The World Small Animal Veterinary Association - A History

Early years

Veterinarians in the UK launched the original impetus to organize a specialist group for small animal veterinary care - an initiative which led first to the creation of the British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) and, later, to the WSAVA.

In 1956, at a meeting of the World Veterinary Association, the decision was taken to sectionalise World Congresses and grant affiliation to specialist associations to encourage closer contact between colleagues working in the same field.  A group of British veterinarians then decided to form a specialist group in the UK, similar to the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) which had been established for some time.  They believed that, once a UK association had been established, other European countries would follow and the creation of an international association would then be possible.  The BSAVA held its inaugural meeting in March 1957.

At a meeting in Madrid, Spain, in 1959, representatives from Denmark, Holland, Italy, Germany, Mexico, Norway, Portugal, the UK and the USA, created an organization called the International Association of Small Animal Specialists (IASAS).  It had an Executive Committee and a set of Statutes.  Its first meeting was sponsored by the BSAVA and took place in London in 1961.  One of its first decisions was to rename itself the World Small Animal Veterinary Association.

Initial progress was slow but, with each World Congress, more associations joined, attendance increased, and the committees became more effective.  The Journal of Small Animal Practice, which had become the WSAVA's official publication, helped to share information between countries.

By the end of 1977, associations in 18 countries had joined, representing 8,000 small animal veterinarians globally.  As time went on, more and more organizations became involved and, as sponsors also came on board, the work of the WSAVA became more diverse and more far-reaching.  A further boost to its momentum came with the fall of the Iron Curtain in Europe in 1989.  This sparked the formation of further national small animal associations and specialist groups, which, in turn, joined the WSAVA.

Today, we have 101 veterinary associations globally, representing almost 200,000 veterinarians globally.

Key milestones in our recent history:

1961:  The first World Congress held in London, UK
1980:  The first  collaboration between the WSAVA and World Health Organization takes place - a joint report:  'WHO/WSAVA Guidelines to Reduce the Human Health Risks Associated with Animals in Urban Areas'
1982:  A commercial exhibition is held for the first time alongside the WSAVA World Congress which was hosted in Las Vegas, USA, by  AAHA
1984: The first two WSAVA International Awards (Scientific Achievement and Service to the Profession) are introduced to recognise work 'fostering and enhancing the exchange of scientific and cultural ideas throughout the world'
1984:  World Congresses become annual events rather than taking place every four years and WSAVA membership rules are amended to enable specialist associations to become affiliate members
1985:  The first annual congress takes place in Tokyo, Japan
1992: The WSAVA CE Committee is formed
1993:  The first WSAVA Continuing Education (CE) Conference is held in Prague
2000:  The first of the WSAVA's Standardization Projects - the WSAVA Liver Standardization Research Group -  is launched.  It is later followed by the creation of the Gastrointestinal Standardization and Histopathology of renal disease projects
2003: Royalty graces World Congress which was hosted by the Veterinary Practitioner(s) Association of Thailand in Bangkok. Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn opens the Congress and later tours the exhibition
2005:  A vote is taken to enlarge board to seven members. Relationships with organized regional groups begin to develop with a partnership with FECAVA the first to be formalised
2006:  First WSAVA text book is launched.  Called  Standards for Clinical and Histopathological Diagnosis of Canine and Feline Liver Disease, it is produced by the WSAVA Liver Standardization Group
2006:  The Vaccination Guidelines Group is formed with support from MSD
2006:  The Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) is formed
2006:  The Animal Welfare and Wellness Committee is re-launched
2008:  Hill's Pet Nutrition forms a partnership with WSAVA, becoming its major sponsor
2009:  The WSAVA 50th Anniversary celebration is held in Sao Paulo Brazil
2010: The One Health Committee, Global Pain Council and Global Nutrition Committee are formed 
2011:  A Memorandum of Understanding is signed between WSAVA and OIE to promote increased collaboration in One Health
2011:  The WSAVA Foundation, the WSAVA's charitable trust, is created
2012:  A Permanent Congress Organiser is appointed to organise World Congresses, starting in 2014
2013:  The first veterinary nursing association (New Zealand Veterinary Nursing Association) joins the WSAVA


WSAVA Past Presidents

1959 - 63 Dr Wayne Riser, USA 

1963 - 65 Dr Halfden Moltzen, Denmark 

1965 - 67 Prof Dr R Volker, Germany 

1967 - 69 Dr Jean A Meynard, France 

1969 - 71 Dr M A J Verwer, Netherlands 

1971 - 73 Dr William G Magrane, USA 

1973 - 75 Dr Leone Taglia, Italy 

1975 - 77 Dr W Brian Singleton, UK 

1977 - 79 Dr Saki Paatsama, Finland 

1979 - 80 Dr Jan Gajentaan, Netherlands

1980 - 82 Dr Luis Pomar, Spain 

1982 - 84 Prof Carl Osborne, USA 

1984 - 86 Dr H-O Schmidtke, Germany 

1986 - 88 Dr John Holt, Australia 

1988 - 90 Dr Jacques Drape, France 

1990 - 92 Dr Andrew Edney, UK 

1992 - 94 Prof Akira Takeuchi, Japan 

1994 - 96 Prof Peter Bedford, UK 
1996 - 98 Dr W F Jackson, USA 

1998 - 00 Dr Klaus Dreier, Austria 

2000 - 02 Dr Claudio Brovida, Italy

2002 - 04 Dr Gabriel Varga, Slovak Republic

2004 - 06 Dr Larry Dee, USA 

2006 - 08 Dr Brian Romberg, South Africa
2008 - 10 Dr David Wadsworth, UK 

2010 - 12 Prof Jolle Kirpensteijn Netherlands
2012 - 12 Dr Peter Ihrke - USA (resigned due to illness)
2012 - 13 Prof Jolle Kirpensteijn - resumed the presidency
2013 - 14 Prof. Colin Burrows 


List of Congresses

1961 London, UK 

1963 Hannover, Germany
1965 Washington DC, USA

1967 Paris, France 

1969 London, UK 

1971 Mexico City 

1973 San Remo, Italy 

1975 Thessalonica, Greece 

1977 Amsterdam, Holland 

1979 Moscow, Russia

1980 Barcelona, Spain 

1982 Las Vegas, USA 

1983 Perth, Australia 

1984 Hamburg, Germany 

1985 Tokyo, Japan 

1986 Paris, France 

1987 Montreal, Canada 

1988 Barcelona, Spain

1989 Harrogate, England 

1990 San Francisco, USA 

1991 Vienna, Austria 

1992 Rome, Italy 

1993 Berlin, Germany 

1994 Durban, South Africa 

1995 Yokohama, Japan 

1996 Jerusalem, Israel 

1997 Birmingham, UK

1998 Buenos Aires, Argentina 

1999 Lyon, France 

2000 Amsterdam, The Netherlands 

2001 Vancouver,  Canada
2002 Granada, Spain

2003 Bangkok, Thailand

2004 Rhodes, Greece  

2005 Mexico City, Mexico 

2006 Prague, Czech Republic

2007 Sydney, Australia 

2008 Dublin Ireland

2009 Sao Paulo, Brazil 

2010 Geneva, Switzerland 

2011 Jeju, Korea 

2012 Birmingham, UK

2013 Auckland, New Zealand 
2014 Cape Town, South Africa

2015 Bangkok, Thailand