The History of Veterinary Medicine USA 1910 - 1920
The History of Veterinary Medicine
USA 1910 - 1920
by Roger Ross, DVM
FoxNest Veterinary Hosptial
Sometimes people call me an idealist. Well that is the way I know I am an American. -
- President Wilson -
1916: The 10th Calvary Crosses the Mexican Border
Chasing Pancho Villa in what the United States
called the "Mexican Expedition"
Life Expectancy: Male 48.4 Female: 51.8
Average Salary $750 / year
The Ziegfeld girls earned $75/week.
National Debt: $1.15 billion
Union Membership: 2.1 million Strikes 1,204
Attendance: Movies 30 million per week
Lynchings: 76 Divorce: 1/1000
Vacation: 12 day cruise $60
Whiskey $3.50 / gallon, Milk $.32 / gallon
Speeds make automobile safety an issue
25,000 performers tour 4,000 U.S. theaters
Wild blueberry domesticated.
Demonstrated that pasteurization kills toxin-producing organisms in raw milk without destroying beneficial lactic acid bacteria.
Insecticide and Fungicide Act passed.
Brucella abortus first isolated from cattle in the U.S.
Of gainfully employed persons, 31 percent were engaged in agriculture.
Demonstrated that typhus fever is transmitted by lice.
First Farm Bureau formed in Broome County, NY.
Discovered a virus that can cause cancer in chickens; first experimental proof of an infectious agent of cancer.
Italy annexes Tripoli and defeats the Turks
Manchu dynasty falls and the Chinese Republic announced
1912 EKG Invented
Federal Plant Quarantine Act passed.
Thomas Hunt Morgan announced his theory of genes; began using the term 'gene’ in 1904 to describe individual parts of chromosomes that control particular characteristics.
USDA makes initial crosses between Lincoln and Ramboullet sheep breeds, leading to the Columbia breed.
Demonstrated that drought begins when soil moisture is so diminished that vegetation is unable to absorb water from the soil rapidly enough to replace the water lost to the air by transpiration.
John William Brown, 1912
The first black veterinarian to earn his DVM degree at Kansas State Agricultural College (KSAC) entered college at the age of sixteen. He had previously attended Fort Scott High School in Bourbon County, Kansas. Dr. Brown was head of the Division of Agricultural Instruction at the Tuskegee Institute, Alabama, during 1912 and 1913.
Eighteen men received their DVM degrees on Thursday, June 13, 1912, and one received his diploma on December 18, 1912.
The Titanic Sinks
Arizona and New Mexico becomes States
War in the Balkan States are a precursor to WW1
1912 Harley Davidson; these would soon be used by Sargeants carrying the newly invented Thompson Machine Guns
during the Mexican Expedition
1912: one of 5 Russian Airships
Virus-Serum Toxin Act passed.
Forerunner of the light tractor introduced.
First U.S. veterinary license issued for production of anti-hog-cholera serum.
This page is about US and Veterinary History from 1910-1920
(Links to our other pages are below)
The Progressive Era lasted from 1895 until World War I.
This was a period of unrest and reform.
Monopolies continued in spite of the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890.
Social problems flourished in the U.S. During the 1910s labor unions continued to grow as the middle classes became more and more unhappy. Unsafe working conditions were underscored by the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in which 145 female workers were killed. Children were hired to work in factories and mines for long hours in unsafe and unhealthy conditions. Though efforts to pass a federal law proved unsuccessful, by the middle of this decade every state had passed a minimum age law.
A commission found that up to 20% of the children living in cities were undernourished, education took second place to hunger and while children worked, only one-third enrolled in elementary school and less than 10% graduated from high school.
The status of the Negro worsened. Skilled negro workers were barred from the AF of L.
Women were also striving for equality.The first suffrage parade was held in 1910 - the 19th amendment finally ratified in 1919.
The Over There decade meant more than just sending our 'boys' over to fight during WWI. American became the most highly industrialized country during this time. Mass production of cars created a nationwide prosperity and resulted in one of the most profound social changes in America's history.
Popular culture became a lucrative national product for the United States. All over the world people were dancing our dance crazes, listening to our jazz tunes, wearing our fashions, falling for our pop fads, and buying our products.
Tobacco was a big business, with immigrants to New York City accounting for 25% of the tobacco purchasing.
Historic events include the sinking of the Titanic on April 15, 1912 when more than 1500 people lost their lives.
The first moving assembly line began in 1914 and in 1915, the one millionth Model T ($345) rolled off the assembly line.
Initiation of the The National Park Service and Prohibition (1919).
Jim Thorpe, an American Indian, won gold medals at the Olympics (although his medals were later taken away because he had played baseball for a salary earlier in his career),
The first parachute jump was made.
The Girl Scouts of America were formed.
The Presidents were William Howard Taft 1909-1913 and
Cultures of nitrogen-fixing bacteria supplied to legume growers for the purpose of increasing the plants' nitrogen-fixing capacity.
During World War I, vast numbers of dogs were employed as: sentries; messengers; ammunition, and food carriers; scouts; sled dogs; draught dogs; guard dogs; ambulance dogs; ratters; Red Cross casualty dogs: and even cigarette dogs. Thousands of pigeons were used to carry messages.
America with the exception of a few sled dogs in Alaska was the only country to take part in World War I, that had very few service dogs within its military.
The French, British and Belgians by 1918 had at least 20,000 dogs on the battlefield, the Germans 30,000. But America's war department felt that now that they were 'over there,' the war would be quicky over and there would be no need for any dogs!
Hoof & Mouth Disease breaks out in the US starting in Chicago and reaching out to 22 other states. The disease is eradicated in the U.S. by applying quarantines, extreme decontamination programs, and the slaughtering of 172,222 animals. By clicking on the link above, you can read how our government would later send veterinarians down into Mexico to identify and slaughter cattle below the border in our attempts to check this vital threat to our food supply.
The stock yards in Chicago no longer exist ... they shut down in 1971. My dad and I went on feeder calf buying trips to Nebraska and once to South Dakota in the Spring (our family had a large feed lot and swine operation in Michigan near Ann Arbor and these trips took place in the early-mid 1960's) and we would stop off in Chicago to visit my cousin Betty Ross, one of the first female news anchors on channel 4 (NBC) in Chicago and to visit the stockyards.
If you were in the beef or pork business, Chicago was where the prices were set, and where more cattle and hogs were concentrated, slaughtered, and "packed" than anyother place in the world.
It all began with the railroads (Christmas Day 1965) in what was swampland on the west side of the city, built by Vanderbilt money and the railroad companies.
It was a hell hole of death, filth, and flies employing thousands of immigrant workers (and later negros)
The famous novel "The Jungle" (Upton Sinclair) was published in 1906 describing the horrors of the packing houses (to include no bathroom facilities for the thousands of workers who handled the meat). This novel fueled intense public pressure with women's groups leading the way, along with President Teddy Roosevelt jumping on the bandwagon. The 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act and the Meat Inspection Act were passed a few months after the book came out.
I'm making a big deal out of this because it was the Meat Inspection Act, along with other government programs that started about the same time .... to test for tuberculosis and Bang's Disease*... and to vaccinate every pig in the country for hog cholera that led to the establishment of State veterinary colleges around the country because of the newly created demand for veterinarians.
Just in time to save our profession, which until this time consisted 99% of "horse doctors" trained in horse shoeing and practical treatments for common ailments of the horse.... and the horse was about to be replaced by the gas combustion engine.
For more discussion about the establishment of veterinary colleges and the huge impact to our profession during the switch over from horse and mule power to engine power, click here to go to my page about South Carolinas failed attempt to get a vet college started... first at The University of South Carolina and then again at the new agricultural and engineering school at Clemson.
*Brucellosis, also called Bang's disease, (also known as Crimean fever, Gibraltar fever, Malta fever, Maltese fever, Mediterranean fever, rock fever, or undulant fever), is a highly contagious disease passed from animals to humans caused by ingestion of unpasteurized milk or undercooked meat from infected animals
Panama Canal opens. Thousands of men, horses, and mules die of tropical diseases and hundreds of muleteers, muckers and men, including horse doctors are on the job.
Robert Goddard begins rocket experiments
Europe is left in ruins and there's still 3 years to go before the "great war" runs out of steam.
Bacteriophages discovered. (these are virus' that attack bacteria and were used in what was to become the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, and France as an alternative to antibiotics... I'm not sure how successfully)
Tetanus epidemic on the battle field affecting horses and mules as well as men.
Einstein introduces theory of relativity
Junkers builds first fighter plane
Jazz in New Orleans
Stainless steel invented. This new material will become vital to industry, transportation, and all too soon to the World War ll war machine. I won't get into it much here, but one of the vital ingredients needed for the production of stainless steel is chromium and the major powers have been jockeying to control those countries rich in chromium deposits (Turkey and much of subsahara Africa) ever since.
Theory of shell shock (now called post traumatic stress)
Irish Revolt suppressed
Blood refridgerated for transfusions
US Troops land in Santo Domingo:
The world was at war and with Spain no longer keeping some semblance of ordered government, Central American and Carribbean countries were in chaos with most of these countries in civil war or revolution as one faction or another vied for control.
There was one coup and change of government after another... along with the associated massacres, dissappeared persons, assisinations, property confiscations, and total disruption of transportation, public services, and business.
It's now popular to protray The United States as being arrogant, greedy, racist, evil empire bullies whenever it intefers in the politics and financial affairs of other countries... and I've included a scathing report from General Butler below that supports the common argument that we go to war to support big banks and big business.
But as usual, there's another side to the story. When these newly independent countries, often suffering from abject poverty, illiteracy, disease and extreme corruption ... all at risk from being taken over by some other power... we did what we do best... we made deals with these new governments to set up businesses, build ports, railroads, and roads. Missionary groups arrived to build schools, medical clinics, and safe havens to families. And as usual, we had to bribe every beurocrat and their cousin to get anything done. And as is typical of over seas projects in the 3rd world to this day, as part of the corruption, we had to buy materials and hire workers supplied from native companies (usually owned by some government official's brother). These companies hired peasants desperate for work and paid them next to nothing, scimming most of the money for themselves.
The companies that invested in these big projects had to float bonds,borrow money from big banks and shareholders to build these ports, roads, warehouses and so forth. Hundreds of mules and horses and the men, horseshoers, and vets that took care of these need animals had to be hired and settled. It would take years to recoup their investment. So of course, Wall Street and big business was concerned everytime there was a change in government not honoring the deal, rebel groups threatening to "nationalize" all assets, and a whole new set up officals to bribe. And meanwhile, hundreds of poor peasants were being brutalized, kicked off their land, and fleeced by the bandits, guerillas, poorly paid national army and police forces.
Somebody had to protect our interests and offer the people at least some stability. Or nobody would ever invest in improving 3rd world countries again. And other world powers would step in if we didn't show some leadership. So, we sent in the Navy and The Marines followed by the Beaurocrats ! Sure we were arrogant and the locals, while delighted to enjoy the blessings we brought, resented English speaking foreigners were occupying or controlling their countries.
All in all, I suspect we did a lot more good than bad under very tough circumstances.
With the Treaty of Paris, Spain ceded control of Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines to the United States. Thereafter, the United States conducted military interventions in Panama, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic. The series of conflicts only ended with the withdrawal of troops from Haiti under President Theodore Roosevelt.
The Banana Wars were a series of occupations, police actions, and interventions involving the United States in Central America and the Caribbean between the Spanish–American War (1898) and the inception of the Good Neighbor Policy (1934). These military interventions were most often carried out by the United States Marine Corps. The Marines were involved so often that they developed a manual, The Strategy and Tactics of Small Wars, in 1921. On occasion, the Navy provided gunfire support and Army troops were also used.
Perhaps the single most active military officer in the Banana Wars was U.S. Marine Corps Major General, Smedley Butler, who saw action in Honduras in 1903, served in Nicaragua enforcing American policy from 1909–1912, was awarded the Medal of Honor for his role in Veracruz in 1914, and a second Medal of Honor for bravery while "crush(ing) the Caco resistance" in Haiti in 1915. In 1935, Butler wrote in his famous book War Is a Racket:
I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.
Calcium arsenate developed for use on boll weevil.
Federal Farm Loan Act passed.
Federal Highway Act provided for cooperation with states in construction of rural post roads.
Japanese beetles discovered in New Jersey.
A system for growing modern hybrid corn developed.
United States entered World War I.
Demonstrated that raw milk could transmit a bacterium, Brucella abortus, that causes brucellosis in cattle and undulant fever in humans. It wouldn't be long before the United States and Canada would have a highly organized dairy industry involving required testing for brucellosis, farm inspections, vaccinations, milk inspectors, and safe, pasteruized milk that the public could trust.
Long-term study of dairy improvement started; increased production per cow from 542 pounds of butterfat in 1920 to more than 720 pounds today.
Discovered temperature necessary to kill trichinae.
Trans Siberian Railway completed just in time for the start of the Russian Civil War and Revolution ending in the Communist Soviet Union
Tanks introduced into the war
Chicago becomes the center of Jazz
And as mentioned above, Chicago also becomes the country's largest meat market and many veterinarians are employed as meat inspectors
World Wide Flu epidemic kills 22 million
Czar Nicholas and family executed
Prohibition of alcohol and rise of organized crime
First experiments with short wave radio
Steel strike in United States
Afghan - British war leading to the massacre of the British
Hundreds of thousands of animals were wounded or killed in the First World War and thousands served in the veterinary corps and many thousands served training, feeding, and cleaning in military stables
From a history of the Veterinary Program at Washington State University:
1905 A four-year curriculum leading to a B.S. is introduced alongside the three-year curriculum. The curricula are conducted simultaneously until 1917 when the three-year program is abolished.
Also this year, Wyatt E. Ralston, an Ohio State graduate, is added to the faculty as, "house surgeon." His salary is $900 per year.
Mar. 11, 1907
The first state Veterinary Practice Act is signed into law granting the governor the power to appoint an examining board composed of three graduate veterinarians, one to be the state veterinarian.
All graduate veterinarians in the state are required to show proof of graduation by July 1.
Non-graduate veterinarians who've practiced in the state for not less than two years are grandfathered in.
Interestingly, graduates of human medical schools can become licensed veterinarians in Washington simply by showing proof of graduation.
The first annual Vet-Pharmic football game is played. The event becomes a major campus attraction until 1957 when the advent of modern protective gear and concerns for student safety saw the contest fade away.
The Pharmics are said to have won only three to four games over the years.
For a time basketball games take the place of the football game but they lack the same appeal and they too, disappear in the 1960s.
The annual football game is followed each year by the Hobo Dance.
For the dance, male students and faculty grow their beards out in honor of the vagrant namesake of the dance.
Dancing, drink, and merriment often flow into the following morning. It too, is done away with in 1957 after a particularly raucous occasion also raises concerns for student safety.
Nov. 13, 1914
Two cars of cattle enroute from Wisconsin to Roy, Wash. arrive in Spokane. Animal health officials have previously been warned that the animals had been exposed to foot-and-mouth disease in a St. Paul, Minn. stockyard.
Quick action on the part of veterinarians, state agricultural officials, and a cooperative owner, stops a potential outbreak before it can happen. The positive diagnosis was made on Nov. 16 and by Nov. 21 all the cattle had been destroyed and cremated and all temporary holding pens, litter, etc. had been burned.
The college's first African-American student, Winfred A. Jordan, graduates. Jordan is a transfer student from the soon-too-close San Francisco Veterinary College.
The first roads are pushed into Ilwaco, Washington. Prior to this, all transportation to the area was by boat, hindering veterinary care among the coastal farms.
A vet checking for pregnancy in the early 1900's. Most modern vets would be wearing a plastic sleeve, but otherwise not much has changed for this particular job
Other pages about the history of veterinary medicine:
Discussion about problems related to the reproductive tract such as uterine infections, False Pregnancy, lack of milk, Infection of the mammary glands and trouble giving birth. But also fun stuff like new born care. Aso about undescended testicles.
Prior to the availability of practical anesthetics,, 90% of the work in treating large animals was figuring out how to constrain the animal enough to allow the vet to do the procedure. Often dangerous, hard work, and frequently exciting. This picture is from the early 1900's, I believe at the Kansas State Veterinary College
Cardiology Heart disease in Cats, Cardiac Hypertrophy, Valvular disease, Cardiac Insufficiency, Congestive Heart Failure, Heartworm Disease, and a little history about the milestones in treating heart disease
Cats: general information page and directory of diseases and problems specific to cats including vaccine recommendations, leukemia, feline viral infections, feline upper respiratory disease and cats that just aren't feeling well.