University of Pennsylvania

University of Pennsylvania, Penn Vet

Penn Vet is a global leader in veterinary medicine education, research, and clinical care. Founded in 1884, Penn Vet is the only veterinary school developed in association with a medical school. The school is a proud member of the One Health Initiative, linking human, animal, and environmental health.

Penn Vet serves a diverse population of animals at its two campuses, which include extensive diagnostic and research laboratories. Ryan Hospital in Philadelphia provides care for dogs, cats, and other domestic/companion animals, handling more than 31,000 patient visits a year. New Bolton Center, Penn Vet’s large-animal hospital on nearly 700 acres in rural Kennett Square, PA, cares for horses and livestock/farm animals. The hospital handles more than 4,000 patient visits a year, while the Field Service treats nearly 36,000 patients on local farms. In addition, New Bolton Center’s campus includes a swine center, working dairy, and poultry unit that provide valuable research for the agriculture industry.

  • 1884 - School is established in Philadelphia.
  • 1887 - First class of ten men graduates.
  • 1891 - Dr. Leonard Pearson uses first tuberculin test to control bovine tuberculosis.
  • 1900 - Penn Vet establishes the first veterinary conference for practitioners in the US; this annual continuing education event continues today as the Penn Annual Conference.
  • 1907 - Building of the Quadrangle begins. It was completed in 1913.
  • 1921 - First brucellosis-free herd of cattle in US established by Dr. Ernest C. Deubler, V’11.
  • 1924-25 - Presence of avian influenza virus in US identified by Dr. Evan L. Stubbs, V’11.
  • 1938 - Josephine Deubler is the first woman to graduate from the School.
  • 1940 - Dr. Alfred Kissileff, V’33, successfully produces a calf through artificial insemination, the first in Pennsylvania.
  • 1945 - Aseptic surgery introduced to veterinary medicine by Dr. Mark Allam, V’32.
  • 1950s - Drs. David K. Detweiler, V’42, and John T. McGrath, V’43, begin to develop specialties in veterinary cardiology and neuropathology, respectively.
  • 1952 - 220 acres acquired in Chester County, future home of Penn Vet’s New Bolton Center.
  • 1960s - Equine orthopedic surgery is significantly advanced by Dr. Jacques Jenny at New Bolton Center. Drs. Robert Brodey and Lonny Rubin start the veterinary specialties of oncology and ophthalmology, respectively. The Comparative Cardiovascular Studies Unit is created.
  • 1964 - Large Animal Hospital dedicated at New Bolton Center.
  • 1969 - First endowed professorship at a veterinary school is established at Penn Vet.
  • 1969 - National Institutes of Health fund nation’s first VMD/PhD program.
  • 1970s - The Center for Food Animal Health and Productivity, Aquavet, and the Bovine Leukemia Research Center—all firsts—are created at Penn Vet.
  • 1970 - Core curriculum established at Penn Vet.
  • 1973 - Section of Medical Genetics established, still the only one at a veterinary school.
  • 1975 - Pool system for large animals recovering from anesthesia opens at New Bolton Center.
  • 1977 - Center for Interaction of Animals and Society established.
  • 1980 - George D. Widener Hospital for Large Animals opens at New Bolton Center.
  • 1981 – The Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania opens.
  • 1981 - Dr. Ralph Brinster, V’60, with Dr. Richard Palmiter, develops the first transgenic animals.
  • 1981 - The world’s first test-tube calf, Virgil, is born at New Bolton Center. The research team is headed by Dr. Benjamin G. Brackett.
  • 1987 – The Penn Animal Blood Bank and donor program are established.
  • 1989 - Dr. Mattie Hendrick, V’78, provides the first link between vaccination and the development of fibrosarcomas in cats.
  • 1990s - Dr. Jim Ferguson and his team at New Bolton Center develop the concept of systematic breeding of dairy cows in an integrated program, a novel strategy that becomes the basis of many programs still employed throughout the global dairy industry.
  • 1990 - Medical Genetics researchers develop first allele-specific test for an inherited disease in domestic animals.
  • 1990 - The Connelly Intensive Care Unit/Graham French Neonatal Section, the first building built specifically for the care or critically ill large animals, opens at New Bolton Center.
  • 1991 - First animal blood mobile put into service.
  • 1993 - First endowed deanship at a veterinary school established.
  • 1993 - PennHIP?, a new diagnostic procedure for canine hip dysplasia established.
  • 1994 - The Mari Lowe Center for Comparative Oncology Research is established, working closely with other centers within the School and across campus to develop broad-based clinical oncology and interdisciplinary cancer research and training programs.
  • 1996 - Marshak Dairy, the first greenhouse style dairy complex in Pennsylvania, is dedicated at New Bolton Center.
  • 2000s - Penn Vet pioneers the introduction of genetically modified and in vitro grown spermatogonial stem cells into the testis of a sterile mouse. The foreign gene introduced through the male germ cells glows under ultraviolet light in the photograph of transgenic mice. This technology will provide a type of biological immortality to males of many mammalian species. The Veterinary Center for Infectious Diseases is established. The Center is committed to improving the health of animals through research on infectious diseases and is home to expertise in virology, bacteriology, parasitology, immunology, and epidemiology.
  • 2001 - New swine facility fostering the latest humane methods in swine rearing opens at New Bolton Center.
  • 2001 - Dr. Gus Aguirre’s team is the first to restore vision in a blind dog, Lancelot, using gene therapy.
  • 2003 – The Veterinary Hospital is renamed the Matthew J. Ryan Veterinary Hospital in honor of long-time friend and legislator Matthew J. Ryan.
  • 2004 - The Veterinary Clinical Investigation Center opens as the first veterinary research facility dedicated to the establishment of clinical trials directed at investigating novel treatments or diagnostic tools in a variety of spontaneous disease processes.
  • 2008 - The University launches the Institute for Regenerative Medicine housed at Penn Vet, a new cross-disciplinary endeavor to investigate and harness the therapeutic potential of stem cells in treatment of cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, degenerative diseases, wound healing, and aging. Dr. John Gearhart, who led a research team that first identified and isolated human embryonic stem cells, is named director of the institute.
  • 2011 - Dr. Ralph Brinster, V’60, is honored by President Barack Obama with a 2010 National Medal of Science, the highest accolade bestowed by the United States government on scientists and engineers. Dr. Brinster is the first veterinarian to receive the award.
  • 2011 - Ryan Hospital opens its state-of-the-art minimally invasive surgical suite. The Buerger Family Foundation Surgery Suite is the first of its kind in any veterinary teaching hospital and is one of the only operating rooms in veterinary medicine that offers a comprehensive array of minimally invasive surgical procedures for companion animals.
  • 2012 – The Penn Vet Working Dog Center opens. The Center is the first of its kind dedicated to harnessing the unique strengths of our canine partners and producing an elite group of scent-detection dogs for public safety and health.
  • 2013 – Ryan Hospital is designated the only VECCS Certified Level I Facility and verified Veterinary Trauma Center.
  • 2013 – The Center for Host-Microbial Interactions forms as an interdisciplinary center that helps faculty leverage cutting-edge genomic approaches to understand how microbes influence health and disease in both animals and humans.

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