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American College of Veterinary Pathologists
2424 American Lane
Madison, WI 53704

Telephone: +1-608-443-2466
Fax: +1-608-443-2474


What is Veterinary Pathology

Veterinary pathology is the science that studies disease in animals.

Why Are Veterinary Pathologists Important?
Veterinary pathologists improve and protect human and animal health by:

  • Diagnosing disease in companion and zoo animals, and wildlife. Veterinary pathologists examine animal tissue and body fluids to diagnose disease and predict outcomes.
  • Diagnosing disease in food-producing animals. By determining causes of disease, veterinary pathologists help maintain herd health and establish if there is a risk to humans handling or consuming the meat or milk of food animals.
  • Contributing to drug discovery and safety. Because of their broad-based biomedical training, veterinary pathologists serve as key members of pharmaceutical research and development teams.
  • Conducting research. With experience in diseases of multiple species, veterinary pathologists are uniquely qualified to perform studies to advance our understanding of the cause and methods to prevent disease in animals and humans.

What are Examples of Contributions of Veterinary Pathologists?
Veterinary pathologists are often among the first to recognize a new disease or health hazard. For example, veterinary pathologists were the first to recognize that a new disease agent, West Nile Virus, had invaded North America. Other ACVP diplomates have performed pioneering research on the potential applications of stem cells, conducted scientific experiments on the Space Shuttle, contributed to conservation efforts of African cheetahs, helped restore Prince William Sound after the Exxon Valdez oil spill, and assisted investigations of the nuclear power plant accidents at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl. Veterinary pathologists play critical roles on research teams to alleviate AIDS, SARS, cancer, chronic wasting disease, monkeypox and bioterrorism.

Where Do Veterinary Pathologists Work?

  • Diagnostic Laboratories. These include private and state diagnostic laboratories, contract laboratories, academic institutions, zoos, and wildlife agencies.
  • Academia. Institutions include veterinary or medical schools and research universities.
  • Industry. This includes pharmaceutical, biotechnological, chemical and agrochemical industries, and supporting contract research organizations.
  • Government. Examples of these agencies include the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Centers for Disease Control, Environmental Protection Agency, Food and Drug Administration, United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Institutes of Health.