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The Veterinarian and Veterinary Technician, circa 2008
Veterinary medicine experienced its earliest evolution from those who treated their own stock and gained a reputation as a practitioner. Formal education in the United States began with a private school, The Veterinary College of Philadelphia in 1852. The first land grant college was a veterinary program at Iowa State University in 1879. A meeting of practitioners in New York on June 9, 1863, formed the United States Veterinary Medical Association, renamed the American Veterinary Medical Association in 1898.
The first woman to receive a diploma was Elinor McGrath, who graduated from the Chicago Veterinary College in 1910. Cornell University graduated the first woman to receive a DVM degree, Florence Kimball, the same year.
Through out the years, many veterinarians employed a person that acted as a receptionist, cleaned work areas, fed the animals and performed basic nursing duties. In England, as early as 1908, the first effort to train veterinary assistants was made by the Canine Nurses Institute. By 1951, the U.S. Air Force developed the first animal technician training program only available to enlisted members. The State University of New York established the first program for civilians graduating eight students in 1963, with an associate’s degree. The father of veterinary technology is considered to be Walter E. Collins, DVM, who in 1965 was offered federal funding to create a training program for veterinary technicians. It would not be until 1972 that the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) decided to accrediate training programs. The first two were Michigan State University and the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in 1973. The North American Veterinary Technician Association (NAVTA) was formed in 1981, soon to be changed to the National Association of Veterinary Technicians of America; still NAVTA. Today, the profession continues to experience rapid growth and has become an integral part of the veterinary health care profession.
Robert Z. Joseph, D.M.D., M.D.