veterinary medicine


Veterinary medicine is the branch of
medicine Medicine is the science Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity, awareness, or understanding of someone or something, such as facts ( descriptive knowledge), skills (proced ...

that deals with the prevention, control, diagnosis, and treatment of disease, disorder, and injury in
animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are organisms that form the Animalia. With few exceptions, animals , , are , can , and grow from a hollow sphere of , the , during . Over 1.5 million animal have been —of which around 1 million are —b ...

s. Along with this, it deals with animal rearing, husbandry, breeding, research on nutrition, and product development. The scope of veterinary medicine is wide, covering all animal species, both
domesticated Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one group of organisms assumes a significant degree of influence over the reproduction and care of another group to secure a more predictable supply of resources from that seco ...
wild Wild, wild or wild may refer to: Common meanings * Wild animal ''Wild Animal'' is the debut solo studio album by Canadian singer Vanity Vanity is the excessive belief in one's own abilities or attractiveness to others. Prior to the 14th centu ...

, with a wide range of conditions that can affect different species. Veterinary medicine is widely practiced, both with and without professional supervision. Professional care is most often led by a
veterinary physician A veterinarian (vet), also known as a veterinary surgeon or veterinary physician, is a professional who practices veterinary medicine Veterinary medicine is the branch of medicine Medicine is the Art (skill), art, science, and Praxis (pro ...
(also known as a veterinarian, veterinary surgeon, or "vet"), but also by
paraveterinary worker Paraveterinary worker is the professional of veterinary science that performs procedures autonomously or semi autonomously, as part of a veterinary assistance system. The job role varies throughout the world, and common titles include veterinary nu ...
s, such as veterinary nurses or technicians. This can be augmented by other paraprofessionals with specific specialties, such as animal physiotherapy or
dentistry Dentistry, also known as dental medicine and oral medicine, is a branch of medicine that consists of the study, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases, disorders, and conditions of the mouth, oral cavity (the mouth), commonly in the ...

, and species-relevant roles such as
farrier : ''The Farrier'' Image:Panamanian_farrier_at_work.jpg, Rasping the Horse hoof, hoof A farrier is a specialist in equine hoof care, including the trimming and balancing of horse, horses' horse hoof, hooves and the placing of horseshoe, s ...

s. Veterinary science helps human health through the monitoring and control of
zoonotic disease A zoonosis (plural zoonoses, or zoonotic diseases) is an infectious disease An infection is the invasion of an organism's body Tissue (biology), tissues by Pathogen, disease-causing agents, their multiplication, and the reaction of host (bio ...
infectious disease An infection is the invasion of an organism's body Tissue (biology), tissues by Pathogen, disease-causing agents, their multiplication, and the reaction of host (biology), host tissues to the infectious agents and the toxins they produce. An inf ...
transmitted from nonhuman animals to humans), food safety, and through human applications via medical research. They also help to maintain food supply through livestock health monitoring and treatment, and mental health by keeping pets healthy and long-living. Veterinary scientists often collaborate with
epidemiologists Epidemiology is the study and analysis of the distribution (who, when, and where), patterns and determinants of health and disease conditions in defined population In biology, a population is a number of all the organisms of the same group ...
and other health or natural scientists, depending on type of work. Ethically, veterinarians are usually obliged to look after animal welfare. Veterinarians diagnose, treat, and help keep animals safe and healthy.


Premodern era

Archeological evidence, in the form of a cow skull upon which
trepanation Trepanning, also known as trepanation, trephination, trephining or making a burr hole (the verb ''trepan'' derives from Old French Old French (, , ; French language, Modern French: ) was the language spoken in Northern France from the 8th ce ...

had been performed, shows that people were performing veterinary procedures in the Neolithic (3400–3000 BCE). The
Egyptian Egyptian describes something of, from, or related to Egypt. Egyptian or Egyptians may refer to: Nations and ethnic groups * Egyptians, a national group in North Africa ** Egyptian culture, a complex and stable culture with thousands of years of r ...
''Papyrus of Kahun'' (
Twelfth Dynasty of Egypt The Twelfth Dynasty of ancient Egypt Ancient Egypt was a civilization of Ancient history, ancient North Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile, Nile River, situated in the place that is now the country Egypt. Ancient Egy ...
) is the first extant record of veterinary medicine. The ''
Shalihotra Samhita The ''Shalihotra Samhita'' is an early Indian treatise on veterinary medicine Veterinary medicine is the branch of medicine Medicine is the science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterpri ...
'', dating from the time of
Ashoka Ashoka (; Brāhmi: 𑀅𑀲𑁄𑀓, ''Asoka'', IAST The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) is a transliteration scheme that allows the lossless romanisation of Brahmic family, Indic scripts as employed by Sanskrit ...

, is an early Indian veterinary treatise. The
edicts of Asoka The Edicts of Ashoka are a collection of more than thirty inscriptions on the Pillars of Ashoka, pillars, as well as boulders and cave walls, attributed to Emperor Ashoka of the Mauryan Empire who reigned from 268 BCE to 232 BCE. Ashoka used t ...
read: "Everywhere King Piyadasi (
Asoka Ashoka (; Brāhmi: 𑀅𑀲𑁄𑀓, ''Asoka'', IAST The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) is a transliteration scheme that allows the lossless romanisation of Brahmic family, Indic scripts as employed by Sanskrit ...

) made two kinds of medicine (चिकित्सा) available, medicine for people, and medicine for animals. Where no
healing herbs
healing herbs
for people and animals were available, he ordered that they be bought and planted." ''
Hippiatrica The ''Hippiatrica'' (Greek language, Greek: Ἱππιατρικά) is a Byzantine Empire, Byzantine compilation of ancient Greek literature, Greek texts, mainly excerpts, dedicated to the care and healing of the horse.. The texts were probably comp ...
'' is a Byzantine compilation of hippiatrics, dated to the fifth or sixthth century AD. The first attempts to organize and regulate the practice of treating animals tended to focus on horses because of their economic significance. In the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of w ...
, farriers combined their work in
horseshoe , and are nailed to the underside of the hoof A horseshoe is a fabricated product, normally made of metal, although sometimes made partially or wholly of modern synthetic materials, designed to protect a horse hoof from wear. Shoes are attached ...

ing with the more general task of "horse doctoring". The Arabic tradition of '' Bayṭara'', or ''Shiyāt al-Khayl'', originates with the treatise of Ibn Akhī Hizām (fl. late 9th century). In 1356, the
Lord Mayor of London The Lord Mayor of London is the Mayors in England, mayor of the City of London and the Leader of the council, leader of the City of London Corporation. Within the City, the Lord Mayor is accorded Order of precedence, precedence over all individua ...
, concerned at the poor standard of care given to horses in the city, requested that all farriers operating within a 7-mile (11-km) radius of the
City of London The City of London is a City status in the United Kingdom, city, Ceremonial counties of England, ceremonial county and local government district that contains the historic centre and the primary central business district (CBD) of London. It c ...

City of London
form a "fellowship" to regulate and improve their practices. This ultimately led to the establishment of the Worshipful Company of Farriers in 1674. Meanwhile,
Carlo Ruini 250px, From Carlo Ruini's ''Anatomia del Cavallo.'' (Venice, 1618). Carlo Ruini (1530–1598) was one of the most noted anatomists of the horse The horse (''Equus ferus caballus'') is a domesticated odd-toed ungulate mammal. It belongs to the ...

Carlo Ruini
's book ''Anatomia del Cavallo,'' (''Anatomy of the Horse'') was published in 1598. It was the first comprehensive treatise on the anatomy of a nonhuman species.

Establishment of profession

The first veterinary school was founded in
Lyon Lyon or Lyons (, , ; frp, Liyon, ) is the third-largest city and second-largest urban area of France. It is located at the confluence of the rivers Rhône The Rhône ( , ; german: Rhone ; wae, Rotten ; it, Rodano ; frp, Rôno ; oc, ...

, France, in 1762 by
Claude Bourgelat Claude Bourgelat (27 March 1712 – 3 January 1779) was a French veterinary surgeon. He was a founder of scientifically informed veterinary medicine, and he created one of the earliest schools for training professional veterinarians. Life and ...

Claude Bourgelat
. According to Lupton, after observing the devastation being caused by
cattle plague Rinderpest (also cattle plague or steppe murrain) was an infectious viral disease of cattle, domestic buffalo, and many other species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank ...
to the French herds, Bourgelat devoted his time to seeking out a remedy. This resulted in his founding a veterinary school in Lyon in 1761, from which establishment he dispatched students to combat the disease; in a short time, the plague was stayed and the health of stock restored, through the assistance rendered to agriculture by veterinary science and art.J.L.Lupton, "Modern Practical Farriery", 1879, in the section: "The Diseases of Cattle Sheep and Pigs" pp. 1 The school received immediate international recognition in the 18th century and its pedagogical model drew on the existing fields of human medicine, natural history, and comparative anatomy. The Odiham Agricultural Society was founded in 1783 in England to promote agriculture and manufacturing, industry, and played an important role in the foundation of the veterinary profession in Britain. A founding member, Thomas Burgess (bishop, born 1756), Thomas Burgess, began to take up the cause of animal welfare and campaign for the more humane treatment of sick animals. A 1785 society meeting resolved to "promote the study of Farriery upon rational scientific principles." Physician James Clark wrote a treatise entitled ''Prevention of Disease'' in which he argued for the professionalization of the veterinary trade, and the establishment of veterinary colleges. This was finally achieved in 1790, through the campaigning of Granville Penn, who persuaded Frenchman Benoit Vial de St. Bel to accept the professorship of the newly established veterinary college in London. The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons was established by royal charter in 1844. Veterinary science came of age in the late 19th century, with notable contributions from Sir John McFadyean, credited by many as having been the founder of modern veterinary research. In the United States, the first schools were established in the early 19th century in Boston, New York City, and Philadelphia. In 1879, Iowa Agricultural College became the first land grant college, land-grant college to establish a school of veterinary medicine.

Veterinary workers

Veterinary physicians

Veterinary care and management are usually led by a veterinary physician (usually called a veterinarian, veterinary surgeon or "vet" - doctor of veterinary medicine or veterinary medical doctor). This role is the equivalent of a physician or surgeon (medical doctor) in human medicine, and involves postgraduate study and qualification. In many countries, the local nomenclature for a vet is a protected term, meaning that people without the prerequisite qualifications and/or registration are not able to use the title, and in many cases, the activities that may be undertaken by a vet (such as animal treatment or surgery) are restricted only to those people who are registered as vet. For instance, in the United Kingdom, as in other jurisdictions, animal treatment may be performed only by registered vets (with a few designated exceptions, such as paraveterinary workers), and any persons calling themselves a vet without being registered or performing any treatment is illegal. Most vets work in clinical settings, treating animals directly. They may be involved in a general practice, treating animals of all types; may be specialized in a specific group of animals such as pet, companion animals, livestock, laboratory animals, Zoological medicine, zoo animals, or horses; or may specialize in a narrow medical discipline such as veterinary surgery, dermatology, cardiology, neurology, laboratory animal medicine, internal medicine, and more. As with healthcare professionals, vets face ethical decisions about the care of their patients. Current debates within the profession include the ethics of purely cosmetic procedures on animals, such as Onychectomy, declawing of cats, docking (dog), docking of tails, cropping (animal), cropping of ears, and Devocalization, debarking on dogs. A wide range of surgeries and operations is performed on various types of animals, but not all of them are carried out by vets. In a case in Iran, for instance, an eye surgeon managed to perform a successful cataract surgery on a rooster for the first time in the world.

Paraveterinary workers

Paraveterinary workers, including veterinary nurses, technicians, and assistants, either assist vets in their work, or may work within their own scope of practice, depending on skills and qualifications, including in some cases, performing minor surgery. The role of paraveterinary workers is less homogeneous globally than that of a vet, and qualification levels, and the associated skill mix, vary widely.

Allied professions

A number of professions exist within the scope of veterinary medicine, but may not necessarily be performed by vets or veterinary nurses. This includes those performing roles which are also found in human medicine, such as practitioners dealing with musculoskeletal disorders, including osteopathy, osteopaths, chiropractors, and physiotherapists. Some roles are specific to animals, but which have parallels in human society, such as animal grooming and animal massage. Some roles are specific to a species or group of animals, such as farriers, who are involved in the shoeing of horses, and in many cases have a major role to play in ensuring the medical fitness of horses.

Veterinary research

Veterinary research includes prevention, control, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases of animals, and basic biology, welfare, and care of animals. Veterinary research transcends species boundaries and includes the study of spontaneously occurring and experimentally induced models of both human and animal diseases and research at human-animal interfaces, such as food safety, wildlife and ecosystem health, zoonotic diseases, and public policy.

Clinical veterinary research

As in medicine, randomized controlled trials also are fundamental in veterinary medicine to establish the effectiveness of a treatment. Clinical veterinary research is far behind human medical research, though, with fewer randomized controlled trials, that have a lower quality and are mostly focused on research animals. Possible improvement consists in creation of networks for inclusion of private veterinary practices in randomized controlled trials. No studies exist on the effect of community animal health services on improving household wealth and the health status of low-income farmers.

See also

* Animal drug * Animal science * Federation of Veterinarians of Europe * Lists of animal diseases * National Office of Animal Health * One Health *Pet orthotics * Technology in veterinary medicine * WikiVet

By country

*Veterinary medicine in the United Kingdom *Veterinary medicine in the United States **History of veterinary medicine in Pennsylvania *History of veterinary medicine in the Philippines *Veterinary Council of India *Veterinary Council of Ireland


Further reading

Introductory textbooks and references

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Monographs and other speciality texts

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Veterinary nursing, ophthalmology, and pharmacology

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Related fields

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External links

* * {{DEFAULTSORT:Veterinary Medicine Veterinary medicine, Animal diseases