Year 1888 marked the era when veterinary medicine started to make an impact in the Philippines. It was in this year that a group of health professionals was commissioned by Don Benigno Quiroga y Ballesteros, the Director General de Administracion Civil de Filipinas to investigate the Rinderpest Epizootic. This was headed by an army veterinarian Don Gines Geis y Gotzens and composed of the Director of the Laboratorio Municipal de Manila, Don Anacleto del Rosario y Sales, a pharmacist and for public health purposes, a physician Don Francisco Masip. The disease brought by animals imported from Indo China and Hongkong disseminated the cattle and carabao population by December 1988. Steamship captains plying the river between Manila and Bulacan reported that dead animals were clogging the waterways.
In the turn of the century, the veterinarians were one of the largest professional groups brought into the country by the American Colonial authorities. Their functions were to inspect all cattle arriving in Manila, do the meat inspection in the City Matadero, and attend to the care and treatment of government animals and the inspection of public and private stables as to their sanitary condition and the health of the animals. Forage for horses and beef for the troops were essential items for the function of the U.S. Army; it should be noted that beef was brought into the territory frozen. Again, the veterinarian played an important role in this endeavor.
Consequently in 1910 a Board of Officers of the Civil Government of the Philippine Islands and the U.S. Army headed by Vice-Governor Newton W. Gilbert was constituted. Dr. George E. Nesom, the first president of the PVMA and the first Director of the Bureau of Agriculture was in 1910 September 1 appointed Chairman of the Committee on Forage and Committee on Beef; both components of the Board.
The rinderpest epizootic resulted in the need for the services of veterinarians; this effected the establishment of a veterinary school in the Philippines in 1908. Prior to the founding of the College of Veterinary Science of the University of the Philippines, the American Colonial Authorities were utilizing veterinary graduates of Schools of Veterinary Medicine in the United States of America. It is notable to say that the Rinderpest epizootic in Europe caused the founding in 1762 of the first veterinary school in the world, L’Ecole Veterinaire de Lyon, France.
Different developments in the profession unfolded during the Rinderpest Epizootic in the Philippines from 1886 to 1939. It was in 1888 that the veterinarian was given prominence by heading a government commission. In 1899, the US Army Quartermaster employed 60 civilian veterinarians aside from those of the veterinary corps in the US Army. Incidentally, those veterinarians in the US Army were not given ranks until 1916. In military reports specifically the Field Returns, they were listed next and below the commissioned officers but above the enlisted man. Contrary to this, the Spanish Army veterinarians were given ranks. To facilitate the solution of problems arising from time to time in connection with the different line of veterinary work in the Philippines a group of veterinarians met in 1906 September; they formally organized the Philippine Veterinary Medical Association in 1907 September 7, a Saturday. The veterinarians who organized the PVMA were from the United States Army and the Insular Government. They were Drs George E. Nesom, Frank G. Gearhart, L.M. Pick, C.M. Richards, Charles G. Thomson, William P. Hill, David C. Kretzer, B.A. Seeley, J. E. Nance, J. H. McKinnon, J.A. Thompson, and Stanton Youngberg. Dr. George E. Nesom was elected President, Dr.C.M. Richards as vice president, and Dr. Frank C. Gearhart as secretary-treasurer. Dr. Nesom was the Director of the Bureau of Agriculture established in 1905 October 26; while Drs C.M. Richards and Frank C. Gearhart were the acting chief veterinarian and chief of the Animal Husbandry Division respectively of the same Bureau.
The Philippine Veterinary Medical Association celebrates one century of its existence from 1907 to 2007. The PVMA is one of the oldest professional health related group in the country second to the Philippine Island Medical Association founded in 1903 which in 1939 became the Philippine Medical Association. However, the PVMA retained the same name it had at the time it was founded. There were indications that there was another veterinary association organized earlier. Dr. George E. Nesom the first president of the PVMA in his inaugural speech in 1908 September 28, a Monday, mentioned of another veterinary association organized in the Philippines some years earlier or that the PVMA was a continuation of the former and was perfected as entirely original.
In 1910 to 1911 the PVMA president, Dr. William Proctor Hill, a graduate of the Ontario Veterinary College, Canada advocated and lobbied for the regulation of the practice of veterinary medicine and surgery in the Philippine Islands. Consequently Act 2245, An Act to Regulate the Practice of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery in the Philippine Island was enacted in 1913 February 11 by the Philippine Commission. Dr. Hill also worked for the veterinarians being given ranks in the U.S. Army. This was only realized in 1916 when veterinarians were appointed as commissioned officers.
The officers of the PVMA in 1911 to 1912 were Drs. Archibald R. Ward as President, Joseph R. Jefferis as Vice-President, and David Kretzer as Secretary. Dr. Ward , the chief of the Veterinary Division of the Bureau of Agriculture of the Department of Public Instruction, Government of Philippine Islands was in-charge of the eradication of rinderpest. On orders of Governor General William Cameron Forbes in 1911 June 13, he was directed to report directly to the Director of the Bureau of Agriculture, the Secretary of Public Instruction and to the Governor General on matters pertaining to this division. His approach in eradicating Rinderpest was the use of strict quarantine. This almost became successful but when decentralization was effected the provincial governors had their own programs which lead to the resurgence of Rinderpest.
In 1936 February 20, a Thursday, in the 19th PVMA Convention the recommendation of the executive committee to award Dr. Archibald Robinson Ward, Cornell 1901 and Dr. William Hutchinson Boynton, Cornell 1908, Honorary membership was approved by the body in plenary session