In modern society, veterinarians have a crucial role in the health and wellbeing of our pets, as well as livestock and wildlife. Vets are extremely well-versed in the science of animal health, and they support public health by identifying and combating infectious diseases that can be passed along from animals to humans.
Advances in medical science have given veterinary professionals with highly sophisticated equipment, tests, procedures and medicines to help our pets. Moreover, the history of veterinary science dates back much further than you may realize.
The origins of veterinary medicine have seen huge amounts of change over the past 100 years. It’s pretty difficult for us to imagine a time, not that long ago, when cats, dogs, rabbits, and other domestic animals weren’t cared for by a veterinarian. As a matter of fact, it was not until the early 1900s that pets started to commonly receive medical care. Horses that were the main focus of veterinary medical care, most likely because they also provide a function as transportation.
In this blog, we explore the ways the field has changed and how far the history of veterinary medicine has come over the years!
The Origins Of Veterinary Medicine
The first known veterinary practise came to fruition in 9,000 BC based in the Middle East. Sheepherders implemented basic medical skills to care for their animals, which included the dogs that watched over their herds. Thousands of years later, in Egypt between 4,000 – 3,000 BC, the medical treatment of animals started to become much more common but was still mostly undeveloped. Ancient Egyptians began domesticating cats, fowl, and dogs, and their owners considered them as members of their home just as lots of us do today.
In approximately 1,900 BC, the first written accounts of veterinary medicine in four sacred Hindu texts were discovered. In these texts, two key texts outlined the fields of human and animal medical care. Millennia later, in 1850, archaeologists found fragments of an ancient veterinary medical textbook made of papyrus. This ancient text covers diseases relating to birds, cattle, dogs, and even fish. As previously mentioned horses were the main focus of ancient medical care as they were economically crucial for transportation, agriculture, and trading.
Some of the first historical records of veterinarian medical efforts come from China and Egypt and date to about 3500 B.C. Records and hieroglyphs point towards human efforts to maintain the health of domesticated animals using herbs. Historical evidence points towards Alcmaeon, a Greek scientist, dissecting animals as part of scientific studies in about 500 B.C.
Symbols of livestock plagues were common during the 1400s, despite little research or treatment being attempted. The advent of the microscope in the later 1500s increased the understanding of the effect of microorganisms on the health of humans and animals. In 1712, the first vaccinations of cattle for the cattle plague took place in Europe.
The Last Few Centuries Of Veterinary History
In the 1760s, Claude Bourgelat created the very first school of veterinary medicine in Lyon, France. favoured modern thought is that this was the founding of veterinary medicine, despite some elements of animal medicine surpassing 9,000 BC. With the inception of the school in France, the scientific study of veterinary medicine was created.
As human medicine continued to flourish and evolved through the last few centuries, so did the progress of veterinary medicine. In the 1700 and 1800s, the discovery of treatments for cholera, Typhoid fever, and tuberculosis. It was then realised that you could then apply those treatments to protecting farm animals from the same life-threatening diseases.
In the UK, the field of veterinary medicine had its roots in the Odiham Agricultural Society. The Society was the very first to make the connection between scientific principles and the treatment of animals. From here, another institution was born, the London Veterinary College, in 1791.
In America in 1863, the American Veterinary Medical Association came into being as a way to promote the veterinary field of study. Its aim was to oversee the advancement of veterinary medicine as well as its practitioners. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) included a Veterinary Medical Branch in 1965 to be responsible for veterinary pharmaceuticals.
The Rise Of Technology
Regardless of these advancements, only in the last 30 years has a huge shift occurred in veterinary medicine. We have distanced ourselves from the focus on medical care only for livestock. Veterinarians opened thousands of animal hospitals dedicated to the care of cats and dogs as well as other small pets. These small, furry creatures have moved into our homes and hearts and have clear family status.
Advancements in veterinary technology and diagnostics still go on to improve our ability to detect diseases early on. This motivates frequent wellness exams to detect and prevent disease to stop it early. Wellness and preventive care will permit us to give our pets a better chance of good health and a better quality of life. Using medical tools like digital radiology, advanced diagnostic and surgical equipment, and pharmaceuticals, we are better equipped to successfully treat them and keep them living longer.
Societies views towards animals and their status in society and have also prompted changes in how we view general wellness care. This tends to include factors such as dental cleanings, grooming, and general treatments like massage and acupuncture. Thirty years ago, the only veterinary equipment for diagnosis was the x-ray. We now have the addition of ultrasound, MRI, advanced laboratory testing, laparoscopic technology, and more.
Anaesthesia and anaesthetic monitoring for pets has also come strides over the years, making surgery safer and more impactful for our pets. With a clearer understanding of animal pain, we can manage pain and discomfort in our pets with improved medications and alternative therapies. Better treatments for cancer mean we can often give pet owners loads more time with their animals, and give pets a great quality of life during these additional months or years.
Along with significant medical changes, technology now allows us to communicate with our patients in ways that will give you more speed, convenience, and efficiency with texting, online booking, apps – we are able to be much more connected. There is no aspect of veterinary medicine or care that has not altered. The use of improved technologies goes on to increase the speed of changes. Those changes make it possible for us to care for our animal companions with increasing success.
First Veterinarian Schools
The first-ever school dedicated exclusively to veterinarian medicine was established in Lyons, France in 1762. Schools in Sweden, Denmark, Vienna and Germany followed in the next decade. The Royal Veterinary College in London was established in 1791. The first American veterinarian school was not established until 1879, this was more than a century after the first European schools.
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) was established in 1863, predating the first veterinarian school in the country, while the Bureau of Animal Industry, a department of the USDA, was founded in 1884.
Starting about 1940, the AVMA promoted the veterinarian as a medical professional equal to human doctors. Changes in agriculture were decreasing the importance of horses on farms, while an increasingly urban and suburban population was seeking health care options for their pet cats and dogs.
Abbey Vet Centre – we are a veterinary clinic who offer Animal MRI and Animal Endoscopy
Here at Abbey Vet Centre, we take great pride in the work we do. If you’re looking for professional veterinary practice in Grimsby, then look no further than Abbey Vet Centre. With a variety of services available, our team is committed to looking after your pet whether they need a scan, vaccinations or simply a check-up. As one of the most trusted practices in the area, our friendly and relaxed atmosphere will put you and your pets at ease. Get in touch today for more information.