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Title: The rise of a medical speciality : the medicalisation of elite equine care c.1680-c.1800
Author: MacKay, Michael Hubbard
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2009
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There are currently very few historians of veterinary medicine and outside of their scholarship there is almost nothing that has been written about veterinary history in the past thirty years. This is despite the fact that medical historians have created a large body of scholarship since the 1980s, including studies of political movements, social and cultural histories, histories of ideas of the medical profession, histories of specific diseases and histories of science. The lack of veterinary history is also striking because there has been a plethora of research corning from the field of human/animal relations. Furthermore, the history of animal care before formal veterinary education (1790s) is even more neglected and the scholarship that does exist is over forty years old and generally anachronistic-save the work of Louise Curth. This is all despite the outstanding changes that were occurring during the eighteenth century in Britain. Part of the reason that the current interpretations of eighteenth-century animal care are so anachronistic is due to the focus of historians upon the emergence of the London Veterinary College (1792) as an enlightened step toward progression. This is far from correct because a new medical specialty emerged in animal care over a century before the College. This thesis shows that those involved in the gentlemanly practice of farriery created a new specialised field of farriery that was much more medical. Like midwifery, oculism and dentistry, equine medicine became a new medical specialism. This is demonstrated by analysing elite farriery literature published between 1550 and 1800, by reconstructing the identity of eighteenth century farriery practitioners (especially those that claimed to be gentlemen), by uncovering the practice of these elite practitioners in horse hospitals and anatomy lectures. These findings suggest a new narrative of the history of animal care, showing that veterinary medicine was a product of the larger changes in equine medicine occurring well before the 1790s.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available