South Africa - University of Pretoria Faculty of Veterinary Science

From WikiVet English
Jump to navigation Jump to search
WhiteSquare.png University of pretoria equine sculpture.jpgWhiteSquare.png
University of Pretoria Faculty of Veterinary Science
Established 1920
Location Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa
Principal/Dean Professor GE Swan
Students 767
  Undergraduates 535
  Postgraduates 232
Website Click Here

The Faculty of Veterinary Science is a faculty of the University of Pretoria. Founded in 1920, it is the oldest veterinary faculty in Africa. With the exception of the faculties in Khartoum (Sudan, 1938), and Cairo (Egypt, 1946), all the other African faculties were established after 1960. It is the only one of its kind in South Africa and is one of 33 veterinary faculties in Africa.

About Us

The first Colonial Veterinary Surgeon in South Africa was appointed in approximately 1874 in Port Natal (present day Durban in KwaZulu-Natal), followed by the appointment of the first Colonial Veterinary Surgeon in the Cape Colony in 1876 and the subsequent arrival of private practitioners in the late 19th century. A major event was the arrival in 1891 of a Swiss-born veterinarian, Arnold Theiler, who went on to establish a disinfection station and vaccine factory at Daspoort close to Pretoria in 1898. When this facility became unsuitable in 1905, Arnold Theiler was instrumental in establishing a new facility at Onderstepoort in 1908, which became the current Agricultural Research Council's Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute

During this time and in the years thereafter, the possibility of training veterinarians in South Africa was frequently raised but it was not until 1920 that Sir Arnold Theiler was appointed as Director of Veterinary Education and Research. He served as the first Dean of veterinary science at “Onderstepoort” under the supervision of the then Transvaal University College. New facilities were inaugurated at the end of 1921 and the first residence was opened in 1924. The first eight South African trained veterinarians qualified in 1924.

The initial intakes were small and the number of veterinarians graduating from the Faculty every year remained below 20 until 1956. The first batch of graduates to exceed 40 in number, qualified in 1967. The numbers fluctuated around the 40 mark until 1978 and was followed by the first large batch of graduates in 1979 (69) following an increase in the intake of second year students in 1976. It has since remained in the region of approximately 85 per annum. The intake was increased to 120 per annum in 2000 and to 135 in 2005.

The Faculty was the only one of its kind in South Africa until 1980 when a second Faculty of Veterinary Science was established within the Medical University of South Africa (MEDUNSA). This Faculty admitted its first students in 1982, produced its first graduates in 1987 and was amalgamated with the Faculty of Veterinary Science of the University of Pretoria in 1999. The new National Faculty created in this way continues to utilise the facilities of the Onderstepoort campus of the University of Pretoria and continues to function as a fully-fledged faculty of the University of Pretoria. It is once again the only one of its kind in South Africa.


The undergraduate veterinary programme has developed from the original 5-year programme to a five-and-a-half year programme in the mid 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s. It was changed to a 6-year programme in the late 1990s and to a split degree structure consisting of a 3-year BSc (Veterinary Biology) degree and 4-year BVSc degree in 2003. In 2011 a new 6-year core-elective programme was introduced. This will require all candidates to complete a core curriculum over 4.5 years (9 semesters). They will then complete a chosen elective over the next 4 months and the training will be concluded with approximately 14 months of experiential training in the core and chosen elective components. This degree is recognised by the South African Veterinary Council for registration as Veterinarian which entitles the holder to practice as a veterinarian. It is also recognised as such by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) in the UK, the Australasian Veterinary Boards Council (AVBC) in Australia, New Zealand and Tasmania as well as by the relevant authorities in Malaysia.

A University Diploma in Veterinary Nursing (DipVetNurs; also referred to as DVN) was offered for the first time in 1977 and is still being offered as such. However, BVetCur, a full-time 3-year degree programme, may be implemented in 2011 in the place of the 2-year diploma programme.

Several postgraduate programmes are also offered at the Faculty. These include: BVSc (Hons), Master of Veterinary Medicine (MMedVet), MSc (Veterinary Science), MSc (Veterinary Tropical Diseases), MSc (Industrial Pharmacology), PhD and DVSc.

Clinical Services

The Onderstepoort Veterinary Aacademic Hospital is a custom-designed facility that is less than two decades old, and provides continuous in-house clinical training for all final year veterinary students and final year veterinary nursing students annually. It has state-of-the-art equipment, top clinicians and specialists, and skilled, dedicated support personnel. It includes different sections to ensure that many different species are catered for correctly and professionally, in properly designed and functional, yet attractive clinics and accommodation.

  • The Outpatients clinic offers a first-opinion service to the surrounding northern suburbs of Pretoria, as well as extremely important student training, with consultations being carried out by final veterinary students under the direct supervision of an experienced clinician. Minor procedures (cat castrations, abscesses etc) are carried out during the course of the day. There is also a completely separate isolation ward for the hospitalisation and intensive nursing of puppies with contagious parvo virus. After-hours emergencies are also catered for, and are stabilised with the help of the latest emergency drugs and equipment. A small x-ray unit is attached to the procedure area to aid emergency staff with diagnosis of fractures, foreign bodies, etc
  • The Small Animal Clinic is divided into the Small Animal Medicine Department, Small Animal Surgery and Small Animal Reproduction. There is also a Small Animal Intensive Care Unit available for critically ill or post-operative patients for constant monitoring. These patients are then returned to the clinic concerned, once stabilised.
  • The Equine Clinic is custom-designed with 45 indoor stables for general medicine and surgery cases. Special stables are provided for intensive care patients and mares with foals. Isolation and semi-isolation stables are available for contagious conditions and patients that underwent nuclear imaging.
  • Production Animal Clinic medical and surgical services to large and small stock as well as wildlife from the neighbouring areas. The Mobile Clinic
  • The Diagnostic Imaging (Radiology) Section possesses some of the latest high-tech imaging equipment. A computed radiography system is currently in use, which has replaced the conventional system. However, students still learn to develop hard copy films manually. Fluoroscopy, ultra sound and scintigraphy are regularly used – especially in dogs, cats and horses, and these images are also available in digital format. A CT scanner has been recently available
  • Exotic, Opthalmology & Dental Clinics
  • Blood Bank
  • Mamelodi Animal Health Clinic is

View other vet schools