veterinary medicine

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veterinary medicine,

diagnosis and treatment of diseases of animals. An early interest in animal diseases is found in ancient Greek writings on medicine. Veterinary medicine began to achieve the stature of a science with the organization of the first school in the field in Lyons, France, in 1761, followed soon by similar schools in other parts of Europe. In the United States, veterinary schools came into existence about the time of the Civil War, and there are now a number of accredited schools of veterinary medicine affiliated with colleges and universities. In 1884 the Bureau of Animal Industry was established in the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture to deal with animal disease problems in the fast-growing livestock industry; in 1953 it was abolished and its functions transferred to the Agricultural Research Service. Veterinary research has made important contributions to medical science in general. Vaccination methods devised by Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch for animals were found effective for humans also. Veterinarians inaugurated the inspection of meat and milk to prevent the spread of tuberculosis. The development since World War II of live-virus and modified live-virus vaccines and of antibiotics, sulfonamides, and other biological products has brought about a marked change in veterinary medicine. An important innovation was the mass immunization of poultry through sprays, dusts, and agents added to drinking water. Many animal diseases hitherto considered incurable can now be prevented or controlled by these new therapeutic agents, and this in turn has greatly increased the output of livestock and poultry products.


See The Merck Veterinary Manual (7th ed. 1991).

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veterinary medicine

[′vet·ən‚er·ē ′med·ə·sən]
The branch of medical practice which treats of the diseases and injuries of animals.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

veterinary medicine

, science
the branch of medicine concerned with the health of animals and the treatment of injuries or diseases that affect them
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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