarrhea virus is confirmed in the U.S. swine population, University of Minnesota researchers develop a rapid diagnostic test.
  • Dr. Stephanie Valberg and a team of researchers discover that the ingestion of hypoglycin A in box elder tree seeds is linked to seasonal pasture myopathy, an equine muscle disease.
  • The American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care designates the University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center as one of nine Level-1 Animal Trauma Centers in the nation.
  • 2014 - The college hosts the first International Conference on One Medicine One Science, drawing attendees from around the world.

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