The Atlantic Veterinary College (AVC) at the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) is located on the east coast of Canada. Like the province in which it resides, AVC is small but mighty, punching well above its weight both nationally and internationally in research, education, and service.
Established in 1983, AVC was created to meet the needs of a growing profession and national staffing forecasts that called for more veterinarians and the capacity to train them. In 1986, AVC enrolled its first class, and since the graduation of that class in 1990, AVC has educated more than 1,800 veterinarians in a program that has maintained the AVMA’s Council on Education accreditation throughout the college’s history.
With a total student population of approximately 270 over the 4-year DVM program, AVC maintains one of the smallest class sizes among North American veterinary colleges. This results in a close-knit and supportive community environment where professors and staff know students by their first names. While at AVC, our students learn from and work with faculty and clinicians who are internationally renowned in their disciplines.
AVC has also built an impressive record in research and service regionally, nationally, and internationally, particularly in the fields of aquatic animal health, veterinary epidemiology, animal welfare, comparative biomedical sciences, infectious diseases, and public health. As a result, AVC has become renowned for the high quality and strength of its graduate studies program.
Graduate students come from countries around the world to work alongside recognized research leaders and earn master of science, master of veterinary science, and doctor of philosophy degrees in aquatic and terrestrial animal health, human health, and comparative biomedical sciences.
The college’s team of aquatic animal health experts, including several renowned research chairs, has worked directly with the aquaculture and wild fish industries to enhance the healthy development and management of aquatic food animals. On the terrestrial side, AVC is an important resource for agriculture, the equine industry, and companion animals through its research programs and comprehensive veterinary teaching and referral hospital.
The AVC Veterinary Teaching Hospital (VTH) includes food-animal health and production services, equine ambulatory expertise, and a wide range of large- and small-animal clinicians who are board-certified specialists in their fields. Approximately 16,000 large and small animals are treated at the VTH on-site each year, while thousands more are cared for on farms, stables, and racetracks throughout Atlantic Canada.
Research at AVC goes beyond animal health. Highly trained researchers are working to find solutions to human health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, metabolic disorders, epilepsy, and kidney disease. The college collaborates with other universities and health organizations in Atlantic Canada and around the world to advance human health.
Supporting AVC’s programs is its Diagnostic Services unit, which conducts over 400,000 mammalian and aquatic tests each year for clients in Atlantic Canada and beyond. Diagnostic Services also provides a quality assurance program for over 350 veterinary labs around the world.
As the college has grown, so has its curriculum, programs, activities, and physical footprint. The physical building has expanded from its original size of 250,000 square feet to now over 358,000 square feet, with plans for further expansion by 2025. AVC has also reaffirmed its commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) by establishing an EDI committee. The EDI Committee comprises AVC staff, students, faculty, alumni, and UPEI staff who make recommendations regarding admissions, curriculum, and college climate. Currently, AVC is also undergoing mapping and review of the curriculum to ensure AVC graduates meet and exceed the required professional competencies.
These improvements enhance service to AVC’s thousands of clients and enrich its teaching, research, and training capacity.