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Jan 2010
The Rise of a Medical Specialty: The Medicalization of Elite Equine Care c.1680-c.1800
Posted in Veterinary History by medicalhistory at 6:32 pm

Dr. Michael Hubbard MacKay, "The Rise of a Medical Speciality: The Medicalization of Elite Equine Care c.1680-c1800"

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 manuscript 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.

This is a sample chapter (Ch.1 Specialism, Change and Farriery/Equine Medical Literature, 1560–1800). I would be happy to supply a complete copy of this manuscript to any who are interested. (

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