1980 to 1988 Timeline


A Cobalt-60 therapy unit was donated to the OVC by the Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto. Upon its instillation, it was the first supervoltage radiation in veterinary medicine in Canada. A human radiation technician was initially hired to see cases. The unit is used primarily on dogs and cats but is occasionally used on horses and research animals. The OVC currently has a more modern unit and is being upgraded for the Cancer Centre.

1980R. Jacobs

Dr. V.E. Valli and OVC graduate student R. Jacobs published a paper on serum electrophoresis and quantification of immunoglobin. This was a descriptive paper on the changes of serum proteins in cattle infected with bovine leukemia virus (BLV) with and without lymphoma. This was the first paper to thoroughly characterize the serum protein changes in cattle with lymphoma. Dr. Valli's laboratory studied BLV and lymphoma in cattle for many years.



Wild Bird Clinic with John Spero and Einstein1981

The Wild Bird Clinic of the OVC was established by Dr. Bruce Hunter in 1981. The clinic, funded by the Max Bell Foundation and the World Wildlife Fund, was the only one of its kind in Canada. The clinic paid special attention to the treatment and reintroduction to the wild of injured birds of prey and provided services to wildlife professionals and the public through support and funding from the Veterinary Teaching Hospital and the Department of Pathobiology. The Wild Bird Clinic grew in popularity, treating around four hundred cases a year. It moved locations around the University for some time before ultimately calling the Small Animal Clinic at the OVC home.

In 1982, a volunteer program was initiated by Jenny Kerrm, Enis Rothman, and Dr. Robin Lane. During the 1990s, volunteers who were not veterinary students were no longer allowed to participate in the indoor aspect of the clinic which resulted in the formation of the Wild Bird Clinic Club. The club offered activities to these volunteers, educational outreach programs, and established numerous councils and committees to help the club function to its full potential.

The Wild Bird Clinic became a vital resource for teaching avian medicine. Fourth year veterinary students were required to spend a week in rotation at the clinic and by 2005 the clinic was an elective to fourth year students. The Wild Bird Clinic closed in 2006 due to budget cutbacks.



Dr. N.O. Nielsen became Dean of the OVC in 1985. Dean Nielsen visualized the college as a community. During his time at Dean, the cafeteria, computer laboratory, I.T. centre, and lecture halls located by the cafeteria were established. Academically, Nielsen established the Department of Population Medicine, with Dr. Wayne Martin named as the first chair.


Karol Mathews1986

Karol Mathews was a surgical resident at the OVC and earned her DVSc in 1986. Her work and passion became a vital aspect in the development of the discipline of Small Animal Critical Care. Mathews became the first Canadian Diplomat of the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care (ACVECC) in 1993. One of the first full-service Canadian veterinary intensive care units was the result of her hard work and efforts. She promoted the emergency and critical care residency training programs at the OVC and has mentored many post-doctoral students. Mathews was the recipient of the ACVECC Scientific Achievement Award in 2002 for her work in pain assessment and management in the critically ill. Her research interests involve emergency and critical care, pain management, and renal transplantation.


Pet Trust was established at the OVC in 1986. Pet Trust allows people to memorialize their pets and fund research that may assist in preventing and curing a number of diseases that affect companion animals. The innovative program provides funding for research on the health and healthcare of companion animals. In addition, Pet Trust was vital in bringing radiation therapy and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to the OVC, as well as scholarships for graduate students specializing in companion animal medicine, and upgrading the Small Animal Clinic's intensive care unit.



The first class of students were admitted to The Atlantic Veterinary College (AVC) in 1986 at the University of Prince Edward Island. Dr. Reginald Thomson, a professor and chair of the Department of Pathology at OVC for over ten years played a pivotal role in the founding of the AVC. Thomson was granted a three-year leave of absence in 1978 to explore the possibility of establishing a veterinary school in the Atlantic region. In 1982, he accepted an appointment as professor of pathology at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Sasktatoon after being unable to convince Atlantic Canadians of the benefit and need for a veterinary school in the region. Eventually, in 1986, the AVC was established and Thomson was named its first Dean.


Bovine Respiratory Disease (BRD), also known as "shipping fever," is a respiratory disease found in large groups of cattle and calves, particularly in feedlots. Signs of BRD may involve nasal discharge, coughing, fever, lack of appetite, depressed look, rapid and/or laboured breathing, stiff gait, and death. Dr. P. Shewen and Dr. B. Wilkie successfully developed a process to create the Presponse vaccine against the bacterium that causes bovine pneumonic pesteurellosis. Shewen and Wilkie focused on a vaccine that that would attack the often fatal secondary infection, as opposed to the first pasteurella bacteria that weakened the cattle. Preseponse first hit the market in 1987. The vaccine is the most commercially successful patented veterinary vaccine and the patents (which belong to the University of Guelph) have benefited the institution for many years.