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HISTORY AND PROGRESS OF THE EUROPEAN COLLEGE OF VETERINARY ANAESTHESIA AND ANALGESIA

Summary of the College history and structure

Specialization in Veterinary Anaesthesia started in the United Kingdom in 1964, when the Association of Veterinary Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland was formed. The main object of the Association is “to promote the study of and research into the subject of anaesthesia in animals and to disseminate the results thereof to the public”. Gradually, more and more European veterinarians joined the Association and in 1991 the latter was renamed as Association of Veterinary Anaesthetists (AVA).

The European College of Veterinary Anaesthesia (ECVA) was established as an independent organization, by decision of the General Meeting of the AVA on April 26th 1993 at Giessen, Germany. The College was inaugurated on 1st January 1995 and was formally registered in the Netherlands on May 22nd 1997 as a non-profit organisation.

Initially, the original AVA working party on European College development invited 6 established specialists who are the grandfathers of the specialty, who were originally initiators in veterinary anaesthesia in Europe, who had contributed to the subject over many years and were approved by the Association. The grandfathers are:

  • Prof. Dr. R. Fritsch (Germany)
  • Dr. L.W. Hall (UK)
  • Dr. C.H. Hansson (Sweden)
  • Prof. R.S. Jones (UK)
  • Prof. Dr. E. Lagerweij (The Netherlands)
  • Dr. B.M.Q. Weaver (UK)

The grandfathers nominated 7 "Invited Specialists", who formed the Interim Board of the College to serve for a maximum of 5 years to prepare the definite organization of the College, according to its Constitution and the Bylaws. The criteria used to nominate the invited specialists are set in the ECVA Constitution (Article 4, section 2b) as follows:

  • to be initiators of veterinary anaesthesia in Europe
  • having contributed substantially to the development of veterinary anaesthesia/intensive care in Europe by research, publications and lectures
  • to be acceptable for the majority of the members of the AVA
  • being a full member of the AVA and practising in Europe
  • having at least 10 years of experience in veterinary anaesthesia spending at least 60% of their working time in veterinary anaesthesia/intensive care
  • being recognised, where applicable, as a specialist in veterinary anaesthesia at a national level.

The Interim Board consisted of:

  • Dr. Polly Taylor (UK), President
  • Prof. Urs Schatzmann (Switzerland), Vice-President
  • Prof. Dimitris Raptopoulos (Greece), Secretary
  • Dr. Kathy W. Clarke (UK), Member
  • Prof. Frank Gasthuys (Belgium), Member
  • Prof. Yves P.S. Moens (Belgium), Member
  • Prof. Avril E. Waterman-Pearson (UK), Member

The Invited Specialists together acted as an Interim Credentials Committee and Examination Committee for veterinarians who wished to be considered for de facto recognition as specialists. After de facto recognition as Specialists by the Interim Board, all the de facto appointed specialists became Founding Diplomates of the College.

Selection was made on basis of a submitted CV including the criteria which are set in the Constitution (Article 4, section 2c), and also indication of how the candidates have achieved their expertise. All members of the AVA were invited to apply for de facto registration by the invited specialists by means of a personal letter outlining the above mentioned requirements. Application for de facto recognition was possible for up to three years after the inauguration of the College, i.e. by 31st December 1997. During this period 44 de facto specialists were appointed.

The first exam took place in Autumn 1997 when one candidate sat the exams and passed. In 1998 3 out of 5 passed, in 1999 2 out of 3 passed, in 2000 4 out of 5 passed and in 2001 1 out of 3 passed. In 2002, 11 candidates applied, but only 10 were allowed to sit the exams. 6 out of the 10 candidates were successful.

The Interim Board served until 1999, when the new Board members were elected at the General Meeting in Newcastle, UK. The first elected executive committee consisted of: Prof. Frank Gasthuys (B) President, Prof. Urs Schatzmann (CH) Vice-President, Prof. Dimitris Raptopoulos (GR) Secretary, Prof. Ron Jones (UK) Treasurer, Dr. Polly Taylor (UK) Past-President, and Prof. Klaus Otto (G) and Dr. Görel Nyman (S) co-opted members.

On September 27 2002, a new Board was elected. It consists of: Prof. Dimitris Raptopoulos (GR) President, Dr. Kathy Clarke (UK) Vice-President, Prof. Yves Moens (B) Secretary, Prof. Ron Jones (UK) Treasurer and Prof. Frank Gasthuys (B) Past-President. Two co-opted members, Dr Nicola Jaeggin-Schmucker (G) and Dr. Paul van Dijk (NL), were added to the above members of the Board to compose the new Executive Committee of the College.

At this time the Board of the College acted also as the Credentials and Education Committee, while a separate Examinations Committee was nominated. It consisted of Prof. Klaus Otto (G) as chairman, Dr Kathy Clarke (UK), Dr. Jackie Brearley (UK), Prof. Frank Gasthuys (B), Prof. Yves Moens (B) and Dr. Gina Neiger-Aeschbacher (CH).

In 2003, the College had 74 Diplomates coming from 16 different countries.

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