Welcome to the history of veterinary medicine.  This page is a time line, in continuation of the previous page. 

  1902 Celebration of 100 year anniversery of West Point Military Academy which was
  founded under President Thomas Jefferson

A New Century

1900 Teddy Roosevelt is President

Work projects for farm youth organized; the name '4-H' adopted in 1913.

Founding chief of the United Stated Bureau of Animal Industry, Daniel E. Salmon, DVM is best known for identifying his namesake pathogen, Salmonella, and pioneering the fight against infectious diseases. A member of Cornell University ‘s first entering class, Salmon received his veterinary degree in 1876. Among his other accomplishments in the field of infectious disease, Salmon demonstrated that bovine tuberculosis is transmissible to man.

Lacey Act prohibited importation of injurious animals, birds, and fish.

Of gainfully employed persons, 38 percent were engaged in agriculture.

         Circa 1910; the future President Truman on
         the farm

Mendel's work on heredity rediscovered.  That;s kind of interesting, isn't it...what's the story about why it had to be "rediscovered"?  I'll try to find out for you.

The biggest change by far ...both for the veterinary profession and for our culture at large at the turn of the century...is the replacement, first in industry and then in cities, and finally in the countryside...of horses and mules with cars, trucks, tractors, and motors.

Starting in the 1890's, humane societies rejoiced that electric street cars were ending the cruel drudgery that was the lot of the street car horse.  By 1907, animal powered street cars, stagecoaches, and omnibuses had almost ceased to exist in American cities.  Even with the high demand for horses in World War 1, the horse industry collasped and unwanted horses in the hundreds of thousands were yearly slaughtered for glue and leather.  The slaughter continued throughout the 1920's, with much of the meat being used for the new industry of canned dog food.  

The vast majority of turn of the century veterinarians were really horse doctors with minimal training in food animals or pets ...there wasn't much demand. 

Anyhow, the collaspe of the horse industry followed by a severe depression in farming in the 1920's followed by the general depression of the 1930's almost wiped out our fledging profession.  Indeed, almost all private and many new State veterinary schools or programs...including the one at Harvard and in my own state of South Carolina... closed down or never succeeded in getting fully started. 

Between 1914 and 1924, the total number of veterinary students fall by 75%!  In 1921, the 29 surviving veterinary schools graduated a total of about 275 new veterinarians.  (For you yankees, that's less than 10 each)

What saved the profession was the government effort involving thousands of vets...led by the Bureau of Animal Industries...in our fight to combat major diseases plaguing our food animals and in the quest to satisfy consumer demands (mostly led by women's activists groups) for wholesome milk, poultry, eggs, and meat products.

By 1920, about 10% of all vets are working full time for the BAI and about 50% of the remaining vets receive significant part time pay for their contract work doing official BIA work at local farms.  To this day, almost all vets from American veterinary schools take a federal test administered by the successor to the BAI and in theory we are all prepared to recognize, report, and aid in the control of any critical disease outbreak  (MadCow, Anthrax, etc) or be called in the defense of our country's food supply in the event of bioterrorism.


Complement fixation test developed.


First plants methodically bred for disease resistance.

Oily flavor in butter eliminated by pasteurization.

Dutch botanist, Hugo De Vries, announced his theory of mutation.

Pseudorabies of pigs–Aujeszky's disease–described and causative virus identified.

Existence and function of hormones discovered.


Demonstrated that a virus causes hog cholera and that recovering hogs are immune for life.

Wright Brothers demonstrated the first airplane.



Insect Pest Act prohibited importation or mailing of live, injurious insects.

Livestock Quarantine Act passed.


              Upton Sinclair publishes "The Jungle"
              exposing the horrors of the meat packing

Pure Food and Drug Act passed.

Meat Inspection Act passed.

    The passage of the above two acts were a major event in our country's history.  They were the result of much political debate and controversy over the deplorable state of filthy slaughter houses, numerous articles, a major example of early "investigative journalism", the topic of the famous book "The Jungle" by Sinclair Lewis, and most significantly a victory for mostly female activists demanding wholesome milk and meat for their families.  It also helped that President Teddy Roosevelt was fully behind the political push for these acts despite the resistance of Armour Meats and other major and politically influencial packing houses.

    These acts were hugely significant to the veterinary profession as a major source of employment and government funds to study animal disease.

    It's also my contention...as an aside...that these early political successes by women's activist groups in fighting for wholesome foods were a direct precursor to their future successes in gaining the vote, prohibition, entry into the professions, and other major cultural changes in the following decades.  Yea.

Developed live-virus vaccine for hog cholera.

28-hour law required humane care of livestock in interstate shipment.

First caterpillar tractor powered by gasoline engine produced by Holt Company.  (Note;  this invention would lead to the development of the tank and would play a major role in winning the Great War.)

American and European foulbrood diseases of bees differentiated.


            Searching for Gasoline 1907 in Indiana

Branding ink for use in meat inspection developed.

Mediterranean fruit fly introduced to Hawaiian Islands.

Founded the science of nematology in the U.S.

The first practical preventive measure, injection of anti-hog-cholera serum and then the virus, was successfully tested in 1907 by the BAI Field Station near Ames, site of many later advances in hog cholera research.

Dr. Dorset, Dr. McBryde, and W.B. Niles found that serum from the blood of immune hogs conferred immunity lasting only a few weeks to other hogs. But injection of the BAI hyperimmune serum plus injection of virus gave lifelong protection against hog cholera to most hogs.

A system of swine sanitation named for McLean County, Ill., where BAI developed it in 1927, became a valuable adjunct in immunization against cholera by this method. The system, developed primarily to prevent roundworm infestation of hogs, also reduced incidence of filth-borne intestinal diseases. Serious side effects were produced when hogs with even low-level intestinal infections were immunized against hog cholera.

Department scientists realized that a control method involving use of the live virus offered no hope for eradicating hog cholera. So they began work toward a protective vaccine made with killed virus. Research of Drs. Dorset and McBryde, and C.G. Cole at Ames culminated in the development of the crystal violet killed vaccine in 1935.

An initial problem of contaminants in the vaccine was overcome when F.W. Tilley patented a procedure 10 years later for preparing a consistently sterile crystal violet vaccine.

Scientists long sought reasons why this and later improved vaccines did not confer immunity to some hogs. The problem was partly solved in 1949 with the discovery of a variant of the hog cholera virus. Antiserum against both types of virus was needed for protection.

Researchers in Iowa meanwhile had learned much about the transmission and persistence of the hog cholera virus. They found that the virus is present in the circulating blood of the sick animal and also in the various secretions and excretions. The virus remained active throughout the winter in carcasses of cholera-infected hogs buried in the fall, and unburied carcasses of infected pigs remained infectious for 11 weeks during cold weather.

Contrary to popular belief at one time, pigeons did not prove to be carriers of hog cholera virus, although transmission by crows and buzzards was not ruled out. Extensive experiments at Ames demonstrated conclusively that the house fly and stable fly are capable of transferring the cholera virus from sick to well pigs. Prevalence of biting flies and incidence of hog cholera correlated closely during the years of the study.


In 1908, Leonard Pearson, VMD reported the first U.S. cases of Johne‘s disease (bovine paratuberculosis ), which is highly contagious and causes chronic diarrhea and wasting in infected cattle. An 1890 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, Pearson eventually became full professor and then dean of the institution. In addition to his advances in the diagnosis and treatment of Johne‘s disease, Pearson also contributed to the domains of agriculture, livestock breeding and - as a prolific writer - veterinary literature.

                  1908 Harvard HS Golf Team

In 1908, Congress authorized the Remount Service, which was to procure horses, condition them, provide initial training, and issue them to using units. Before that time, horses and mules for Army use had been purchased by the Quartermaster Department under contract after advertising for bids. This practice had been quite unsatisfactory in terms of getting a number of older horses, many in poor physical condition. The first remount depot was at Fort Reno, Oklahoma.  The Front Royal, Virginia, Depot was opened in 1911.

The principle function of the Remount Service during peacetime was to procure, process, train, and issue horses, mules, and dogs (1942-1948) for military use and to train personnel in animal management. It was also responsible for purchase of forage for these animals. Another function of the Remount Service was that of supervising the Army horse breeding program designed to raise the quality of horses.

The Remount Service's principle functions during war were to supply replacement riding horses and the draft animals required to haul ammunition, water, food, and heavy artillery and to evacuate the wounded.   Motorization and mechanization in the 1930s reduced the need for animals, but did not make them completely obsolete.

                   California Farm Workers early 1900's


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.

Boy Scouts USA started

On This Page:

Veterinary Time Line: 1900 - 1910: 
A continuation of our time line with interesting events relating to veterinary medicine in the United States

Other pages about the history of veterinary medicine:

History of veterinary Medicine; intro

Veterinary and other History before 1800


1880-1900 big changes in veterinary medicine and the world in general




The 1960's

The 1970's

The 1980's

The 1990's

Veterinary Time Line: 1900's

Veterinary Time Line: 2000's

Veterinary Medicine & Women

The fight against Hoof and Mouth on the Mexican Border and the important medical breakthrough fighting Black Leg disease

History Of Veterinary Medicine in South Carolina:     This is really a discussion about veterinary medicine in general during the formative years of our profession in the United States during the late 1800's and the early 1900's.

3 Different Wars over Pigs

Biological Warfare

Camp GreenLeaf, Georgia  1918

The History
of Veterinary Medicine
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1920-1950     The 1960's     The 1970's     The 1980's     The 1990's  The 2000's   

Equine Surgery Class 1910:  Kansas State Veterinary School
Equine Class; early 1900's   Kansas State Veterinary School