AVMHS – Veterinary Heritage

Veterinary Heritage: the Bulletin of the American Veterinary Medical History Society, is published twice each year.

The second issue of 2012, Vol. 35 (2), features the following articles:

“The Covert Arsenal of Biologial Agents throughout History,” Amy Sents.

“Dogs, Consumers, and Canine Veterinarians, 1870-1900,” Philip M. Teigen.

“Reflections on Clinical Practice: An Oral History by a Chinese Veterinarian,” Hung Chang Wang.

“The Humble Beginnings of the Corporate Companion Animal Hospital, Tracey L. Mullins.

Denmark – 225 Years of the Kopenhagen Veterinary School

In August 1998 the Veterinary School in Kopenhagen celebrated the 225th anniversary of its foundation.

At that occasion a 115 page book was published with 14 contributions, i.a. written by I. Katic (on the highlights in the history of the school; on the sculptures and paintings in its possession and a bibliography of earlier Festschrifte) and by A. Rosenbom (on the developments in veterinary practice).

The title of the book reads: Veterinærskolen 225 år; Rids af de seneste års udvikling [The Veterinary School 225 years; Sketches of the developments in the last 25 years]. Red. G. Lefmann. Frederiksberg: Kollegiet for Husdyrbrugs- og Veterinærvidenskab/Den Kgl. Veterinær- og Landbohøjskole, 1998. ISBN 87-7432-526-4.

In 1999 the Danish Veterinary Association celebrated its sesquicentennial jubilee. For that occasion a special exhibition was held at the Danish Agricultural Museum (Gammel Estrup, Djursland) about the work of Danish veterinarians throughout 150 years.

Dr. Bent Christensen reports:

The Veterinary school

In this exhibition special mention is made of Peter Christian Abildgaard (1740-1801), who founded Den Kongelige Veterinærskole (Royal School of Veterinary Medicine) in Christianshavn, Copenhagen, in 1773, and of Erik Viborg (1759-1822). After Viborg’s death in 1822, it was not long before the space available at the school in Christianshavn became too cramped. In 1858, Den Kongelige Veterinær- og Landbohojskole (Royal Danish Veterinary and Agricultural University – commonly referred to as KVL) could receive its first intake of veterinary trainees “far out in the country” in Frederiksberg, where it is still situated.

Military veterinarians

From very early times, the army has had a proud tradition of employing veterinarians. As far back as the first centuries AD, reports tell of “military veterinarians” in the Roman legions, and this was a tradition that persisted throughout the subsequent centuries. Around 1780, a new era began for the army’ s veterinary service as the army was slowly supplied with qualified veterinarians. The army’s veterinary corps was established in 1810 and has thus been in existence for almost 190 years. As horses were gradually phased out of the military, the military veterinarians were assigned to other tasks – primarily related to food control – although the officer in command is still called colonel of the veterinary corps.

The Danish Veterinary Association founded in 1849

Absolute monarchy in Denmark was abolished in 1848, and this signalled the start of the formation of countless associations. Veterinarians, too, discussed the options for organising themselves, and this led the colonel of the veterinary corps, David Gottschalksen Ringheim (1787-1875) to insert an advertisement in the newspaper Berlingske Tidende in January 1849, calling the veterinary profession to demonstrate its presence and to show its role in society. Ringheim acted fast. By 8 February 1849, a meeting had already been held in the Kongens Nytorv 5 restaurant where Den Danske Dyrlaegeforening (Danish Veterinary Association) was founded and agreement was reached on the guidelines for the association’s regulations. In March 1849, the association approached the authorities concerned with the Royal School of Veterinary Medicine to draw their attention to the wishes of veterinarians with respect to training and their professional role.

Evolution of the profession

Throughout its 225 years of existence, the veterinary profession has developed and changed. This applied also to the employment options for veterinarians. Denmark’s entry, in 1973, into what was then the EEC, resulted in comprehensive harmonisation of legislation and regulations that have also had an impact on veterinary areas. During the first ten years of Denmark’s membership of the EEC, employment for veterinarians in the cattle industry was stable, but at a later point the number of herds fell considerably. This can primarily be attributed to milk quotas imposed to limit the increasing levels of milk production.

In the pork industry, the veterinary service has moved from diagnosis and treatment of individual animals to providing diagnosis and advisory services at herd level.

In the area of small animals and hobby animals, veterinary activity and employment has increased over the years. The number of veterinary clinics and hospitals has also increased significantly.

For many years, veterinarians have played an important role in veterinary meat inspection at abattoirs. The objective is to safeguard consumers against any health risk associated with eating meat and meat products. The number of cattle slaughtered has fallen markedly while the number of pigs slaughtered has increased to approx. 20 million per year.

In the early 1970s, Denmark passed new food legislation that established the Miljo- og Levnedsmiddelkontrollen (Municipal Food Control Unit – MLK) within a municipal framework, and about 50 MLK units were set up employing many veterinarians. From 1993, the units were assigned new tasks involving industrial and consumer milk control, but at the same time the number of MLK units was reduced to 32. With the introduction of new food legislation, 11 regional units will remain.

Practising veterinarians use both state and private laboratories when diagnosing diseases. Under the terms of legislation concerning contagious diseases in domestic animals, the state laboratories – Statens Veterinaere Serumslaboratorium (National Veterinary Laboratory) and Statens Veterinaere Institut for Virusforskning (State Veterinary Institute for Virus Research) – are required to conduct the laboratory tests in connection with such diseases. Furthermore, the two laboratories are also engaged in a certain level of vaccine and serum production and important related research. The virus research institute on the island of Lindholm has a fine 70-year-long tradition for research in foot and mouth disease in cattle. Finally, agricultural organisations have established several nationwide laboratories, which also employ many veterinarians.

The exhibition at the Danish Agricultural Museum

In illustrating the long development right back from the time of the cattle plagues and Abildgaard, the exhibition presents a wide range of instruments and other articles, including horseshoes, used by veterinarians in their day-to-day work. These items stem from the Veterinaerhistorisk Museum (Historical Museum of Veterinary Science) at KVL, where extensive work is carried out to preserve these valuable objects for posterity. There is also a range of specimens from KVL’s pathology department, where they are used for teaching purposes. Other objects are on loan from the Slagterimuseet (Abattoir Museum) in Roskilde, the Garderhusarregiment (Royal Hussars) in Naestved, the abattoir in Bjerringbro and from Kruse, a firm for veterinary supplies servicing today’s veterinarians. The National Veterinary Laboratory shows how the campaign against salmonellosis is being conducted through collaboration between veterinarians and others involved in industry. Along the way, the exhibition looks at some of the many veterinarians who have worked abroad over the years.

This tour of veterinary history concludes with a look at a modern small-animal clinic, food control, abattoir meat inspection and at the latest, state-of-the-art equipment found in vehicles used in a veterinary practice of today – complete with cellular phone, fax and PC.

Survey of Veterinary History Teaching in the World

On request of the WAHVM prof.dr. J. Schäffer (Hanover) undertook a worldwide investigation into the actual status of veterinary history teaching. In June 1997 he has sent out a questionnaire to the deans of 231 establishments of veterinary education. The seven questions asked were the same as those used by prof. J.B. Mulder, when he surveyed the U.S. and Canadian schools in 1990 (see: J.B. Mulder. A survey of veterinary medical history instruction in United States and Canada schools. Veterinary heritage, 13(2), 58-62, 1990). The deans of these schools were, therefore, not approached a second time.

The questions were answered by 88 deans; the 11 answers that were negative in case of all 7 questions are left out in the following overview.

1/2. Formal courses are offered in 19 European, 1 Near Eastern and 1 Japanese school. But only in Germany, Poland, Romania and Turkey the course is required. And only 11 schools have a post financed out of the veterinary faculty budget. In six cases this is a full-time position.

3/4. 9 European, 1 African, 6 Asian and 1 South-American school are providing history teaching in the framework of other courses.

5. The question “Does your veterinary school library have a collection of books or a section dedicated to veterinary history?” may have led to some ambiguity. Sometimes it seems to be interpreted as the availability of an old book collection and sometimes as a collection of historiographical materials. But in most cases where the answer is negative, fruitful history teaching can hardly be expected.

Counting all answers received, plus two answered by Schäffer from own knowledge (n=90), 39 European schools stated that they possess a library that can support a history teaching programme and nine had to report negatively. The reverse is found in the rest of the world (without the U.S. and Canada); here only 14 positive answers are given against 28 negative.

6/7. Worldwide 39 veterinary schools have interest in adding a history course, but only 8 deans are of the opinion that it has to be a required course. As many of them complain of a lack of funds or find great difficulty to make room for such a course in the overfilled curriculum, much external support and persuasion power will be needed to carry the good intentions into effect.

Veterinary History Societies

Argentina: Asociación Argentina de Historia de la Veterinaria
Attn.: Prof.Dr. O.A. Pérez (presidente)
San Nicolás 1436, (1407) Buenos Aires. República Argentina
Tel./Fax: +54-11-4567-6362
e-mail: oaperez@sinectis.com.ar
Australia: Australian Veterinary History Society
Secretary: Dr. P. J. Mylrea
13 Sunset Avenue
Camden NSW 2570. Australia
Austria: Österreichische Gesellschaft der Tierärzte-Sektion für Geschichte der Veterinärmedizin
President: G. Forstenpointner
Institute of Anatomy, Histology and Embryology
Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien
Veterinärplatz 1
1210 Wien. Austria
Phone: +43 1 25077 2503
e-mail: gerhard.forstenpointner@vetmeduni.ac.at
Brasil: Sociedade Brasileira de Medicine Veterinaria
Attn.: Prof. Eugenio Goncalves de Araujo
SRTV South, Qd. 701, Ed Palace Radio II s
333 Brasília – DF Brazil
email:  sbmv@sbmv.vet.br
Bulgaria: Section for the History of Veterinary Medicine
Attn.: Prof. Dr. Vasil Ivanov DrSc.
15A ‘P.Slaveikov’ Avenue
1606 Sofia. Bulgaria

Cuba: Sociedad de Historia de la Medicina Veterinaria de Cuba
Att.: Dra. Yoland Pérez Diaz
Paseo #604 e/ 25 y 27. Apdo 10400
Vedado. La Habana. Cuba
Czech Republic: Section for the History of Veterinary Medicine of the Czech Society of Veterinary Surgeons
Attn.: Prof. Jiri Sindlar
c/o University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences Brno
Palackého 1-3
CZ-612 42 Brno. Czech Republic
Denmark: Dansk Veterinærhistorisk Samfund
Dr. Anton Rosenbaum

Egypt: Egyptian Association for the History of Veterinary Medicine
General Secretary: Prof. Dr. A. S. Saber
Dept of Anatomy and Embryology
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
Minoufiya University
Sadat City
Tel.:048 260 32 15
e-mail: saberashraf@yahoo.com
Prof. Dr. Ilkka Alitalo
Gunillankuja 5 D
FIN-00870 Helsinki, Finland

France: Société française d’histoire de la médecine et des sciences vétérinaires
Attn.: Dr. Christophe Degueurce
Ecole Nationale Veterinaire
7, avenue du General de Gaulle, 94 704 MAISONS-ALFORT Cedex
+33-1 4396 7052

Germany: Fachgruppe Geschichte der Veterinärmedizin der DVG
Att.: Prof. Dr. J. Schäffer
Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover
Bischofsholer Damm 15 (Haus 120)
30173 Hannover. Germany
Tel.: +49-511-856-7503
Fax: +49-511-856-7676
E-mail: johann.schaeffer@tiho-hannover.de

Hungary: Section for the History of Veterinary Medicine
Att.: Prof. Dr. J.Kovats
u. Grof P. Strasse 8
H-7100 Szekszard. Hungary


Italy: Section for the History of Veterinary Medicine, CISO
Attn.: Prof. Dr. Marco Galloni
Dip. di Morfofisiologia. Università di Torino
Via Nizza 52
10126 Torino. Italy
Japan: Japanese Society of Veterinary History
Dr. Junya Yasuda

Mexico: Sociedad Mexicana de Historia de la Medicina Veterinaria y Zootecnia
Attn.: Dra. Teresa Quintero, presidente
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, UNAM
Dr. M.A. Márquez
Azahares No. 242
Club de Golf Rancho Contento
45010 Zapopan Jalisco. Mexico
Tel./Fax: +52-3-682-1483 (home);
+52-3-668-8084/+52-3-668-8020 (office).
E-mail: miguelmarquez42@hotmail.com

Netherlands: Veterinair Historisch Genootschap
Secr.: Dr. E.J. Tjalsma
e-mail: ejtjalsma@planet.nl
Tel: +31 527 241852
Kerkstraat 12
8325 Bk
Vollenhove. The Netherlands


Norway: Norsk Veterinærhistorisk Selskap / Norwegian Society for the History Of Veterinary Medicine
Secretary: Roar Gudding, DVM, PhD
Norwegian Veterinary Institute
PO Box 750 Sentrum
0160 Oslo, Norway
Phone (47)23216340


Poland: Section for the History of Veterinary Medicine of the Polish Veterinary Medical Association
Att.: Prof.Dr. P. Wyrost
Plac Grunwaldski 17 m. 41
50-378 Wroclaw. Poland


Portugal: Center de Historia da Medicina Veterinaria
Attn.: Prof. Tito Fernandez
Faculdade da Medicina Veterinaria
Rua Gomez Freire
1199 Lisboa Cedex. Portugal


South-Africa: SAVA Veterinary History Committee
Attn.: Dr. R.D. Bigalke
c/o Onderstepoort Veterinary Museum
Private Bag X5
Onderstepoort 0110. South Africa


Spain: Asociación Española de Historia de la Veterinaria
Attn.: Jose Manuel Etxaniz Makazaga, secr./treasurer
Madrid. España
E-mail: jmanuel.etxaniz@donostia.org

Spain: Asociación Madrid de Història de la Veterinària (AMHV)
Attn.: Dr Joaquin Sanchez de Lollano Prieto (Museo Veterinario Complutense, Madrid)


Sweden: Council of Veterinary History and Biography
Att.: Prof.Dr. H.-J. Hansen
Ymervagen 6
18263 Djursholm. Sweden


Switzerland: Schweizerische Vereinigung für Geschichte der Veterinärmedizin (SVGVM)
Att.:Stephan Hasler, Dr. med. vet., Prasident SVGVM
Mengestorfstrasse 50, CH-3144 Gasel
+41 31 849 11 95 or +41 79 794 58 76


Att.: Dr. Ferruh Dincer


United Kingdom: Veterinary History Society
Att.: Mr. R.D. Bone, BVMS MRSVS
608 Warwick Road, Solihull, West Midlands B91 1AA
United Kingdom

U.S.A.: American Veterinary History Society
Att.: Secretary Susanne Whitaker
23 Wedgwood Drive, Ithaca, NY 14850 USA


Att.: Prof Naudy Trujillo Mascia

Ontario Veterinary College: A Chronology, 1862-2012

During the Ontario Veterinary College Sesquicentennial, June 15, 2012, eight speakers, including veterinarians, laboratory scientists, and historians, focused on the theme, “Cross-Border Connections in Canadian & U. S. Veterinary History.” Along with the program, the following timeline of OVC’s history was presented.


Andrew Smith begins lecturing on veterinary medicine in Toronto.


First class graduated, Robert Robinson, William Elliot, and George Kempchell.


Smith’s lecture notes are published as the first Canadian veterinary medical textbook.


John Gunion Rutherford (OVC ‘1879) named Veterinary Director General of Canada becoming instrumental in creating federal meat inspection laws.


Francis Schofield graduates and goes to Korea as a medical missionary, coming into conflict with Japanese occupiers. From 1921-55, he taught pathology at OVC, becoming renowned for linking a bleeding disease in sheep and cattle to moldy sweet clover. That research led to development of vitamin K inhibitors now used worldwide to control blood- clotting.


Canadian Army Veterinary Corps is established with several OVC students and graduates serving in its ranks during the first World War.


Omega Tau Sigma fraternity established at OVC.


C. D. McGilvray appointed OVC Principal, playing a key role in OVC’s accreditation by the U. S. Bureau of Animal Industry and the American Veterinary Medical Association.


OVC moves from Toronto to Guelph, Ontario.


OVC graduates its first woman, Elizabeth Barrie.


Carpenter. Frank Côté (OVC ’26) begins teaching small-animal

medicine at OVC.


Inter-class hockey (Challenge Cup) formalized with C. D. McGilvray gift.


OVC Student Wives Auxiliary forms.


OVC Alumni Association formed.


Jack Côté (OVC ’51) begins farm service service at OVC.


Donald Barnum and F. H. S. Newbould publish research on the use of antibiotics for treating bovine mastitis.


James Archibald becomes head of the Small Animal Clinic and introduces aseptic conditions for all OVC surgeries.


OVC becomes part of the newly-formed University of Guelph.


OVC Pet Trust Fund is established to support applied clinical research, its first major achievement being the funding of the College’s first cobalt radiation unit.


Patricia Shewen and Bruce Wilkie develop a vaccine for shipping fever, which became the most commercially successful patented veterinary medicine.


Centre for Public Health and Zoonoses opens, providing research into diseases transmissible between animals and humans.


Institute for Comparative Cancer Investigation (ICCI) opens.


Hill’s Pet Nutrition Primary Healthcare Centre Opens.


Recent Articles

Recent articles relating to veterinary history:

Bruce Vivash Jones, “From Inns and Coffee Houses to Red Lion Square,” Veterinary Record, 2012, March 10, pages 250-2. A succinct but thorough account of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (London) during its first 100 years.

Philip M. Teigen, “The Global History of Rabies and the Historian’s Gaze,” Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, 2012, 67:318-27. Among the books reviewed is Arthur King, et al., Historical Perspectives of Rabies in Europe and the Mediterranean Basin (Paris: OIE, 2004).

Stephen Fisher, “War Horses: The Real Story of Equines in the First World War,” Postcard World, 2012, 3(2): 6-8 and 3(3):6-8. Brief article but very important as a source for illustrations of WWI horses.

Veterinary Heritage: Bulletin of the American Veterinary Medical History Society, 2011, Vol 34 (2)

 “Animals in Space: Reaching for the Stars,” Maite Torres.

“Pioneers of Canadian Veterinary Medicine,” Brian Derbyshire.

“The Emergence of Shelter Medicine in Veterinary Education: From Nonexistent to Necessary,” Bruce Willbrant.

“An Extinct Mesopotamian Lion Subspecies,” Hutan Ashrafian.

Complutensian Veterinary Museum – Madrid

ComplutenseMuseumThe Veterinary Faculty of Madrid University recently enlarged its museum by opening a visible storage facility and by updating the museum’s website. Holding more than 3,000 artifacts, the the Complutensian Veterinary Museum includes anatomical models in wood, plaster, wax, and papier-maché, as well as numerous scientific and veterinary instruments. The collection illustrates food inspection, public health, animal production, and veterinary practice.

Veterinary History, August 2012

Veterinary History, Vol. 16(3), was published in August, 2012.  

“An African Story (Editorial),” Bruce V. Jones

“Autobiography (6)” James Beart Simonds

“Early Teaching of the Veterinary Art and Science in Edinburgh,” Alastair A. Macdonald and Colin M. Warwick

“A Previously Unrecorded Copy of The Gentleman’s Pocket-Farrier,” John Clewlow

Four Veterinary Corps Officers: Their Contribution in the Context of Their Times,” G.R. Durran

“Connie May Ford, MBE, MRCVS, 1912-1998,” G. Francis Clegg

The Crescent York: Reminiscences of Four Assistants in their First Practice,” F.T.W. Jordan, G. Grant, M. Collins and A.D. Weaver

“Feeding the Ancient Horse,” Thomas Donaghy

“Old Time Farriery Writers: Snape, Sainbel and Blaine,” G.E. Fussell

“Richard David Locke BVSc, DVSM, MRCVS (Obituary),” Jean Mann

“From Green Monkeys and Baboons: The Story of the RCVS Museum,” Clare Boulton