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Remembering Dr. Steven Haskins

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Dr. Steve Haskins was considered the father of veterinary anesthesiology and a pioneer in emergency and critical care.

Steven Carter Haskins, DVM, M.S.

Dr. Haskins, Professor Emeritus of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care, who helped found two veterinary medical specialties, died in a plane crash in eastern Arizona. He was 69.

Considered the father of veterinary anesthesiology and a pioneer in emergency and critical care, Dr. Haskins authored more than 70 research papers and many book chapters and teaching publications.  He helped form the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society and the American College of Veterinary Emergency Critical Care, serving as president of both. He also established one of the first intensive care residency programs.

“He really was one of the most famous members of our profession. People all over the world were influenced by him,” said Kate Hopper, chief of the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital’s small-animal emergency medicine and critical care service.

After graduating from Washington State University in 1969 he pursued an internship at the Animal Medical Center in New York, and then earned a M.S. in anesthesia from the University of Minnesota in 1973. He subsequently became a diplomat in the American College of Veterinary Anesthesia.

Dr. Haskins came to UCD in 1975. He went on to play a key role, first in anesthesia and then in establishing emergency and critical care as a specialty, formalizing everything from the taking of blood pressure to patient evaluation in critical care situations. His formal training in anesthesia allowed him to advance the specialty of veterinary anesthesia and address the need to better support animals under anesthesia and drastically reduce the number of animals lost due to unsafe practices.

In recognition of his teaching abilities, he received distinguished teaching awards at both UC Davis and the University of Minnesota. He was recognized as a gifted teacher, often described as charismatic and funny, he made his students feel included in the sessions and learning activities. 

He retired in 2006 after 30 years of service to the School.  He continued to teach at UC Davis and around the world. He worked with our residents as recently as this past December.

In 2007, Washington State University gave Haskins an alumni award for teaching and research. And last September, he was recognized for teaching at all 19 International Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Symposiums.

A memorial service has been scheduled for 5 p.m. Wednesday, June 18, at 170 Schalm Hall on the UC Davis campus.