What Is a History of Veterinarians?


Quick Answer

The Royal Veterinary College explains the first veterinarian goes back to Mesopotamia in 3000 B.C., with an animal healer named Urlugaledinna. The first veterinary college was founded in Lyon, France, in 1761 by Claude Bourgelat, and this moment is considered the founding of the profession of veterinary medicine. The start of the profession in Great Britain dates to 1785 with members of the Odiham Agricultural Society.

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Full Answer

The London Veterinary College was founded in 1791 as an outgrowth of the Odiham Agricultural Society. From France and Britain, the idea of certifying and professionalizing veterinary care spread to other civilized societies.

Veterinary schools rose to prominence in the United States in the mid-19th century. In the later part of the 1800s, 41 schools shut down. As of 2011, 28 veterinary schools exist in America, and 18 of them had been established by 1959. Interest in the profession in the 1960s and 1970s was led by James Herriot, a veterinary surgeon who penned the book "All Creatures Great and Small." Until the post-World War II period, most veterinarians were localized in their training and scope.

Veterinary journals in America are traced back to the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, a group whose advertisements touted the importance of veterinarians in World War II. Most other scholarly journals in the field started in the 1950s.

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