The WCVM has been involved in investigations focused on wildlife health since the mid-1960s. To gain support for these projects, the College initiated its Wildlife Health Fund in 1981 to encourage and support applied research and training in the health and diseases of free-ranging wildlife. The WCVM was also instrumental in creating the Cooperative Wildlife Health Centre (CCWHC) - a national organization that applies the veterinary medical sciences to wildlife conservation and management in Canada through the country's veterinary colleges.
WCVM faculty members from a variety of disciplines - pathology, physiology, toxicology, epidemiology, medicine, parasitology and anesthesia - are involved in wildlife health research and education at the veterinary college. Current research projects focus on a variety of topics: stress physiology, aquatic and wildlife toxicology, environmental effects on the developmental and reproductive processes in vertebrates, epidemiological investigations of non-infectious and infectious diseases, the ecology of parasites, and the effect of environmental contaminants on the health of wildlife.
Annual research funding for wildlife health investigations at the WCVM has increased by more than 80 per cent to more than $5 million since 2002. The increased funding in wildlife research reflects new investigations in toxicology and environmental issues - areas where research activity is very strong. Another major influence is the College's research involvement in chronic wasting disease studies that are supported by PrioNet Canada, a Network of Centres of Excellence for prion disease research.