The seed for the establishment and growth of TANUVAS was sown as early as 1876, when the Madras Veterinary College was started as an Agricultural School in Chennai to offer diploma and certificate course in the field of veterinary and animal sciences. The institute attained the status of a college in the year 1903 (01.10.1903), when it started functioning at Dobbin Hall, Chennai and admitted 20 students for a three-year diploma course called GMVC (Graduate of Madras Veterinary College). Based on the recommendation of the Royal Commission on Agriculture, the college was upgraded to impart degree in veterinary science. Although the college was the fourth veterinary institution to be started in India, it was first veterinary college in the country to be affiliated to a university, the University of Madras in 1935 and the Bachelor of Veterinary Science (B.V.Sc.) degree course was started in 1936. The University of Madras also recognized the college as a centre for postgraduate education. In 1969, the college was made as the Directorate of Veterinary Education and Research. The college was then academically affiliated to Tamilnadu Agricultural University (TNAU) in 1974 and became a constituent unit of TNAU in 1976. To meet the demand of veterinary education and research, a second veterinary college was started in Namakkal in the year 1985.