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. Prior to the AAHA meeting that same year in Miami, Florida, the Intensive Care Committee first met with Dr. Robert Knowles serving as the chair. At this meeting, Dr. Fred Sattler, along with
Dr. William Whittick and Dr. Knowles, conducted the first wet lab with the focus on cardiac arrest and resuscitation. Approximately 15 veterinarians attended the day-long wet lab and training programs have been presented each year since that meeting. 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 formerly organized in 1978 and the Veterinary Anesthesia Society merged with the VCCS in 1983. 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. Membership has grown from approximately 200 in 1985 to over 6,700 in 2022. 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.