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History of Veterinary medicine

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Presentation on theme: "History of Veterinary medicine"— Presentation transcript:

1 History of Veterinary medicine

2 Humans have always found animals interesting, amazing companions and in ancient times they were considered messengers from the gods.

3 Chinese records dating to 4000-3000BC record the use of herbs in both humans and animals.
Egyptian hieroglyphics (3500 BC) show many types of domesticated animals.

4 However, the oldest account dealing with the healing of animals dates back to Mesopotamia in about 300 BC ! The first person to be considered a veterinarian is Urlagaldinna

5 Alcmaeon, a Greek scientist (500 BC) was the first person known to dissect animals for scientific purposes. Records also show that animal hospitals were established in India during the reign of King Ashoka ( BC)

6 Aristotle ( BC) was instrumental in the development of the scientific classification of animals that we now know as taxonomy.

7 A Roman scholar, Columella, from the first Century AD wrote 12 volumes on the topic of animal care and breeding. Columella was the first person to record and use the term “veterinarius” for a person who is a caretaker of pigs, sheep and cattle.

8 The Middle Ages produced many references to animal plagues and the devastation caused to the farmers. During this time animal medicine was approached from the human medicine aspect.

9 In 1762, the first veterinary school in the world was established by Claude Bourgelat in Lyons, France!! After the French school opened many others followed during the 1770’s – Sweden, Germany, Denmark and Austria.

10 1844 saw the founding of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) in Great Britain.
The first veterinary college in the United States was established until 1879.

11 Until the 1770s the veterinary profession consisted of self-declared practitioners, farriers, blacksmiths, herdsmen and local “witch doctors”. People also believed that animals were put on earth to serve humans therefore animals could not feel pain the way humans could.

12 However, a Scotsman, John Hunter changed the face of animal medicine
However, a Scotsman, John Hunter changed the face of animal medicine. He practiced surgery and dissection. He contributed more written work on veterinary medicine than anyone had in the previous 125 years!

13 Animal Care in the New World
European cattle were brought to Florida in 1520 by Ponce de Leon. However, animals did not arrive in the Virginia colonies until 1611. There are references to an “expert cow doctor” practicing in Virginia as early as 1625

14 Records show that dogs were present on the Mayflower
Records show that dogs were present on the Mayflower. Some scholars suspect that goats and chickens were also on board. However there were no cattle or horses present. The larger animals were not brought to the northern colonies until 1620.

15 With the advent of the microscope in the 1800’s research exploded in the identification of disease in both humans and animals. Knowledge was spread through scholarly journals and travel by the elite to Europe. Gentlemen farmers tried the new products and methods discovered during this time period.

16 British surgeon, turned veterinarian, George Dadd is considered the author of the first two classics in American veterinary literature – “The Modern Horse Doctor” (1854) and “The American Cattle Doctor” (1851).

17 The school required 5 years of study:
The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons was founded by a Royal Charter in 1844. The school required 5 years of study: Two years of veterinary sciences to understand healthy animals, anatomy, physiology Three years of clinical skills – such as examinations and diagnosis

18 The American Veterinary Medical Association was founded in 1863.
The U.S. Livestock Sanitary Association (now the U.S. Animal Health Association) was established in 1897. The first United States veterinary school was established in 1879 at Iowa State University. The program was graduate study course.

19 The 20th century saw many advances in veterinary medicine.
The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service began to employ veterinary officers. Duties included control and eradication of major epidemic farm animal diseases, animal welfare, education, etc.

20 After World War I, horses were used less for farm work due to the advent of automated agriculture.
Many veterinarians began to focus their practice on dogs and cats. Until this period, small animals had been a minor part in veterinary medicine.

21 Over the next 30 years, veterinary medicine grew quickly in the United States soon reaching equal status with the medical community. Note: In 1947, the Association for Women Veterinarians was founded by Mary Knight Dunlap in the United States. At that time, the U.S. had about 120 women veterinarians, mostly around New York City and East Lansing, Michigan.


23 Information taken from
Information Resources on Veterinary History at the national Agricultural Library AWIC Resource Series No. 29 February 2005

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