In 1969, The Veterinary Critical Care Society (VCCS) was established as an outgrowth of the Intensive Care Committee which was formed in 1964 as a subcommittee of the American Animal Hospital Association Circulatory Disease and Cardiology Committee. At that first subcommittee meeting in Miami, Florida, Dr. Robert Knowles served as the chairman.
In the 1969 first official meeting of the Society, Dr. Fred Sattler, along with Dr. William Whittick, Dr. Knowles and Dr. Ira Zaslow, conducted the first wet lab with the focus on ventilation, cardiac arrest and resuscitation. Approximately 15 veterinarians attended the day-long wet lab. Training programs have been presented each year since. Also participating in that day-long session were icons in human medicine; Dr. William Shoemaker (Father of Human Critical Care medicine), Dr. Clifford Snyder (a Professor of Plastic Surgery at the University of Utah School of Medicine) and Dr. Forrest Bird (Father of human Ventilation Therapy & Medicine). These four men later became honorary Lifetime VECCS Members. This early CPR training now over 50 years later has evolved into the development of the RECOVER initiative which is the international standard for CPR.
The VCCS was formally incorporated in 1974. In 1983 the Veterinary Anesthesia Society partnered with VCCS to produce quality educational programs. The name of the organization was changed to the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society (VECCS) when the American Association of Veterinary Emergency Clinicians joined the Society in July 1984. Dr. Tim Crowe and Jerry Maguire represented the ER doctors at that meeting. Membership has grown from approximately 200 in 1985 to 7,400 in 2023. The membership represents a variety of areas of veterinary medicine, including private general practice, specialty referral practice, emergency practice, and teaching institutions. Membership is worldwide, with representation from nearly 60 countries located on every continent.