Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine

The Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine was founded in 1879 as the country’s first public veterinary school, and has graduated more than 7,000 veterinarians. It is one of only 30 veterinary colleges in the United States.

By the Numbers

  • D.V.M. Students: 584
  • Graduate Students: 140
  • Living Alumni:  5,056
  • Faculty: 153 (74 board-certified specialists)
  • Degrees Awarded: D.V.M., M.S., Ph.D.
  • Our alumni are providing leadership in veterinary medicine, animal and human health, food safety, and animal welfare internationally, including all 50 states and 8 countries
  • 81 percent of Iowa’s practicing licensed veterinarians are graduates of the college

The college is a cornerstone of one of the world's largest concentrations of animal health professionals that includes the USDA's National Animal Disease Center, the National Veterinary Services Laboratories, and the Center for Veterinary Biologics in Ames, Iowa.

Alumni and friends of the college help support an exciting teaching, research and service mission:

  • Dr. Butch Baker holds the Dr. David R. Trask Professorship in Entrepreneurial Studies
  • Dr. Eric Burrough holds the Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica Professorship in Food Animal Infectious Diseases
  • Dr. Michael Cho holds the Lloyd Chair in Biomedical Sciences
  • Dr. Jesse Goff holds the Anderson Chair in Veterinary Medicine
  • Dr. Nick Jefferies holds the Ramsey Chair in Veterinary Research
  • Dr. Anumantha Kanathasamy holds the W.E. Lloyd Chair in Neurotoxicology
  • Dr. Arthi Kanthasamy holds the Dean’s Professorship in the College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Dr. Locke Karriker holds the Gustafson Chair for Teaching Excellence
  • Dr. Lisa K. Nolan holds the Dr. Stephen G. Juelsgaard Dean's Chair in Veterinary Medicine
  • Dr. Patrick Phillips holds the Scott and Nancy Armbrust Professorship in Veterinary Medicine

In 1937, resident artist Christian Petersen sculpted the “Gentle Doctor” statue that has become a universal symbol of a gentle, compassionate, caring veterinary profession.


Students become ‘practice-ready’ through hands-on experiences provided through the Lloyd Veterinary Medical Center, Iowa Veterinary Specialties, Swine Medicine Education Center, Blank Park Zoo, Great Plains Veterinary Educational Center, Iowa State Fair, Field Service Unit, Shelter Medicine, new surgery critical care and emergency/specialty clinical mentorship programs, and international programs in places like South Africa and Ecuador.
When compared to the other U.S. colleges of veterinary medicine, Iowa State ranks 21st in residential and 20th in non-resident tuition and fees. 

More than half of our students choose to emphasize in large- or mixed-animal medicine, which is unique among U.S. veterinary colleges.

The college delivers pre-eminent, comprehensive programs in swine, dairy, beef and small ruminant production animal medicine, and animal welfare.

Forty-one student clubs and organizations provide wet labs, hands-on and leadership experiences that help prepare students for their careers after graduation.

The college developed a unique one-year professional master’s degree program in biomedical sciences that is designed for pre-professional and industry-bound students.  
Service and Outreach

The Lloyd Veterinary Medical Center is a state-of-the-art regional veterinary medical center and teaching hospital that is fully accredited by the American Association of Animal Hospitals.

Large and small animal hospitals recently underwent a $105 million renovation and expansion program and treat more than 17,000 cases annually.

The college has a state-of-the-art canine rehabilitation program with Iowa’s only board-certified specialist in canine rehabilitation and sports medicine.

The Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (VDL) is Iowa’s only fully accredited, full service veterinary laboratory.  It was one of the original 12 laboratories funded to implement a monitoring and reporting system as part of the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN) and is accredited by the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians (AAVLD).

The VDL serves Iowa’s $14-billion+ animal agriculture industry with timely, high-quality diagnostic testing, processing 55,000 cases and performing more than a million tests annually. Its researchers have accounted for a number of critical accomplishments.

  • First to identify and diagnose a new and highly virulent virus Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PEDv)
  • First to sequence and fully characterize PEDv in the U.S.
  • First to develop and make a same-day PEDv-PCR diagnostic assay and antibody test available
  • Helped establish that hog cholera was a viral disease and developed a vaccine to protect a developing hog industry in the early 1900s.
  • Played a key role in efforts to eradicate pseudorabies, a highly contagious swine disease.
  • Determined the causes of atrophic rhinitis and isolated the cause of one form of pneumonia in swine. 
  • Developed vaccines and diagnostic control methods for infectious bronchitis in chickens.
  • Led research that reduced disease causing lactational failure in sows.
  • Discovered the first animal strain of hepatitis E virus and determined it differed from human virus.
  • Detected the first new subtype of Swine Influenza Virus since 1918.
The Swine Medicine Education Center is the country’s only one of its kind in the country, educating students from 17 veterinary colleges and veterinary professionals from 29 countries.

The Center for Food Security and Public Health (CFSPH) is an international resource that:
  • Developed a comprehensive Web-based library of resources on transboundary animal diseases, zoonotic diseases and emergency response that received almost 27 million hits in 2013.
  • Delivers training modules for the USDA’s National Veterinary Accreditation Program.
  • Developed and delivers the Emerging and Exotic Diseases of Animals course that is used by all U.S. colleges of veterinary medicine and by veterinarians who are seeking to become accredited. 

The Institute for International Cooperation in Animal Biologics (IICAB) is a World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) Collaborating Center for the Diagnosis of Animal Diseases and Vaccine Evaluation in the Americas.  More than 2,300 people from 89 countries have attended its annual Veterinary Biologics Training Program since 1996.

College faculty led the effort to establish an academic Alliance for Animal Health in the Americas, focusing on animal health, veterinary services, long-term institutional change and rural economic development.

The college hosts a number of international conferences each year, including courses in external skeletal fixation and advanced spinal surgery, and one of the most attended swine disease conferences for veterinarians in North America. 


Historically, college researchers have led in protecting and improving animal and human health, including:

  • Playing key roles in the eradication of swine cholera and prevention of rabies
  • Developing key vaccines in swine medicine including

o   First Bordetella bronchiseptica vaccine against atrophic rhinitis 

o   First  live avirulent vaccine against Salmonella choleraesuis 

o   First USDA licensed vaccine to fight Porcine Circovirus

Currently, college researchers are playing key roles in efforts to: 
  • Control infectious diseases such as PEDv, BSE, respiratory diseases, salmonellosis, colibacillosis, campylobactreriosis, antibiotic-resistant pathogens, food-bourne pathogens, and HIV.
  • Control parasitic diseases such as leishmaniasis; neurologic diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s; prion diseases; and spinal muscular atrophy.
  • Develop new diagnostic tools for livestock diseases; identify emerging diseases; improve delivery methods for medications; and develop interventions that improve food safety and security.
  • Develop novel vaccine antigens and vaccine and therapeutic drug delivery methods.
  • Use genome wide approaches to better understand the gut-brain connection and the epidemiology of infectious disease.
The college provides leadership to Iowa State University’s Integrative and Innovative Health Initiative.  In addition, it has approximately one-third of the National Institutes of Health grants at Iowa State and is a leader among U.S. veterinary colleges in USDA research funds expenditures.

The college is home to two university-wide interdisciplinary research centers:     
  • The Iowa Center for Advanced Neurotoxicology (ICAN) focuses on bridging the scientific fields of toxicology and neuroscience and their role in human and animal health.
  • The Center for Advanced Host Defense Immunobiotics and Translational Comparative Medicine (CAHDIT) focuses on developing novel vaccine immunobiotics and detection assays. 

Total research expenditures for the college in 2013 were $19.6 million*.

*Source:  2013 AAVMC Comparative Data Report, internal and external research expenditures.