History of the AVMA

Correspondence among practitioners along the East Coast led to a national convention of veterinary surgeons in 1863 in New York. The first meeting was attended by 40 delegates representing seven states: New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maine, Ohio and Delaware.

Elected officers included the French-trained Dr. Alexandre Liautard, who headed the American Veterinary College in New York and was a dominant voice in the profession during this period. Under the direction of Liautard, New York became the unofficial headquarters of the USVMA and the American Veterinary Review was founded to be the voice of the profession. The USVMA was renamed the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) in 1898.

In 1900, Liautard returned to France and the American Veterinary Review changed its name to the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA); it featured contributions from noted veterinary practitioners in what was rapidly becoming a recognized medical profession. By 1913, the AVMA had grown to 1,650 members. Membership requirements were revised so that being a graduate of a three-year, accredited veterinary school became mandatory (prior to this, self-proclaimed practitioners could be members of the association).

Four women graduated from U.S. Veterinary schools in 1915 and began practicing.

The American Journal of Veterinary Research joined JAVMA in 1940 and the publication evolved to become the primary forum for veterinarians to publish basic and clinical research studies.

Today, the American Veterinary Medical Association has more than 85,000 members. These professionals use their skills to care for the health and well being of humans, animals, and the environment.

In addition to caring for the nation's more than 70 million dogs, 80 million cats, 11 million birds, 7 million pet horses, and millions of other companion animals, veterinarians serve in medical research, prevention of bio- and agroterrorism, and food safety and contribute greatly to scientific breakthroughs throughout the world.

More Information:

AVMA Officers and Annual Meetings, by Year (PDF)

AVMA Executive Board Members, by Year (PDF)