When the University of California launched the School of Veterinary Medicine at its Davis campus 75 years ago, the school founders adopted an innovative outlook to research. They created a department of clinical pathology to bridge the basic sciences to clinical innovation, transformed livestock medicine from an individual animal approach to herd health, and emphasized functional anatomy in the curriculum to create a simultaneous focus on physiology, pathology, and clinical practice.
Those innovations ensured that the University of California-Davis (UC Davis) would produce leading scientific and clinical breakthroughs while sending top-notch graduates into practice. In addition, as the university campus grew around the school, it provided new opportunities for collaboration across disciplines like engineering, biological sciences, and human medicine.
Today, the school receives the most research funding of any veterinary school—$89 million in 2021 to 2022—and is engaged globally, conducting research in the one-health paradigm.
Two research centers that receive significant philanthropic support are important to UC Davis’ success. The Center for Companion Animal Health supports research into health issues affecting dogs, cats, and other small pets, while the Center for Equine Health supports horse health research. Together they provide more than $2 million annually to advance faculty research.
Breakthroughs that have occurred with their support include the identification of the cause of canine chondrodystrophy that results in millions of disk herniations each year, a cure for FIP—a disease previously 100% lethal to cats—and the development of the standing equine PET scanner, enabling highly accurate diagnosis and management of lameness in horses.
Another key component of UC Davis’ success is its Veterinary Center for Clinical Trials. The center coordinates and implements all aspects of trials—including collaborations with the School of Medicine, Department of Engineering, and other partners—across a variety of species and medical disciplines. Currently, the center is sponsoring 65 trials.
UC Davis is active in many areas of veterinary research—a few are highlighted below.