Historical Background



The Department of Veterinary Science was established in Colombo at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Ceylon in 1947. At the inception of this course the relevant departments of the Faculty of Medicine, namely Anatomy, Physiology, Biochemistry, Pharmacology and Pathology co-operated in the teaching programmes. In 1954, this department was shifted to Peradeniya and incorporated into the Faculty of Agriculture and Veterinary Science of the University of Ceylon. However the preclinical courses continued to be taught in Colombo until 1966. In 1973 the Department of Veterinary Science was upgraded to a School of Veterinary Science within a Faculty of Medical, Dental and Veterinary Sciences of the Peradeniya Campus of University of Sri Lanka. The School consisted of three departments viz. Departments of Veterinary Preclinical, Paraclinical and Clinical Studies. The Department of Animal Science had the unique status of serving the School of Veterinary Science as well as the Faculty of Agriculture.
In early 1980, the BVSc training programme received full faculty status with four departments viz. Departments of Veterinary Preclinical, Paraclinical, Clinical Studies and Animal Science and the Faculty was designated as the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science (FVMAS). This Faculty was officially opened on 27 March 1980 with Professor S.T. Fernando as its first Dean. As an interim measure, instead of forming the fourth department, the FVMAS continued to use the services of the Department of Animal Science of the Faculty of Agriculture to teach the course in animal production. In July 2000, the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science was restructured with renaming of the departments and concurrent commencement of the fourth department. At present the FVMAS consists of 4 departments, namely the Departments of Basic Sciences, Veterinary Pathobiology, Companion Animal Medicine and Surgery and Farm Animal Health and Production.
In the early years of veterinary education in Sri Lanka, the curriculum of BVSc training programme was similar to that followed by the Royal Veterinary College in London with the course also emphasizing certain subject areas which were irrelevant to veterinary practice in this country. However, with the passage of time, the curriculum was modified largely on ad hoc basis, but a major revision was launched in 1991. The curriculum adapted in 1991 was revised again in July 2000 to make the BVSc course more relevant to meet the demands of the veterinary profession in the next decade or two. In the revised curriculum, the conventional subject matter in the BVSc training programme has been retained and made more relevant, greater integration of courses in animal health and production sciences have been emphasized, and new course materials have been introduced to broad base the training programme as applicable to the veterinary profession.